Scripting Saturdays: Creating a Three-Tier Table of Contents

by Matt Weilert

Again, with news that is too excited to wait a week, Scaling Time wrapped up its launch week landing top-25 standing on Amazon Kindle for our launch category!

In Scripting Saturdays we have covered productivity in weeks 1 & 3, with a macro to save your work in five places and links to Paul Beverley’s macros.

In part of week 1 & all of week 2 we covered marketing with embedded tweets, to foster community building & inspire your readers!

In this fourth week of Scripting Saturdays we cover refining your Table of Contents. While an index turns a book into a library, the other bookend to your written work is how you greet your readers: do you offer them sashimi-style overview with granularity, or do you make them guess?

Offering a detailed table of contents equips your readers to actively recommend your work, because they can find what they are looking for more readily. Our readers are our customers, they want the hole not the drill.

Here is how to build a sashimi-style hole for your book, with a compound metaphor that makes English majors ill just reading it! (No extra charge…)

Steps to Table of Contents Success

  • Apply heading styles 1, 2 & 3 to your text as appropriate.
    • If using decorative text or numbers only for your chapter titles, insert the text to appear in your Table of Contents with TC fields.
  • Set the tabs for ToC styles 2 & 3.
  • Generate the Table of Contents with the menu, then reveal codes and correct it: type the field elements directly, then update, choose entire table.

That’s all there is to it! There is a long way and a short way. For background, read the long way as well described by Shauna Kelly while Suzanne Barnhill identifies key Table of Contents switches. We will not cover the initial step of applying styles to text, as Shauna does such a great job.

TC fields

If you use just a number or other decorative elements for your chapter introductions or markings, TC fields insert text into your Table of Contents that does not appear in your narrative itself. In Scaling Time, we have an episode guide separate from the ToC, but TC fields would allow these to be integrated.

Scripting Saturday 3-tier table of contents tc-fields tier 1

Setting tabs

scripting saturday 3-tier table of contents, menu

3-tier-table-contents-tier-3-tab (highlighted)


That sets up the framework to accept your text. Creating the Table of Contents itself is deceptively easy with a systems thinking perspective.

Generating the Table of Contents

This is very different than all the mouse clicking most tutorials advise. With your text marked and your tabs set, generating the actual table is easy-peasy. When you reveal codes on an existing Table of Contents, this is one example of what you might see:

toggle field codes to see the Word syntax for generating the Table of Contents


Read Suzanne’s notes on table fields thoroughly, as it is the only way that I personally have been able to consistently get the results our in-house style guide calls for. Once you insert the menu-driven table of contents, you may see lots of nonsense, as we typically do. Not to worry! Use alt-F9, to reveal the ToC syntax: it says TOC \o “1-3” \h \z \u which is far from the results we want. We are smarter than the bear, so we use Suzanne’s guide and directly edit the field code to read TOC \o “2-3” \f, then update fields (WinOS right-click), and choose “update entire table” to regenerate the ToC with the corrected syntax.

Scripting Saturday 3-tier table of contents result


That’s all for this week!

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