Active and Hyperlinked TOC’s

This is a posting that will perhaps interest the computer savvy among you.  A TOC is simply a Table of Contents, which one can enter manually in a book, checking on the page numbers of Chapters and then typing them into the Table.  But, this is dangerous, particularly as you write and revise a book, adding and deleting sections, the placing of chapters changes completely. Some time ago I learnt to insert an “active” TOC, that is one in which the page numbers of the chapters or sections change automatically to where they actually are located.

To make an active TOC one simply uses the commands in Microsoft Word, Under “References.” The first entry on the left is “Table of Contents” and you can click on this and choose a type of TOC you prefer.  Your cursor should be on the page where you want the TOC to be located, usually very close to the front of your book.  Then you go through your book and select each title you want to be included in the TOC and then click “Add Text.”  You can choose whether you want the titles to be level 1, 2 or 3.  

When  you have gone through part of the book or the whole book then click on “Update Table” and it will give you two choices “Update numbers only” (which is for when you are not changing any of the headings) or “Update entire table” which allows you to update the headings and page numbers in the Table.  Once you have an active TOC, you can revise your text in any way, deleting or adding sections or chapters, and then simply “Update table” and the page numbers in the TOC will be correct.

A hyperlinked TOC is what is found in an e-book.  When you are reading an e-book on your reader, such as a Kindle or Nook Fire, you can simply click on any entry in the TOC and the reader will simply take you to that page, you don’t even need page numbers.  How do you create such a hyperlinked TOC?  

The first step in Word under “Insert” choose “Links”and under this choose “Bookmarks” then go through the book and set up bookmarks for each heading you want to include in the TOC. You do this by selecting the heading and then clicking on”Bookmark” and giving the bookmark a name that is brief and easily remembered, so that Chapter One might be bookmarked as “Ch1.” Note that this entry will only accept one word, no spaces.   When you have gone through the entire book and have a list of (alphabetical) bookmarks, then select the first title and under “Links” click on “Hyperlink” and then click the appropriate entry in the bookmarks table.  This will set up the hyperlink in the TOC.  

I also discovered that an already active TOC (as in the first paragraph above) can be converted into a hyperlinked TOC in one step by going to “Table of Contents” and at the bottom choosing “Custom Table of Contents” and there is a box and in it you do not choose “Use page numbers” but choose “Hyperlink  page numbers instead” and this will give you a hyperlinked TOC.  Note that if you don’t see “Custom Table of Contents,” you might have to go to “File” and there click on “Convert Document.”  Some sites, such as Smashwords, advise you not to make this one-step conversion.  However, it is certainly much simpler, once you have already selected your headings for an active TOC.