User's Guide on How to Creating a Table of Contents in Google Docs

November 16, 2023 551 views

Welcome! Let's make documents easier together. This guide is all about Google Docs' Table of Contents—simple steps, no jargon. Whether you're new or not, we're in for a smooth ride. Learn how to create, update, and clickify your Table of Contents. Share your thoughts as we go. It's like upgrading your document game without the stress. Ready to make your documents a breeze? Let's get started!

Part 1: Easy Steps to Make a Table of Contents in Google Docs

Follow these easy steps to organize your document with clarity and simplicity:

Step 1: Position the Cursor

Click where you want to add the Table of Contents. For optimal organization, consider placing it on a blank page near the beginning of your document.

Step 2: Access the Insert Menu

Navigate to the menu bar and click on "Insert."

Step 3: Select Table of Contents

From the drop-down menu that appears after clicking "Insert," select "Table of Contents."

Step 4: Choose Formatting Options

A sub-menu will appear with formatting options. Choose the style you prefer:

  • With Page Numbers: This option includes page numbers next to each entry.

  • With Blue Links: This option creates hyperlinks for each entry in blue.

Select the desired formatting option based on your preference.

Step 5: Insert the Table of Contents

Once you've chosen the formatting style, click on it. Google Docs will automatically generate the Table of Contents based on your document's headings.

These steps provide a straightforward way to add a Table of Contents in Google Docs, offering both visual appeal and practical functionality for document navigation.

Part 2: How to Update a Table of Contents in Google Docs?

If you make changes to the headings in your document after creating the table of contents, updating it is a breeze. Keep your document organized and current by following these simple steps.

Step 1: Edit a Heading

Click in the heading you want to change within your document.

Step 2: Adjust Heading Level

Click the "Styles" list arrow in the toolbar. Select a new heading level for the edited heading.

Step 3: Insert Table of Contents

Navigate to the location in your document where the Table of Contents is placed. Click anywhere in the existing Table of Contents.

Step 4: Update the Table of Contents

Click the "Update table of contents" button.

This action ensures that the Table of Contents is instantly updated to reflect any changes you've made to the headings in your document. This feature is handy for keeping your Table of Contents accurate and aligned with the document's structure as you continue to edit and refine your content.

Part 3: How to Create a Clickable Table of Contents in Google Docs

Method 1: Manual

Step 1: Adding Links to Existing TOC:

For an already existing Table of Contents, click on each heading.

Use Ctrl + K (Windows) or Command + K (Mac) to open the 'add links' menu.

Step 2: Effortless Navigation:

In case of similar headings, the desired link usually appears at the top among suggested links.

If not found, click "Headings and Bookmarks" at the bottom for a comprehensive list, simplifying the linking process.

Method 2: Automatic

Step 1: Inserting Table of Contents:

Access "Insert" and select "Table of Contents."

Choose the style featuring blue links for a dynamic and clickable Table of Contents.

Step 2: Instant Linking:

Opt for the blue links style to generate a clickable Table of Contents, enabling readers to swiftly navigate to specific document sections.

Part 4: Best Free Alternative to Google Docs - WPS Writer

What Is WPS Office?

WPS Office stands as a robust office suite, providing a gamut of features for document creation, editing, and collaboration. As a free alternative to Microsoft Office, Google Docs, and Adobe PDF, it brings high compatibility and cross-platform support.

Some of the main features of WPS Office are:

  • Writer: A powerful word processor that allows you to create and format text documents, resumes, reports, letters, and more. You can also insert tables, charts, images, shapes, equations, and other objects to enhance your documents. Writer supports various file formats, such as DOC, DOCX, RTF, TXT, HTML, and PDF.

  • Spreadsheet: A versatile spreadsheet application that enables you to perform calculations, analyze data, create charts, and manage budgets. You can also use formulas, functions, pivot tables, filters, and other tools to manipulate and visualize your data. Spreadsheet supports various file formats, such as XLS, XLSX, CSV, and PDF.

  • Presentation: A dynamic presentation software that helps you create and deliver engaging slideshows, animations, transitions, and multimedia. You can also use templates, themes, layouts, and master slides to design your presentations. Presentation supports various file formats, such as PPT, PPTX, PPS, PPSX, and PDF.

  • PDF: A handy PDF toolkit that allows you to view, edit, convert, sign, and annotate PDF files. You can also merge, split, compress, and protect your PDF files with passwords and watermarks. PDF supports various file formats, such as PDF, DOC, DOCX, XLS, XLSX, PPT, PPTX, and more.

  • Template Store: A large collection of free and professional templates for various purposes, such as resumes, business plans, flyers, invitations, certificates, and more.

WPS Office is a great choice for anyone who needs a free and all-in-one office suite for their work, study, or personal use. It is compatible with Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS devices, and supports cloud storage and synchronization. You can also collaborate with others in real time, and set edit permissions to protect your data security.

The Method of Making a Table of Contents in WPS Writer

Creating a Table of Contents (TOC) in WPS not only streamlines document navigation but also allows for customization. Follow these steps for a convenient insertion:

Step 1: Inserting TOC:

Click on the blank page at the beginning of the article.

Navigate to the Reference tab and select "Table of Contents."

Choose from three styles based on your preferred layout, considering the hierarchy of Heading 1, Heading 2, and Heading 3.

Step 2: Customizing Contents:

To customize, click the Table of Contents dropdown and choose "Insert Table of Contents."

In the dialog that appears, modify Tab leader, Show levels, and alignment for page numbers.

Step 3: Adding Hyperlinks:

Check the "Use Hyperlinks" option for interactive linking. Hold down Ctrl and click on the TOC to follow the links.

Step 4: Advanced Options:

Click "Options" for advanced settings, aligning TOC levels with corresponding heading levels.

Adjusting heading levels will reflect in the table of contents.

Step 5: Removing TOC:

If needed, remove the TOC by clicking the Table of Contents dropdown and selecting "Remove Table of Contents."


What's the difference between "Links" and "Plain Text" in the table of contents options?

Choosing "Links" creates a clickable table of contents, allowing swift navigation to different sections via links to your document's headings. Opting for "Plain Text" generates a table of contents with non-clickable plain text entries.

How do I update the table of contents if I make changes to my document?

Updating is a breeze. Click on the table of contents, then hit the circular arrow icon that appears. This simple action refreshes the table of contents, ensuring it includes any new headings or changes you've made. Easy peasy!


In conclusion, this comprehensive guide empowers users to master Google Docs' Table of Contents, enhancing document organization with easy-to-follow steps, visuals, and valuable insights. The exploration of WPS Writer as a compelling alternative adds a noteworthy dimension to document creation. Whether creating, updating, or making TOCs clickable, users gain proficiency and efficiency.

15 years of office industry experience, tech lover and copywriter. Follow me for product reviews, comparisons, and recommendations for new apps and software.