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How to Add a Table of Contents in Google Docs and Update It Afterwards

We show you how to create a table of contents in Google Docs via the use of heading styles, then update it to reflect any changes you make in the editing process.


Adding a table of contents to your is important once they reach dozens of pages. While many overlook this feature in favor of the document outline, it's a useful tool to tell readers what's in the document and help them navigate it.

Google Docs' table of contents can be created automatically by pulling data directly from your heading styles. While it doesn't matter which type of heading you choose for this, generally Heading 1 should be used for your title, Heading 2 for main headings, and Heading 3 for sub-headings.

This will help to create a nice, readable hierarchy for your document. With that said, let's jump into how to create a table of contents in Google Docs:

How to Make a Table of Contents in Google Docs

Once you have a document set up, Google does most of the heavy lifting when it comes to table of contents. Open the document you'd like to add one to, if you haven't already, and we'll show you how in just a few seconds.

  1. Add your section headers

    In the Google Docs toolbar, press the “Normal text” button and change your section heading to one of the heading styles. Continue through the document and do this for each of your section headers.

  2. Create a table of contents in Google Docs

    Now that you've completed your headings, you'll be wondering how to add a table of contents in Google Docs. You can find the option under the “Insert” menu on your toolbar. In the fly-out menu, click “Table of contents” to create it.

  3. Preview your table of contents and make any adjustments

    Now that you've created the table of contents in your Google Doc, check it to ensure all of the headings are there. If they aren't, you may have forgotten to change one to a heading style.

    Thankfully, there's no need to delete the whole thing. Simply make the changes and follow the section below to update the table.

How to Update a Google Docs Table of Contents

So, you created your Google Doc's table of contents, only to add more headings or realise you missed one. By default, you may notice that the links aren't modified to relect your changes.

To remedy this, follow these steps:

  1. Refresh your table of contents

    Click inside your table of contents in Google Docs to surface a refresh button. Press it to update your links with any heading changes.

  2. Check your updated table of contents

    Make sure your table now has all of the headings you want. If it doesn't, you may need to update one of your sections to use a heading style.

Now that you're into the Google ecosystem, you may want to learn how to completely uninstall Microsoft Office. You can always follow our guide on opening a Word document without Word if you get sent a .doc file.

Ryan Maskell
Ryan Maskellhttps://ryanmaskell.co.uk
Ryan has had a passion for gaming and technology since early childhood. Fusing the skills from his Creative Writing and Publishing degree with profound technical knowledge, he enjoys covering news about Microsoft. As an avid writer, he is also working on his debut novel.

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