How to Make a Table of Contents in Google Docs

August 25, 2020
Kevin Kessler

Are you struggling to work your way around a Google document? Would a table of contents help make it more presentable and easier to navigate?

Don’t worry, many Google Docs users are struggling with the same problem. Fortunately, it’s all pretty straightforward. You don’t have to mess around adding any custom in-text links or tweaking the design.

In this article, you’ll be given directions on how to make a table of contents in Google Docs. Here’s more about this feature, as well as an in-detail, step-by-step guide to help you get there.

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What is the Table of Contents in Google Docs?

If you’ve never heard of the term, you might be a bit intimidated by it. In reality, the table of contents in Google Docs has been simplified compared to other text editors. The best way to describe the table of contents is as a sort of document outline. In essence, it’s a list of headings in your Google Docs document, that you can add anywhere in your text.

The table of contents is a vital navigational tool in your document that allows you to skip to specific points of the text. It’s not there to bother you, it’s there to help.

Why Use the Table of Contents?

Although the table of contents feature brings about numerous benefits to the design and feel of your text, it has one primary role – to help you and others navigate the text.

Now, this can refer to your regular navigation. Looking at the table of contents and navigating to the heading that you need is much quicker than shuffling through the entire text looking for it.

But there’s more to it than this. By looking at the table of contents, you and others can actually revise the points of the text. It helps form a clearer picture of the text in question.

This is why this feature is a vital part of formatting in Google Docs, but also in other text editors, like Microsoft Word, for example.

How to Make a Table of Contents in Google Docs: A Step-by-Step Walkthrough

Helping you and others navigate your text and form a clearer picture of the contents isn’t an easy thing to do. Well, at least without a feature like the table of contents in your Google Docs document. To help everyone form a better picture of the document outline, here’s a step-by-step guide on how to make a table of contents in Google Docs.

Step 1: Opening a Google Docs Document

To get things started, open a document in Google Docs. To do so, search for “google docs” in your browser and select Go to Google Docs. Now, you’ll see a list of templates at the top of the page. Select the leftmost entry: Blank. This will open a new Google Docs document.

google docs
create new document

Step 2: Add the Table of Contents

Select the point in your Google document where you want the table of contents to appear using the left-click. Then, navigate to the upper part of the document and click Insert. A drop-down menu will appear.

Step 3: Choose the Table Type

Toward the bottom of the drop-down menu, you’ll see the Table of contents entry. Hover over it and more options will appear. You’ll see two in particular, With page numbers and With blue links. The former will create a numbered list, while the latter will add the same list but with blue links. Choose whichever option you prefer.

add table of contents

Deleting the Table of Contents

If you wish to remove the table of contents altogether, you’ll notice that you aren’t able to delete it as a regular part of normal text. You’ll have to highlight the list and hit Backspace or Delete on your keyboard. Alternatively, you can right-click it and select Delete table of contents, located at the bottom of the right-click menu.

How to Make a Table of Contents in Google Docs – FAQ

How do you type a table of contents?

You can’t really type up a table of contents. You could make it in a custom way, where you manually add links to your text, but this will take quite some time. However, you can edit the table of contents. To do so, simply click wherever you want to edit it and feel free to type in your own text. The links will stay in place, which is a handy thing.

How do you add page numbers to a table of contents in Google Docs?

You don’t have to add custom numbers to your table of contents. When choosing between the two table of contents options in the dialog box, select the “With page numbers” option. This will automatically create a table of contents for you, with page numbers to the right of the list.

How do I make a table?

Making a custom table in Google Docs is very straightforward. Navigate to the upper part of the page and go to “insert menu.” Once you’ve selected the menu, hover over the Table entry. A dialog box will appear to the right, prompting you to choose the size of the table. Select the size and then left-click.

What does a contents page look like?

In Google Docs, a contents page is displayed as a table of contents. Depending on whether you’ve gone with the numbered or blue links option, the table will look in one of the two mentioned ways. Other than that, a table of contents will appear as a form of an appendix you’d see in books.

How do you put a table of contents on the side in Google Docs?

This is actually called the Document Outline in Google Docs. It can be enabled by using the View tab in the toolbar. Click it, and you’ll see the “Show Document Outline” option. Activate it by left-clicking or by using the Ctrl+Alt+A or Ctrl+Alt+H shortcuts.


This step-by-step guide should give you a complete understanding of the table of contents function in Google Docs. The document outline and table of contents function will provide a refreshing, more detailed look in your Google Doc, without making things more confusing. On the contrary, this feature will help you better review the contents of your article. Plus, it will help you better and easier navigate around the text.

Kevin Kessler
Kevin J. Kessler is a published author of five fantasy novels, a professional wrestler, and a puppeteer (not all at the same time). Kevin is a content writer at Codeless.

About the Author

Kevin Kessler
Kevin J. Kessler is a published author of five fantasy novels, a professional wrestler, and a puppeteer (not all at the same time). Kevin is a content writer at Codeless.