Table of Contents Google Docs: Here Is How To Create It

You have just completed your multi-page document. After doing thorough research, you have created informative, intriguing content to share. But how will your readers locate the specific portion of the information they need from your document? 

They won’t have to read it all the way through, will they? 

Thankfully they will not have to. Google Doc can save you with its Table of Content feature! It will help you to organize your document, making it reader-friendly. The feature is simple and adapts to your desired styling. Here is how to create it. 

You can create your table of contents by creating topics and sub-topics for your documents using the headings feature. Afterward, select “Insert” from the menu and then scroll down to the “Table of Content” option. From there, select whether you would like to create your table using page numbers or links. 

I will show you how to create the table of content for your document using the headings feature. I will also show you how to create different heading sizes to differentiate between your topics and sub-topics. Afterward, you will learn how to create page numbers. 

You will also learn how to choose between using a table of contents with page numbers or links. Lastly, I will show you how to update your table of contents when adding new paragraphs. I have created multiple documents using Google Docs. I find that making use of the Table of Content feature adds professionalism and structure to your writing. 

How to Create Different Headings in Google Docs

To create a Table of Contents, first, you will need to create headings for each of your document’s topics and subtopics. It will be good to have in mind how you would like your table of contents to be displayed to use the headings feature accordingly. I will show you how to make heading sizes for your documents. 

Creating Headings Sizes For Google Docs

If you have written your document already, then you will know where all your headings and subheadings are. All the topics and sub-topics that you would like to appear in your table of contents need to be formatted with the headings feature. 

All the topics in the document will need to use the same size headings. Your sub-topics will be similar sizes as well.

You can choose whichever of the heading sizes you would like. I would personally recommend choosing Heading 1 or 2 for your broadest topics. This will assist with the styling of both your document and your table of contents. 

For illustration purposes, let us assume that we are writing a document about the different types of Bananas available. The broad topics I’d like to use are probably the types of bananas I’d like to discuss. I have chosen:

-Cavendish Banana

-Pisang Bananas

-Red Bananas 

as the different broad topics to write about. For each title, I would highlight the topic, for example, “Cavendish Banana”. Select the drop-down option that begins with “Normal Text” in the Toolbar. You will find it between the document size percentage icon and the font size icon. I would like my topics to be at “Heading 2” so I will select it from the drop-down. 

I would do the same for my other topics “Pisang Banana” and “Red Banana”.

Now, if for each topic I would like to include subtopics in my table of contents such as “Color” and “Origin”. I would highlight each sub-topic and select “Heading 3”. If I had a further sub-topic to include under “Color” then I would choose “Heading 4”. 

You will notice that the size of the Heading decreases as the heading number increases. This allows you an array of size options. 

If your document is not already written, you can choose the size of your heading before writing the topic. You will select your desired style from the Style icon in the toolbar, then write your topic. Ensure to return the style to “Normal Text” before continuing your document. 

How to Make a Table of Contents in Google Docs

Once you’ve created your headings you are now easily able to insert your table of contents. The choice is up to you as to where you would like to place it. If it is directly before the document you’ve written, place the cursor above the first line of your text. 

Click Insert from the menu. Scroll down until you see the “Table of Contents” option.  From here, you will have to decide whether you would like to create a table of contents with page numbers or blue links.  

How To Make A Table Of Contents In Google Docs With Page Numbers

If you select the option to organize your Table of Contents page using page numbers, your document will be automatically numbered for you. However, as this is default numbering, it may affect your desired layout of the document. I would recommend numbering your pages before using the “Insert >Table of Contents” feature. It gives you greater command over how the pages are styled afterward.

However, this is a personal preference. You can create and edit your page numbers before or after you have included the table of content in your document. 

Creating Page Numbers

To easily format your page numbers in the Table of Contents, you can create them prior to adding the table. You can easily achieve this by clicking on Insert from the menu bar, then going down to the “Page Number”.  You will see a series of choices on how you would like the numbers to appear on your document.

If you would like the table of contents to be included in the pagination of your page, then select the first option. However, if you would like the Table of Contents to be on a separate page from your numbered page, you can select the second option.

In “More Options”, you will be able to choose what numeral your numbered pages will start from. This is convenient if you would like to have your Table of Contents as page number one without the number appearing on the Table of Contents page. 

To do this, you would have selected the option to start numbering your pages on the second page. Then in “More Options” you would insert “2” in the space that requests the initial number for your pages. 

Format Table With Page Numbers

After creating page numbers, you will only have to select “Insert”, “Table of Contents” and then “Page Numbers” to achieve your desired layout.

When the Table of Contents is created, you will be able to appreciate the purpose of using the “Headings” feature. You will see that the page number for each topic and sub-topic will be included in the table of Content. This provides ease of reference for your reader. 

You will also notice the style of your Table of Contents which is created because of our careful choice of Heading Numbers. To refer to our familiar Banana Essay you will see that the sub-topic “Color” will appear indented and smaller than our topic “Cavendish Banana”. This will be the same whether you do the Table of Contents with the page number or with links.

How To Make A Table Of Content In Google Docs With Links

If you have selected the links option, instead of page numbers you will notice that your headings will be hyperlinked.  Your reader will be able to click on the topic or sub-topic that they are interested in reading. This is thanks to the insertion of our topics using the “Headings” feature. 

How to Update Table if Contents in Google Docs

 Your Table of Contents will not automatically update, even if you use the Heading feature to create your document. If you have chosen to write your Table of Contents along with your document, the update feature will be useful to you. 

In order to update it, click on your table of contents. You will see an icon resembling the refresh Icon for your browser page. This is your update button. 

Another way to use the Update feature is to right-click your Table of Contents and select the option “Update Table of Contents” from the displayed shortcut menu. Use either of these update methods whenever you have added a new topic or sub-topic to your document using the Heading feature.

Remember, your table of contents page will only respond to the Headings feature. For this reason, I would prefer to complete my documents first, before adding them to the table. 

You have successfully created your Table of Contents. You now have an organized document for your readers to enjoy. 

Conclusion

A well-structured document requires a table of content for ease of reference. To create this using Google Docs, ensure you use the heading feature so that your table will automatically populate once you select the Table of Content Option. You will find that the feature is user-friendly and quite adaptable. You will be satisfied with the outcome of your document.

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