PC Doctor May 23, 2022

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Dear PC Doctor:

I’m creating a how-to manual and want a table of contents at the beginning so that users can skip to the section that’s of interest to them. I’ve been working on it as I go along, but now I’ve re-ordered the sections and the table of contents isn’t in the right order anymore. A friend told me there’s an automated way to write my section and page headings so that the program creates a table of contents and automatically updates it when I change a section title or re-arrange sections. Is this true? I’m using Pages on an iMac.


Dear Leon:

Yes, it’s true!

Essentially, you use a particular text style for the words that you want to see appear on the table of contents. Then you set up the table of contents to look for that specific formatting. Each time you change the wording or where that information lands in the document, Pages will automatically update the table of contents, including page numbers.

Here are the details from Apple Support:

Pages generates an automatically updating table of contents (TOC) that appears in the sidebar on the left side of the Pages window. Entries in the TOC are links, so you can click an entry to jump to that page. In a word-processing document, you can also insert one or more automatically updating tables of contents into the pages of the document.

The TOC is based on paragraph styles used in your document. For example, if you apply the Heading paragraph style to your chapter titles, then enable the Heading style for the TOC, those chapter titles appear in the TOC. As you edit your content, the TOC updates automatically.

The first thing to do is apply paragraph styles to the text you want to appear in the table of contents. To apply paragraph styles, select one or more paragraphs, or click anywhere in a paragraph to apply the style to only that paragraph. In the Format sidebar, click the Text tab, click the paragraph style name near the top of the sidebar, then choose a style from the Paragraph Styles pop-up menu.

Click the View menu button in the toolbar, then choose Table of Contents. Click Edit at the top of the sidebar, then select the paragraph styles you want to include.

To add a TOC for the whole document, click the Insert Table of Contents button at the bottom of the Table of Contents sidebar. Entries will be gathered from the entire document.

Note: If you don’t see Table of Contents in the Insert menu, make sure that you clicked the Insert menu at the top of your screen, not the Insert button in the toolbar.

I hope this helps!
Until next time,
Happy computing!

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