MacMost Now 542: Creating a Table of Contents In Pages

You can have Pages automatically create a table of contents based on the styles you have assigned to paragraphs in your text. With a little more work you can also have the table of contents automatically insert numbers and subchapters.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: MacMost Now 542: Creating a Table of Contents In Pages.

Hi this is Gary with MacMost Now. On today's episode lets create a table of contents in iWork pages. So say you're creating a long document, or manual, or book, in pages, and you want to create a table of contents. Well, there's a function for doing that. Lets take a look at how it works. We wanna start a new document here; I'm just going to start a blank word processing document in the vertical format. And then, I'm going to insert some text in here. I'm going to actually put on the page thumbnails on the left there so I can see the pages that I'm creating. And I'm going to insert a bunch of different text pages. This will insert pages that have sampled text in them. You can see here I'm going to do three of them. And then I'm going to go to each one and change this title at the top of each page to something that would make sense in a table of contents. So we do chapter one, beginning, um, the next page we'll do chapter two, the middle, and then chapter three. Now the idea would be that each of the titles on of these pages was an entry in the table of contents. Now I left the first page there blank, uh, if you didn't you could just create a new blank page there, and I've got here the main text area and the header area. In the main text area I want to insert a table of contents. And you can see a bunch of stuff will appear in there, and the inspector will instantly open. Now, it's set to the first tab there, which is document TOC and info. And go to the TOC here and you have the list of things that are included in the table of contents so if I only wanted the title of each of those I would deselect everything else and just leave title. Now I can see have the titles for these three pages as my table of contents. Now it doesn't quite automatically, for instance I went to this last page here, and I changed the name of it, and I go back to the table of contents you can see it didn't update; I have to press this update now button that appears in the table of contents inspector. And we can see now it updates. I can also go ahead and include this thing here, this is heading one style, and this is heading two style. If I selects heading one, it will include these as subsections under each chapter. Now as I add more I will be able to uh, see them appear there. I can even insert in the middle so for instance, if I have chapter two here I insert another text page and go back up here, update now, and can see it's inserted, this chapter here, between chapters two and three. Now I manually typed the chapter numbers. That's something I may not want to do. I may actually want to get rid of that and just have the chapter names and let the table of contents number them. So I go here now and I update and see all the chapter numbers are gone. Lets get rid of the inspector here and instead go to view, show styles drawer. We can see it pop out there, and we can move it over so we can see it. Now, when I have the table of contents selected, it will show table of content style here. I can see heading one, toc heading one selected. And under I can see character styles and list styles. Now list style it says none but I can change that to be a numbered list, and you can see it automatically puts the chapter numbers there. And one last thing you may want to do is you may want to look a the numbering on the right there and change how, how many numbers are shown. So for instance I have numbers for titles shown, but I can turn the numbers for the subheads here, so you just see the chapter page numbers. So there's a quick look on how to make a table of contents in pages. Unfortunately, there's no easy way to make an index in pages. You can do that in Microsoft word, and I've seen some complex ways to do it using Applescript in pages, but hopefully we'll get an indexing function in the future version of pages. Until the next time, this is Gary with MacMost Now.

Comments: 12 Responses to “MacMost Now 542: Creating a Table of Contents In Pages”

    8 years ago

    You can also update your TOC by just clicking in that TOC. Found out last week when I just did what you demonstrated.


    7 years ago

    This is great! Now how do you do this within a mac template? From what I can see, the option to insert a TOC is greyed out/ unavailable when working within a template…

      7 years ago

      Probably because the templates are layout documents and you need to be using a word processing document to use TOC.

        Jillian C
        7 years ago

        So why can’t I do it in a layout document, or combine both. I am making magazine pages so need the TOC to work. Suggestions?

        6 years ago

        Is there anyway to create a TOC from a layout document? This has been really frustrating. I have a 12 page newsletter and I really don’t want to create the TOC by hand each time.

          6 years ago

          I think it is only in word processing documents.

    7 years ago

    can i make two table of content in one document? as one for the chapters and sup-titles, and another one for tables and figures?

      7 years ago

      No, I can’t think of a way to do that. Try it, by all means, but I think it is THE table of contents, not A table of contents. You’ll need to do the tables and figures list manually.

    6 years ago

    If I use the downloaded ePub best practices document to create a small manual when I go to the insert button it shows ‘pages’ and yet when I use one of the existing templates the ‘insert’ button shows ‘sections’.

    This I find very confusing, I am new to ‘pages’ (because I have used MS word for the past 20 years) and just bought an iMac.

    WHAT am I trying to establish? I am trying to produce an eBook/iBook! In PDF

    Well I have produced a training manual using ‘pages’ and one of pages examples but, I cannot find an answer to ‘How can I create a TOC – table of contents to fit into my document?

    The ePub best practice doc has one and I have tried copy/paste but this does not work. HELP


      6 years ago

      Sorry, I don’t know anything about this “ePub best practices document” — perhaps they are just guidelines of some sort. Why not just use the TOC functionality in Pages and see if it works for you.

    6 years ago

    Came across this thread looking to add a table of contents to an already existing document created from a template.
    Thought I should share how I worked out to do it…

    You need to go through your document, starting with the first element to include in your contents. Highlight the heading – or whatever you want to appear in the contents list – and click “Format” “Create new paragraph style from selection”. Then copy it and find the next heading. alt cmd V will copy the paragraph style (and probably capitalise the text)… continue through the doc. Then you can follow the instructions in this video and the TOC will pick up your paragraph style. You just need to check it in the inspector and it should create the contents…

    6 years ago

    My name is Rose and I have a problem, I can’t create my own table of contents on Pages.
    I had seen and read several times the Pages User Guide.
    The problem is, I can not create my list style because when I go to inspector – list – marks and numbers, ther is no combination for 1.1.
    And if I create my own style and export to RTF, then open in text edit – copy- and paste on Pages, and after clean all the list styles, I can’t make pages accept numbers like 1.1 and 1.1.1.
    I would like to create an index like this:

    I_ BBBB
    1. ccccc
    1.1. ddddd
    1.1.1. eeeee

    II_ GGGG

    Best regards

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