One major difference between a printed book and an e-book is that an e-book has no fixed page numbers. For example, you can expand or shrink text in an e-book and that affects what page number a chapter appears on. Because page numbers can always change in an e-book, you can’t create a traditional table of contents and list page numbers. Instead, you have to create a table of contents using the basic idea of links.
The two most popular word processors, Microsoft Word and Apple’s Pages, include features to create a table of contents automatically. Although you can manually create a table of contents, why bother when your word processor can do it for you instead?
First, write each chapter of your e-book in a separate document. When you’re done with all your chapters, copy and paste your text into a single document. The key is to identify what you want the table of contents to include by using special heading styles that Microsoft Word and Pages include. Basically a heading is a special way to format text such as making the text appear bigger or bold.
Figure 1. In Microsoft Word for the Macintosh, different heading styles appear on the Home tab.
If you want all your chapter titles to appear in your table of contents, format those chapter headings using the Heading 1 style. If you want to include any sections within your chapter in your table of contents, format those section headings using the Heading 2 style and so on.
Once you’ve formatted all items you want to include in a table of contents, move the cursor to the front of your document on a separate page. Now choose the Table of Contents command and your word processor will create a table of contents based on your Heading 1, Heading 2, Heading 3, etc. styles that you used to format text.
In Microsoft Word for the Macintosh 2011, you can create a table of contents by clicking the Document Elements tab, clicking the down arrow underneath the Table of Contents group, and clicking on the style you want to use for your table of contents.
Figure 2. Microsoft Word 2011 for the Macintosh creates a Table of Contents from the Document Elements tab.
In the latest version of Pages, you can create a table of contents by clicking the Insert menu > Table of Contents > Document to tell Pages to search through your entire document for Heading 1, Heading 2, Heading 3, etc. formatted text to include in the table of contents.
In Microsoft Word 2010 for Windows, you can format text with Headings by clicking the Home tab. Then to create a table of contents, click the Reference tab and click the Table of Contents icon.
Figure 3. Microsoft Word 2010 for Windows lets you create a table of contents by clicking the References tab and then the Table of Contents icon.
No matter which word processor you use, the basic steps for creating a table of contents are:
- Store your entire e-book in a single word processor document.
- Format the chapter titles and section headings that you want to appear in your table of contents using the Heading 1, Heading 2, Heading 3 styles.
- Create a blank page for your table of contents at the front of your document.
- Tell your word processor to create a table of contents automatically based on the text you formatted as Heading 1, Heading 2, etc.
The entries in your table of contents are now linked to your chapter headings and any section headings you want. When you convert your word processor document into an ePub file, it should (note the emphasis on “should”) create a table of contents with entries linked to your chapter and section headings. By tapping on a table of contents entry, readers should be able to jump to that part of your e-book. A table of contents is basically just a collection of links to the different parts of your document that you’ve previously identified using a Heading 1/Heading2/Heading 3 style.