Saturday, 14 September 2013

How to Create a Table of Contents (ToC) Using Microsoft Word

In this post I have created a simple step by step guide on how to create a contents page for ebooks using Microsoft Word. This is my first how to guide, so I will just get straight into it.

Step 1 - Create the text for the ToC menu.
This is the simplest step and it basically involves just tying up the contents page at the front of your book (or back - it is up to you). Make sure to include all relevant sections such as the copyright notice and author biography.

Step 2 - Create Chapter bookmarks.
For this step, you need to locate each of the chapter headings within the body of the book's text and then bookmark each of them in turn. To do this, simply highlight the chapter heading (note - highlight only the title and not a complete paragraph) and then click on the insert tab at the top of the document. Select the option labelled 'bookmark' and this will open up a dialogue box. All that you have to do here is type in a name for the bookmark eg Chpt1 (best keep it short and leave no spaces) and then click 'Add'. Repeat for each chapter heading in the book.

Step 3 - Adding a navigable hyperlink to chapters.
Return to your ToC menu at the front of the book. Highlight the first chapter heading in your contents and then open up the 'insert' tab. This time you want to select 'hyperlink'. Again, a dialogue box will open up. On the sidebar, you will see an option for 'Place in This Document'. Selecting this option will change the interior of the dialogue box. You will now see a list of all of the bookmarks that you added during the previous step. Select the one that corresponds to the chapter you have highlighted and then click 'okay'. The chapter entry in the contents should now be underscored and highlighted blue. You will be able to check if the link works by following the instructions that come up when you place your cursor over the link. Repeat for each chapter/section of your book.

Step 4 - Linking Chapters back to the ToC page.
This step allows you to link back to the contents page from each individual chapter. To begin, you need to highlight the header on your contents page and open up the bookmark tag. This time you will name the label as 'ref_TOC'. Once done, use your hyperlinks to go straight to each chapter in turn and add a hyperlink from the chapter headings back to the ToC using the process in Step 3 and each time selecting 'ref_TOC' as the destination. Each chapter heading in the book will now be underscored and blue and when selected, will return you to the contents page.

Step 5 - Publish Your e-book.
That is it - your book is now ready for publication (assuming it is properly edited and formatted, of course). You will be able to test all of the hyperlinks when you preview the final document and if you are still nervous, download the file to your Kindle from amazon and test it out for real.

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  1. Table of contents has so much potential to be useful, but applying it in Word is often mystifying. Great topic for a blog post :-)

    1. Thanks. I have actually found that most things to do with formatting backs is much simpler than the official guidelines state. Createspace is a prime example. The formatting advice they give is terrible and I wonder if this is maybe deliberate in order that more people take up their paid-for formatting service. When I converted my book, I got the formatting information from blogs and forums and it was so much simpler than I wuld ever have thought.