Fixing/Modifying Table of Contents

I write my books using Microsoft Word. I publish them by uploading them to Amazon (through But sometimes the Table of Contents isn’t quite what I want. So, i have to modify it. Sometimes it looks fine in Word, but Amazon changes it when I upload it. Or they complain that it’s not right. So I fix it.

The easiest way to fix that latter problem is to save my word document as a pdf. Then I upload the pdf to Amazon. The typical complaint from Amazon is that the page numbers are past the margin. They look fine in word, but not in Amazon.

The most common thing that I want to change in my table of contents is the heading. I want it to say something other than Table of Contents or Contents. That’s ok, let word generate the Table of Contents (under the References menu). Then just change the heading. Reformat the heading if it’s not to your liking.

Some people don’t like to have the Table of Contents heading show up in the Table of Contents. I don’t mind. If you want things that way, you’ll have to create a separate section for your Table of Contents (and anything else you don’t want included). There’s also squabbling over whether to start number your book pages after the Table of Contents or not. Those are topics I’m not going to cover in this blog post.

I sometimes want my chapter titles styled differently in my Table of Contents (TOC) than the default styles. To modify those, I go to the Reference menu, choose the Table of Contents drop down, then Custom Table of Contents. Then I click Modify. I select the TOC 1 entry and click Modify again. Then I increase the font size if this is a large print book. If I just want a different font, like perhaps my heading font, I change the font. Click OK. When I’m asked if I want to replace the current Table of Contents, I say yes. Actually, I say, Why do you think I went to all this work? But that’s the equivalent of yes.

One recent book, I had originally written as 8.5 x 11. Amazon books are typically 6 x 9. The table of contents didn’t resize correctly. It looked fine in word, but Amazon complained. So I saved it as a pdf and everything was hunkydorey.

I added an About the Author chapter, which I wanted to show up in the table of contents. I uploaded the new word document and Amazon complained. I thought, this time I’m going to figure out how to fix it in word! And I did.

Two things were off. #1 the … weren’t showing up. #2 the page numbers were too far to the right in Amazon or were dropped completely.

#1. I don’t know about you, but with my astigmatism, it’s hard to tell which page numbers go with which heading without those …. In a word TOC, those … are called tab leaders. To fix those, do a custom TOC. Modify TOC 1. Click Format, choose Tabs. Change the Tab Leader to …..

#2. Fixing where the page numbers appear is a similar fix. Again, format the tabs. This time, clear all tabs. Then enter a new position for your new tab. For 6 inch wide books with a one inch margin on both sides, that would be a 4 inches. If your page numbering goes past 99, use 3.75 inches instead. You should be able to use 4, but 3.75 often works better with Amazon. Choose Right. This is a right tab because the page numbers are aligned to the right. Chose … for the tab leader. Click Set (not necessary, but feels like word might actually do what I want if I click Set). Click OK.

That’s it, problem fixed. Amazon’s happy. I’m happy. Hope you’re happy. And if you want to buy one of my books, they’re at

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