Creating a table of contents is a great way to organize your document and make it easier to navigate. A table of contents is especially useful for a long document that covers various topics as it would allow you to take a quick look at the headings of different sections and click on the section that you would like to read. This is a better alternative to scrolling through the document to find the section you’re looking for.
All word processing software, including Word, Pages and Google Docs allow you to conveniently create a table of contents in your document. In this article, we will be talking about how to create this table in Google Docs.
How does a table of contents work in Google Docs?
As you’ll see, all you have to do to insert a table of contents in your Google Docs document is click on one option. Then, Google Docs will automatically generate the table for you.
The table of contents will have links to the various headings in your document, with the smaller heading nested under the bigger one (for example, heading 2 will be indented under heading 1 and heading 3 will be indented under heading 2). Hence, you cannot create a table of contents if you don’t have any headings in your document.
When you click on this link, you will automatically be taken to that section in the document. You also have the option of creating a table of contents that shows the page numbers of the headings.
Inserting heading in your document
In the previous section, we noted that you cannot insert a table of contents if you don’t have headings in your document. Here, we’ll talk about how to create headings.
There are 2 ways of creating headings. The first is by changing the paragraph style from your toolbar. Below the title of your document, you can see a toolbar with the ‘Normal text’ option. Click on this option to see the various paragraph styles that are available. Next, choose the title whose heading you want to change and click on one of the options.
The other way to change the heading is by going to Format, clicking on the ‘Paragraph styles’ option, and choosing one of the options there.
Steps to create a table of contents in Google Docs
With that introduction, let’s learn how to create a table of contents in Google Docs.
Step 1: Open your Google Docs document.
Go to the Google Docs homepage (docs.google.com) and sign in to your account. Once you’re signed in, click on the document in which you would like to insert a table of contents. All the documents you’ve ever opened will appear under the ‘Recent documents’ section.
You can also create a completely new document- either create a blank document or choose one of the many templates.
Step 2: Place your cursor where you want to insert the table of contents.
Your cursor should be placed at the point where you want to insert the table of contents. Typically, the table of contents appears after the title (and subtitle) but before the introduction.
Step 3: Click on the Insert tab.
The Insert tab is located to the right of the View tab. Click on it to open the Insert menu.
Step 4: Hover your pointer over the table of contents option.
‘Table of contents’ is the very last option in the Insert menu. Hover your pointer over this option and you will see another menu that contains two more options.
Step 5: Choose a table of contents type.
In the ‘Table of contents’ menu, you will find two options: with page numbers and with blue links.
The ‘With page numbers’ option creates a table of contents that shows the page numbers of each of the headings. The headings are in black and when you click on them, you will see the link to that section in the document.
On the other hand, the ‘With blue links’ option doesn’t show the page numbers of the various sections. It simply shows each of the headings in blue with a link embedded in them.
The benefit of the first option is that you know the page numbers of each section in your document. This is especially useful when you print out your document. You cannot navigate a printed document the way you can a digital one (by clicking links) so having page numbers is essential. Moreover, this style also gives a cleaner look to your table of contents.
The benefit of the second option is that it makes it clear that a link is embedded in each of the headings in your table of contents. It also adds a splash of colour to a black and white document.
Click on the option you like and Google Docs will generate and insert a table of contents for you.
(Optional) Step 6: Edit your table of contents.
You can also customize your table of contents however you like. For example, you can change the color of the text, add a background color and italicize the text. You can also change the font style and size of the headings.
Updating your table of contents
Also, you might see a refresh button at the top of your table of contents. This is a feature that is useful when you have created a new heading after inserting the table of contents. Simply click on this button and the table of contents will be updated with the new heading.
Deleting your table of contents
To delete your table of contents, simply right-click it and select ‘Delete table of contents.’
This brings us to the end of the article! In this article, we’ve covered why a table of contents is useful, how Google Docs creates a table of contents and how you can insert one in your document. Here’s a summary of the steps to follow.
Open your Google Docs document and place your cursor where you want to insert the table of contents. Then, go to Insert and click on ‘Table of contents’ (which is the very last option). Choose a style that you like and the table will appear on your screen. If you like, you can customise it as well.
We hope you found this article useful!