Another Way to Make a Table of Contents for Kindle

An author emailed me to say that the previous post on how to make a linked table of contents for Kindle didn’t work for her. I don’t know if it depends on what version of Word you use, or even what mood Amazon is in when you submit, but here is an alternate method. Microsoft has taken a stab at telling you how to do it, and you can try their directions, or you can see what kind of mess I can make.

If you’re familiar with styles, this may be easier for you than the last one was. (To see the images bigger, click on them)

Open your document and scroll to the place where you want your table of contents to go. Depending on what style you choose (we’ll get there in a moment) You may want to type in your “Table of Contents” heading, or not.

Choose the References tab:


Click on the Table of Contents to get a drop down box. There are some pre-styled ones to choose from (this is what I meant about depending on what you chose, as you’ll notice they all have a “contents” heading) I just chose “insert table of contents”


If you choose that, too, you’ll get a pop up where you can set some things. you want to make sure that show page numbers is UNCHECKED. If you use the drop down box you can choose some different styles, but for the ebook I’d just go with from template and forget it


You’ll get a pop up. Just click ok.


If you haven’t used any Headings when you formatted you’ll get this error:


Don’t worry, we’re going to fix that. (If you have headings already, you should see your chapters neatly listed. you’re done. Yay you!)

First we want to prepare our headings by adjusting our style. This is easier than it sounds. On the Home tab choose the Heading 1 style and RIGHT click on it. A menu pops down. Choose Modify.

(yours will look different than this because I have some custom styles saved)


This gives you another pop up. here you can adjust the font style, size, etc. You can center your headings (I usually don’t for ebooks). Once you’re done, you may want to click the format button for further tweaking


I’m going to go ahead and make some adjustments to the paragraph aspect



When you’re done hit OK until all the boxes go away.

Now we need to make those chapter titles into headings! Find your chapter heading, highlight it and choose “heading 1” from the style box on the home tab:


If your navigation pane is open you’ll see your chapter suddenly appear in it. if it isn’t open or you have no idea what I’m talking about don’t worry about it.

Repeat the last step for the rest of your chapters  including introductions, prologues, conclusions, etc. (I’m only doing six for the purpose of the demonstration)

When you’re done go back to the references tab and click “Update Table”


And – magically – they appear


The difference between this and the other method? As you can see they don’t LOOK hyperlinked; no blue font or underline, but if you hover over them you have the option to click them:


I admit, I don’t know if this method will work for Smashwords formatting, too, as I have never tried it with them (I use the previous method for them). If anyone else has, I’d be interested to know.

*EDIT* be sure to set your Table of Contents and any headings with AUTOMATIC for the text color or you’ll get a nasty notice from Amazon that your color is not readable. Sorry, forgot to mention that earlier 😉

If this method still does not work for you, or if you have another method, please let us know!



  1. dm yates says:

    Um, microsoft takes a stab at us all. I got mine to work based on your first post, but you’re right it could depend on the microsoft version you use. I’ve found that very little of what microsoft offters works for authors.

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