How to Add a Table of Contents to a Google Doc

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Bernard Perron
@bernardperron
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Adding a table of contents is a helpful way to organize the topics or chapters of your Google Doc so readers can quickly skim through and find exactly what they're looking for. It also adds a touch of professionalism to the whole thing.

Whether you're an employee whose company requires the use of Google Docs for business documentation, an author writing a novel, or a student writing a long essay or term paper, chances are you need a Table of Contents.



Fortunately, Google Docs has provided a feature that can create a table of contents that will generate links to each section marked with a heading. Technically, you can just create a table of contents manually, but creating all the links for each section can be a daunting task. So, to avoid any unnecessary hurdles that may arise when trying to do it all yourself, I'll provide the steps for adding a table of contents using Google's built-in option in the section below.

Creating a Table of Contents in Google Docs

As you walk you through the process of adding a table of contents to your Google Doc, be aware that it can be done using any browser, although Google Chrome is the obviously preferred choice. You also won't need any third-party extensions or apps to pull it off.

Headings will be very important to your document. Even more so if you plan to add a table of contents to it. You'll need to make sure your titles are consistent and that you're using the right ones for the right things.

Title 1 must be used as the main name of the section or a chapter. If you need to break a section into smaller topics based on what the section is for, then you can use the following size heading. But you will always return to topic 1 once the next section has started.



Ensuring your document is formatted correctly will make the whole process much smoother. If you need to go back and change the size of the titles:

  • Scroll through your document and locate your first heading, highlight it, then select Title 1 du modes scrolling menu.

You're going to want to do this with every heading or section. Everything in the Paragraph the style will not appear in the table of contents. Once the formatting is complete, you can now add the table of contents.

Adding a table of contents using the built-in Google Doc feature

It is important that you place your cursor where you want the table of contents to be. You can place the insertion point where you want the table of contents to go in your document. You may want to place it at the beginning or end of the document, as that's usually where you'll find a table of contents. The most professional area where you'll find a table of contents will appear after the initial title but before the introduction or body of your document.

When you have decided on your table of contents in place, left click on the area. Follow this by clicking on the Insert tab and highlight Contents in the menu. You will have the choice between two options.

  • Option 1 – This is a table of contents in plain text with numbers on the right side.
  • Option 2 – This option does not use page numbers, but instead inserts hyperlinks that refer to the graded section.

Your choice should be determined by the document type. The one with numbers is for documents you intend to print. The option with links is for online viewing. If the document is an assignment that you need to turn in, the first option is best. Do you plan to publish the document live on the web? Choose the second option. Once you click an option, Google Docs automatically generates the table of contents and places it where you selected it.



The second option relies on your ability to use the correct titles for your chapters, topics, or sections placed in the document. This point has already been addressed previously but I think it is necessary to repeat it once more. If your intention is to generate a table of contents that links to specific sections of your document, you should format each chapter (or heading) using the appropriate heading styles. This lets Docs know how to populate the table and add clickable links.


Each heading style is treated slightly differently in the table of contents. The Title 1 style denotes a top-level entry in the table of contents. Headers using the Title 2 style are considered subsections and appear indented below the previous Title 1 style in the table. Title 3 is a subsection of Title 2, etc.

If you need to change your headings in any way (or any changes affecting your ToC), you can update your table of contents to reflect those changes. Simply click on the table of contents in the body of the document, then click on the Update the table of contents button.

To remove a table of contents from your document, simply right click on it and select Delete the table of contents.

Create a table of contents on Android

Unfortunately, Google Docs currently doesn't offer this feature on Android, you'll need to use a computer or iOS device.


Create a table of contents on an iPhone or iPad

  1. Open the document you want to add the table of contents to in Google Docs.
  2. Now press Edit at the bottom of the screen.
  3. Then tap where you want the table of contents and select Insert at the top right of the screen.
  4. Then select Contents.
  5. From there, select the appearance of your table of contents.

Use Google Docs

Google Docs has a ton of useful built-in features. The fact that it is free makes it all the more ideal. With the steps mentioned above, you can make navigating through documents as easy as clicking the mouse.

Audio Video How to Add a Table of Contents to a Google Doc
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