Table of Contents in OpenOffice

Ebooks don’t have to have a Table of Contents, but you may want to add one anyway.

Ebooks aren’t like a paperback where you can thumb through the book to find your place. If you lose your bookmark, you’ll need to scan through the book to find where you left off. Having a Table of Contents makes it easy for your  reader to at least get near to the last page they read.

Ebooks also don’t have page numbers.  A traditional Table of Contents will point to a specific page number, but that won’t be very helpful with an ebook. Instead you want the Table of Contents to link to the chapter so that when the reader taps on the link they will immediately jump to that part of the book.

It is easy to create a Table of Contents in OpenOffice, but it can be tricky to get started the first time.  This guide will walk you through the steps to create a standard Table of Contents for your book.  It assumes you followed the style guides in getting started with OpenOffice page.  It will create a Table of Contents using the chapter headings you set to the Heading 1 style.

To begin click on the Insert menu, then select Indexes and Tables, then select Index and Tables again.  This will place a table of contents where the cursor is on the current page.

For an ebook, I recommend placing the table of contents on the last page.


You’ll start on the Index/Table tab. The most important part of the Index/Table tab is the name. It should say Table of Contents. If that is OK, and it probably is, you can go to the next tab on the page, the Entries Tab.


On the Entries tab you’ll set how the table of contents looks.  Since this table of contents is for an ebook, we will want to remove the page number.  The page number is represented by the # button in the Structure section of the form. It is probably the last field in the Structure line Click on the # button to make it active and then press the DELETE key to remove it.


Your Structure line may now end with a T button.  The T is for a tab.  Typically it is used to make sure all of the page numbers lined up in the table of contents. Since we no longer have a page number, we don’t need the tab.  Click on the T button to make it active and then remove it by pressing the DELETE key.

At this point, your Structure line will have two buttons. An E# button and an E button.  The E# is the chapter number.   I would remove the E# button as well so that the only thing in the Strucure line is the E button. The E button is the Entry Text.  This is whatever you typed using the Heading 1 style.

Click in the empty spot directly before the E button, and then click on the Hyperlink button.   The empty spot will be filled in with an LS button. LS stands for Link Start.  Now click on the empty spot directly behind the E button. Again click on the Hyperlink button. This will place an LE button behind the E button. LE stands for Link End.

Your Structure link should now look like the example below.


Press the OK button and poof, you are done. A Table of Contents will be added to your document.

In the example below I placed the Table of Contents at the end of the document. The first 10% of a book is displayed in the sample available on Placing the Table of Contents at the end prevents it from being displayed in the sample.  If you want to include it in the free sample, place it at the beginning of the document.  Its physical location in the file probably won’t matter much as most ereaders have a way to jump directly to the Table of Contents without having to hunt for it.

An Example of a Table of Contents in OpenOffice

Once a Table of Contents is created it is static. That means it won’t change unless you tell it to change.  It is always a good idea to right click on your Table of Contents section before saving your document and selecting the Update Index/Table option.  That will make sure your Table of Contents knows about any changes you made recently.


If you realize you need to change something about the Table of Contents, you can right click on it and select Edit Index/Table and you’ll be taken back to the Index/Table maintenance screen.