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Adobe InDesign CC - Essential Training

How do I make an automatic table of contents in Adobe InDesign?

Daniel Walter Scott

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Hi there, in this video we're going to make a Table of Contents like this, but we're going to do it automatically, where it pulls all the titles that we've used through our documents, and automatically adds them to this list with the correct number, and Styles it automatically. All right, let's go and learn how to do that.

First thing is, I'm going to jump to page 3. That's where I'm going to put my Table of Contents, double click it. Zoom in a little bit. And I need to go to 'Layout', 'Table of Contents'. Now the one thing that makes Table of Contents, especially this automatic one work is the use of Paragraph Styles. So during this tutorial, we've gone through and applied this thing called Subheading to all of the Headings. The cool thing about it is, if I add it to this, it's going to add it to my Table of Contents. If I leave it just like this, click 'OK', drag it out, you'll see that all my headings, the Chief Executive Review, Tracking Our Progress, you can see here, Executive Review, Tracking Our Progress, it's all been included in the Table of Contents.

So, one thing I want to do though - I'm going to 'Edit', 'Undo', 'Edit', 'Undo' - is apply Styles while I'm doing it. So 'Layout', 'Table of Contents'. I want my Subheading to be added. Click it across. Now this is the Title. It's just that words that go over the top. I'm going to call it Table of Contents. And the Style, it's going to have, we'll give it the 'TOC Title'. Can you see, these are the headings that I've made, but now there's this magical new one called TOC. Table of Contents Title. This is one that InDesign's going to generate for us, that we can update. Same thing goes for the actual contents of our Table of Contents. If I leave it, we saw that it had the same Styles as our Headings. Instead of same Style, I'm going to click on this new one, 'TOC Body Copy'. Brand new, made for us for InDesign.

We can adjust the Styling afterwards. Cool. Let's click 'OK'. Same thing, I'm going to click, hold, and drag it out. And we've got our Table of Contents. So if you don't have any Paragraph Styles, you either have to manually type it all out, copy and paste, and try and work out what the page numbers are. That's the manual way, or you're going to have to go through, create a Paragraph Style, and go through and apply it to all the headings. Then you can do it automatically like we have here.

Let's look at our Styles panel. Go to 'Window', 'Styles', 'Paragraph Styles'. So two new ones have been generated. We've got TOC Title and TOC Body Copy. So that one, TOC Title, controls the contents, and TOC Body Text controls all of this. It's a pretty ugly looking Paragraph Style, so we're going to go and adjust it. So, Table of Contents, this TOC Style, I'm going to go through and say, actually I'm going to use my 'Roboto', I'll use the 'Slab Bold'. I'm going to make sure it's 'left aligned'. I'm going to use 'red', and you can see, like we did earlier, we're going to right click it, and say 'Redefine Style'. The reason we do that is because if we update the Table of Contents, it reverts to its original Style. So if we don't redefine the Style, like this one here, say we go and make some changes just quickly, and I'll make it smaller.

I'm going to pick Arial. We do all this, and then we have to go through this bit that says 'Layout', and it says 'Update Table of Contents'. We've moved things from different pages. If I click 'Update', you can see, it updates it great, but it also reverts it back to the ugly looking Paragraph Style. So, let's select it. Let's make it 'Roboto Medium'. I'm going to change it to '10'. I'm going to increase the Leading a bit. So before I move on, I need to right click, and say 'Redefine Style'. Now what we can do is, we can go through and say-- say this is just a text change, it's called Chief Executive's Review, now it's Chief Executive's Rant. And if I come up to here, you will notice it's not dynamic. It doesn't update automatically, but I can manually go and say 'Layout', and go to 'Update Table of Contents'. And it's updated it to Rant. And it's given this lovely new Paragraph Style.

So we've gone through, and adjusted it even if we change numbers, so this one here, say in front of this one, I put a Column Break. So 'Type', 'Insert Special Characters', no, 'Insert Break Character', and go to 'Column Break'. The Tracking our Progress is now on page 6. Up here, where are you? There you are. We need to go, so it's on 5, just go up to 'Layout'. Actually you have to click inside of it. So grab the Type Tool, click inside, 'Layout'. 'Update Table of Contents', you'll see, it adjusts. And all the ones after it have adjusted as well.

Next thing we're going to do, and the thing I've been ignoring, is these weird numbers that are real jammed up to the side. So we're going to learn Tabs in the next video. And that will help us fix that.