Table of Contents (TOC)

Table of Contents, How to create one in inDesign

A table of contents (TOC) can list the contents of a book, magazine, or other publication; display a list of illustrations, advertisers, or photo credits; or include other information to help readers find information in a document or book file. One document may contain multiple tables of contents—for example, a list of chapters and a list of illustrations.

Each table of contents is a separate story consisting of a heading and a list of entries sorted either by page number or alphabetically. Entries, including page numbers, are pulled directly from content in your document and can be updated at any time—even across multiple documents in a book file.

The process for creating a table of contents requires three main steps. First, create and apply the paragraph styles you’ll use as the basis for the TOC. Second, specify which styles are used in the TOC and how the TOC is formatted. Third, flow the TOC into your document.

Table of contents entries can be automatically added to the Bookmarks panel for use in documents exported as Adobe PDF.

ct_toc01.png

TOC without paragraph styles (left) and with paragraph styles applied to entries (right)


If paragraphs that are to be included in the table of contents appear in different stories on the same page, their order in the TOC is determined by their position on the page.

  • Do one of the following:

    • If you’re creating a table of contents for a single document, you may want to add a new page at the beginning of the document.
    • If you’re creating a table of contents for multiple documents in a book, create or open the document to be used for the table of contents, make sure that it’s included in the book, and then open the book file.
  • Choose Layout > Table Of Contents.

    If you’ve defined a TOC style that has the appropriate settings for your TOC, you can choose it from the TOC Style menu.

  • In the Title box, type a title for your TOC (such as Contents or List of Figures). This title will appear at the top of the table of contents. To format the title, choose a style from the Style menu.
  • Select Include Book Documents to create a single table of contents for all documents in the book list, and to renumber the book’s pages. Deselect this option if you want to generate a table of contents for the current document only. (This option is dimmed if the current document is not part of a book file.)
  • Determine which content you want to include in the table of contents by double-clicking paragraph styles in the Other Styles list to add them to the Include Paragraph Styles list.
  • Select Replace Existing Table Of Contents to replace all existing table of contents stories in the document. Deselect this option if you want to generate a new table of contents, such as a list of figures.
  • Specify options to determine how each paragraph style in the table of contents is formatted.

    Note:

    It’s a good idea to define a TOC style that contains the formatting and other options for your table of contents, especially if you want to include multiple TOCs in your document. To do so, click Save Style. You can also create TOC styles by choosing Layout > Table Of Contents Styles.

  • Click OK.

    A loaded text cursor  appears. Before you click or drag, you can move to a different page or create a new page without losing the loaded text.

  • Click or drag the loaded text cursor on a page to place the new table of contents story.

Note:

Avoid threading the TOC frame to other text frames in the document. If you replace the existing TOC, the entire story will be replaced by the updated TOC.

  • Don’t confuse TOC styles with paragraph styles that have a “TOC” prefix. TOC-prefixed paragraph styles (for example “TOC title”) are used to format the table of contents entries themselves. In contrast, a TOC style is a collection of settings used to automatically create a table of contents.

Create a TOC style

  • Choose Layout > Table Of Contents Styles.
  • Click New.
  • Type a name for the TOC style you are creating.
  • In the Title box, type a title for your TOC (such as Contents or List of Figures). This title will appear at the top of the table of contents. To specify a title style, choose a style from the Style menu.
  • From the Other Styles list, select the paragraph styles that represent content you want to include in the table of contents, then click Add to add them to the Include Paragraph Styles list.
  • Specify options to determine how each paragraph style is formatted.

Import TOC styles from another document

  • Choose Layout > Table Of Contents Styles.
  • Click Load, select the InDesign file containing the TOC styles you want to copy, and then click Open.
  • Click OK.

Note:

If the paragraph styles in your document do not match the paragraph styles in the TOC style you import, you’ll need to edit the TOC style before generating a table of contents.

Options for formatting a table of contents

When generating or editing a table of contents, use these options to determine the appearance of the generated table of contents text. Some of these options are available only when you click More Options in the dialog box.

Note:

The settings in the Style section apply only to the style currently selected under Include Paragraph Styles. You can specify different formatting options for each style.

Entry Style

For each style in Include Paragraph Styles, choose a paragraph style to apply to the associated table of contents entries.

Page Number

You might want to create a character style that formats the page number. You can then select this style in the Style pop‑up list to the right of Page Number. (See Add paragraph and character styles.)

If you want the page numbers of the TOC to include prefixes, or to use a different numbering convention, see Define section numbering.

Between Entry And Number Specify which characters you want between the table of contents entry and its page number. The default is ^t, which tells InDesign to insert a tab. You can choose other special characters, such as Right Indent Tab or Em Space, in the pop‑up list.

Note:

Select the existing text in the box before you choose a different special character, to make sure that you don’t include both characters.

You might want to create a character style that formats the space between the entry and the page number. You can then select this style in the Style pop‑up list to the right of Between Entry And Number. (See Add paragraph and character styles.)

If the entry’s paragraph style includes a tab leader setting, and if the tab character (^t) is selected, a tab leader appears in the generated table of contents.


Screen Shot 2017-04-27 at 8.51.24 AM

In this most basic TOC example above, the settings you make here generate the TOC shown below. The paragraph style called “TOC” is assigned in the “style” area of the TOC window. The “first chapter, second chapter, etc.” look is created by the “folio info” paragraph style. Notice that it is simply added to the styles list in the window on the left. You create the look of the type as paragraph styles before opening the TOC window. You apply them here. All paragraph styles that you will be using in the TOC need to be added to scrollable window on the left by first selecting them from the menu window on the right and then clicking the “add” button.

Screen Shot 2017-04-27 at 8.53.00 AM

Screen Shot 2017-04-27 at 1.41.53 PM

In the modified version of the TOC, the following changes were made to the paragraph styles to get the version seen above.

  • First a custom color was created in the “color” window pallet. This color was then added to the swatches pallet.
  • Then the paragraph style was opened to apply editing changes.
  • From the paragraph style editing window, the “Character color” section was opened first to apply the custom swatch color that was just created.
  • Next the paragraph style was edited in the “basic character formats” section where the typeface, type size and leading were changed.
  • Tabs were set to control the text alignment and position (indent).
  • Next under the “Paragraph Rules” section, a ruled line (straight line) was applied between each chapter entry. The settings that created the lines are seen in the window below. Be sure to check the “Rule On” box, select rule above or rule below to position the line above or below your text. The “Offset” setting controls the distance the line is placed from the text. The “Width” setting controls the length of the line.Screen Shot 2017-04-27 at 1.45.52 PM.png