Add a Table of Contents to Google Documents

A table of contents (TOC) makes it easier to navigate around your document, with each item in your table of contents being a hyperlink to the titled sections and subsections of the document. Google Docs has the facility to add simple TOCs to your document.

First, you need to decide on which headings and subheadings of your document are to appear in the TOC. Use the Styles drop-down element from the toolbar (or go to the Format menu and select Paragraph styles) to style the relevant headings within your document. There are six different heading sizes to choose from, ranging from most important (Heading 1) to least important (Heading 6). When you’ve completed formatting the document, locate your cursor in the place where you’d like to insert the TOC.

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From to the Insert menu, select Table of contents.

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Click image to enlarge

Google Docs will now create a TOC with the links arranged to reflect the hierarchy of importance indicated by the heading sizes of the associated sections:

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Click image to enlarge

You can add and edit headings within your document, but if these changes affect the TOC then you’ll need to update the TOC using the Refresh button at the upper right hand side of the TOC box.

To use the TOC for navigation, click on the required entry and follow the link that appears:

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Click image to enlarge

These TOCs are a pretty simple implementation, and lack the sophistication of those found in some other word processors. They can’t, for instance, incorporate page numbers into the TOC entries. However, they are a useful tool to provide some basic navigation in your document.

In future posts we’ll look at some other ways to add TOCs or other navigation menus into your documents.