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Table of Contents I: Create a basic TOC

Closeup of table of contents showing various elements in it

Elements of a TOC that can be altered:
Callout 1 The font details, such as size, type, and color.
Callout 2 Position of page numbers.
Callout 3 Type of tab leaders.
Callout 4 Number of levels. There are three levels here: "The Planets" is at the first level; "Mercury," "Venus," and "Earth" are at the second; and "The Moon" is at the third.

When you want to change the appearance of your TOC, you're better off changing the whole table — you don't want to alter each individual line. But before you start, it's a good idea to know what's what, and what you can change.

  • Font: You can change the size, type, color, and so on of the text in your TOC by applying a Format to the whole TOC.
  • Page numbers: You can choose whether to include page numbers or not and, if you do, whether to have them next to the text entry or right-aligned.
  • Tab leader: If your page numbers are right-aligned, you can choose to use a tab leader (dots, dashes, a straight line), or not.
  • Levels: In a complex document you might need more than the standard three levels for your TOC. You can have a maximum of nine.

Many of these attributes can be changed all at once by using a built-in TOC format. The format will affect the whole TOC. You want to avoid formatting the TOC "by hand" because you'll lose any direct formatting you apply when you update it.

If you're getting confused with all these "formats," keep in mind that there are two types of formatting to consider. First, there's the text in the document that you mark for TOC inclusion that can be formatted, for example, with a heading style. And then there's the TOC itself, which can also be formatted.

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