Getting Fancy with Tables of Contents

I had a special request to add a table of contents to a book. The request came from my wife and it was her book, so it was very special. The book is titled: The Actress. Her book is about an Actress who encounters a blank script. But what if that script is her life.? There’s a cat and a baby in the story. And the theme is from Julian of Norwich: “All will be well”. The Request was to add a table of contents. However, both lines of the chapter title needed to be on the same line in the table of contents.

No problem. Open the document (in Microsoft Word), Select Reference, Table of Contents, choose the style I wanted, and Voila, I’ve got a Table of Contents. My wife wants her Table of Contents (TOC) to be page numbered using lower case roman numerals, rather than Latin numbers (1,2,3). No problem, as she’s already got a section break, doing that. If she didn’t I’d add a section break by choosing Layout, then clicking on Breaks and choosing a section break. Getting the numbers in different formats requires several more steps, which is not the topic of this post. Luckily, my wife publishes her books on https://www.thebookpatch.com/ and they provided a Word Template for her to use which had this option. Amazon probably has a similar template, but I only ever tried to use an Amazon template years ago. It was so slow, that I had to just handle formatting on my own.

So, back to the subject at hand. My wife’s headings came as Chapter 1 and then more descriptive text on the next line. In this case Chapter 1 Ordinary Life. I had the bright idea to make the second line a bit larger than the first line – in other words, we would increase the font size on the second line.

First I had to apply styles of Heading 1 and Heading 2 to those two lines. So I found the style in the top ribbon and right-clicked on it choosing Update Heading. When I was satisfied with Chapter 1 Ordinary Life, I went to Chapter 2. There, I clicked on the first line and then clicked on Heading 1 from the ribbon. This applied Heading 1 to Chapter 2. Then I clicked on the second line of the chapter title and clicked on Heading 2. Luckily, there are only 14 chapters. From the View Menu, I had Navigation Pane checked. This helped my to see my progress.

Now, insert a TOC from the Reference Menu. And, …, Wait a minute, this won’t work. Chapter 1 is on a line in the TOC, followed by dots, followed by the page number. That’s ok, but Ordinary Life is on the next line, followed by dots, followed by the page number. Since her chapter headings are centered in the book, they’re left-justified (aligned to the left of the page) in the TOC. If they had been left aligned, and if Heading 2 had been indented, then Ordinary Life might have been indented in the TOC. That might have looked ok; the TOC I now had definitely didn’t look OK.

I tried googling MS Word Table of Contents multiple headings on same line. That led me to various websites, but mostly on a wild goose chase. Or, that led me to
“chasing an untamed ornithoid without cause”, to paraphrase Data.

Allen Wyatt, my go to web guy for MS Word tips, suggested, changing the line break after Chapter 1 to a soft line break. A soft line break, he informed me, is made by holding down the shift while pressing enter. I toggled paragraph marks by clicking the backwards looking P on the Home tab. Then I selected the paragraph mark between Chapter 1 and Ordinary Life, and did Shift+Enter. That changed the backwards P to an arrow. But wait! It also changed Ordinary Life to Heading 1. That’s not what I wanted.

Allen suggested looking at TOC Tips by Suzanne Barnhill. I tried playing with the TOC field codes. To get to these field code, I clicked Shift+F9 while my cursor was in the Table of Contents. That showed my the Hyperlink field code instead. I finally figured out (stumbled upon) clicking Shift+F9 twice. When I was done monkeying with the TOC field codes, I pressed F9 (which is the same as choosing Update Field), and then choose Update Entire Table. I was helped in my efforts by Susan Harkins, whose web post on Tech Republic describes all possible flags for the TOC field code. I’m sure that info is available in Word itself, somewhere. Nothing I tried, gave me what I wanted, nor did it look good.

I hit Ctrl+Z (Undo) until I got back to a good starting point. Then I applied Allen’s soft line break technique. I tried this with Chapter 1. Then I went back and updated the TOC to see how that looked. It looked ok. I would have preferred that the TOC had an n-dash or a colon or even just a hyphen separating Chapter 1 and Ordinary Life. But nothing I tried was going to get me anywhere close to that. Then I went back to Chapter 1 and increased the font-size on Ordinary Life. Even though both lines of the Chapter Title are in Heading 1 style, I can override portions of Heading 1. Then I applied this technique to the rest of the chapters. Again, I was grateful that The Actress only has 14 chapters.

The last test was to save the book as a pdf. This is the only way to publish on Book Patch (unless they’ve added functionality). And I would need the pdf to post as an e-book on Book Patch. OK, so it’s not really an e-book, but it will work on e-readers almost as well as an actual e-book. And it’s simpler to convert word to a pdf than to an e-book. I then opened the pdf and my chapter titles looked the way I wanted them to. The TOC was also good.

There will be one final test when I upload the pdf to Book Patch. We’ll see if their software overwrites any of the styles. Amazon for sure would, though perhaps not these particular ones. But first, to correct the other mistakes we found in the first edition. Then to have my wife review it. Then eventually to upload and finally publish the second edition. The Actress won’t substantively change between now and then, so you won’t really be missing anything if you order now.

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