A functioning table of contents is easy to create… if you know the right way to do it. Otherwise, creating one can be an extremely frustrating experience.

Using Word’s existing heading styles (that is, Title, Heading 1, Heading 2, and Heading 3, or whatever you change their names to) for your chapter headings is the easiest and best way to guarantee that your table of contents will work. You can modify those styles all you want to get them to look the way you want them to look; it’s the fact that they started out as header styles that makes them useful. The video below shows how to create a table of contents if you’ve used those heading styles.

Above: Creating a table of contents with header styles [2:28] 

As I said, it’s easiest to create and insert a table of contents when you’ve already used one of Word’s preset heading styles, and that’s how I recommend doing it. It is possible, however, to create a table of contents that points either to things in your book that are not headings or to headings that have been formatted in a style other than one of Word’s default heading styles. The mechanics there are the same as they are for creating in-document links (as discussed in the Styles and Formatting section) and are shown in the video below.

Above: Creating a table of contents with links to non-header points in the book [1:48]

There is one last thing you need to do. Your Kindle book needs to be able to tell the Kindle or Kindle app that it’s being read on that this spot is where the table of contents is. Once you do that, people will be able to navigate directly to the table of contents from within the book by using the Kindle or Kindle app’s Go To functionality. The video below shows how to take care of all of that.

Above: Inserting a bookmark for the table of contents [0:38] 

We just inserted a “toc” bookmark (without quotes) that tells a Kindle where your book’s table of contents is. There’s one more bookmark like this that we need to insert, and that’s the “start” bookmark. This bookmark tells a Kindle which page it should open to when the ebook is opened for the first time by someone who has bought and downloaded the book. This location is generally the start of the introduction or the start of the first chapter, though it can be somewhere else if you’d like. You insert the “start” bookmark (again, without the quotes) the exact same way we inserted the “toc” bookmark. Highlight a title, heading, or other word and go to Insert > Bookmark. Type in “start” and click the Add button. You’re done!

 

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