Scrap That TOC Post From Earlier

Back in May I posted a quick and dirty primer for making a table of contents.  It was just my way of doing things and I wanted to share it in the hopes that it might help someone.  Last week I was putting together a final collection of short stories for distribution to Smashwords and had to follow their model of making a TOC.  It was much easier.

Don’t do it the way I posted about earlier; that’s old and busted.  The new hotness is actually easier to work with and produces better results.

The way to do it correctly is this:

1). Use whatever you want for your chapter headings.  I still use Word’s Heading 1 style because it throws the chapter title into the navigation pane and that makes editing easier.

Head 1 sample

2). Highlight the chapter heading in your manuscript and select Insert in the Word ribbon (that thing at the top that replaced easy to understand menus) and click Add Bookmark.

Insert Bookmark

Repeat this process for each chapter header.  Note: you can name the bookmarks whatever you feel like.  Make them something easy to remember.  I used the chapter name (or a variant) with no spaces in the name.  Spaces are bad, mmkay.  Don’t worry, no one will be able to see them but you.

3).  Type out your Table of Contents and style it however you please.  That’s one of the major drawbacks to using Word’s Table of Contents generator: it’s brutal to clean up the formatting.  This way is nice and easy and you can make it look however you want.  Once you’re done, highlight each chapter and go Insert on the ribbon bar and click hyperlink.  Make sure to select the Places in the Document button on the left.  Select the bookmark you created earlier and click okay.  Lather, rinse, repeat.

Create Hyperlink

4). Voila.  Note, Smashwords is still trying to get epub submissions (you still have to submit a Word 2003 or 2007 doc file) to work and a lot of your formatting will go out the window as soon your book hits a Kindle (or other tablet).

Sample

This example is from the Kindle preview tool that Amazon built and is showing how the mobi file will look on an e-Ink device.

Simpler, easier, faster.  I believe you can do the same thing with Libre Office and Open Office.  Ditch Word’s TOC generator and do it the easy way.

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