In this tutorial, you'll learn how to create a table of contents in Affinity Publisher. We'll use a simple table of contents example and walk through how to insert a table of contents that Affinity Publisher can generate for us.
What You'll Learn
- How to create a table of contents in Affinity Publisher
- How to insert a table of contents in a new or existing design
- How to update and style your table of contents
What You'll Need
To follow this tutorial, you'll need to work with a multi-page document in Affinity Publisher. You can either create one from scratch or use an existing document, like this one:
We'll walk through some ways you could customize and add a table of contents to a design like this one later in the tutorial. If you'd prefer to keep it simple, that's OK too! Choose whichever option you prefer as you follow along.
How to Create a Table of Contents in Affinity Publisher
So, you're working in Affinity Publisher. "Add table of contents" is likely on your to-do list, if you're working on a multi-page document. But where do you start?
First, let's take a moment to describe what your Affinity Publisher document needs in order to generate a dynamic table of contents.
- Multiple pages. To have Affinity Publisher generate a table of contents for us, we'll need the actual contents that go into said table of contents. This can be placeholder content, if you like. You can always add additional pages after you've created your table of contents.
- Headers. Your work will need some kind of title, header, or other text style which will act as the "bookmark" in your table of contents. We'll walk through the functionality of this, but you'll need to keep it in mind when designing a multipage document.
If you don't have multiple pages and you don't have a text style defined for your table of contents, Affinity Publisher won't have what it needs to render that content for us.
As a table of contents example, here's a quick tour of the basic design we'll use. It's a simple cookbook layout design that primarily relies on two-page spreads for each recipe:
In addition, the initial two spreads are dedicated to an introduction and the table of contents. They're blank for now.
It's also a great idea to take advantage of Master Pages. In the case of this design, I've used Master Pages to design a spread, so all the recipes in this cookbook design have a matching layout. You can find your Master Pages at the top of the Pages panel.
Each recipe has a title, or header. This header will be used in our table of contents.
To begin building our table of contents, let's open up the Text Styles panel. You can open this panel by going to Window > Text > Text Styles.
Next, we'll need to define a text style for our table of contents headings.
Here, looking at my Master Pages, I'll select my header. I've already chosen the font and font size that I like for this part of my design. So I'd like the Text Style "Header 1" to copy these traits.
Then, right-click on PC or Control-click on Mac on the Header 1 style in the Text Styles panel.
Choose Update Heading 1. This will make Heading 1 look like the style we selected.
Next, with the header text still selected, select Header 1 in the Text Styles panel.
Now, this part of my Master Pages—the header, or title of each recipe—is defined as Header 1.
Now, let's create a basic table of contents example using what we've made.
Looking at the Pages panel, make sure you have multiple pages in your document. Again, I'm using my Master Page spread that I created—every left page has a header (Header 1, which we created earlier). This is what our Affinity Publisher table of contents will use as "bookmarks" when rendering our table of contents for us.
Here's a look at my document's pages. I have created enough space for five different recipes:
Next, go to the page in your document where you'd like to have your table of contents.
Select the Frame Text Tool in your Tools panel. Then, click and drag to draw a Text Frame—this frame will contain your table of contents. Make it the size that you'd prefer.
Now, we'll have to open the Table of Contents panel. You can open it by going to Window > References > Table of Contents.
Make sure the Text Frame you created for your table of contents is active and selected.
Then, click on the Insert button in your Table of Contents panel. This will automatically insert our table of contents, using our headers as its reference point.
So we've got the basic functionality here—the headers and the corresponding page numbers—but it's very simple right now, and it's only using placeholder content.
Let's start by customizing the table of contents items themselves. For example, I'll jump to the second recipe in my cookbook design. I'll change the header here to say "Chocolate Cake".
This is one of the benefits of using a Master Page. I don't have to individually change each recipe title to work with my table of contents—they are all set to Header 1, by default. This includes new spreads I add to my document, too!
When I return to my table of contents, nothing has changed yet.
Turn to the Table of Contents panel. All we need to do is click on the Update All Table of Contents button. Once we do that, our table of contents will update to reflect our new headers. Simple, right?
Next, let's take a look at the Text Styles panel to style our Affinity Publisher table of contents.
With your text frame containing your table of contents selected, take a look at the Text Styles panel. You'll notice that we have both default Paragraph and Character styles here. You will notice they are TOC (or Table of Contents) specific content.
Let's test this out by editing the style "TOC 1: Heading 1 Number".
Find this character style in your Text Styles panel. Then, right-click on PC or Control-click on Mac, and choose Edit.
This brings us to the Edit Text Style dialog box, and there are lots of options we can choose here. You could change the font, the font size, the weight, and lots more.
As you make changes, you'll notice them change in your table of contents in real time. In this example, I'll choose a new font (Addington Serif Font) and make it larger.
When you're happy with your changes, just click OK to close this dialog box.
You can also change how the header and page number display in your table of contents. Affinity Publisher makes this easy from the Table of Contents panel.
Check out the Separator options. You can choose between tabs, bullets, and more. You can also choose more than one if you prefer. This will change the relationship between the header and the page number.
But what if you're working with an Affinity Publisher template, and you want to add a table of contents? What about how to insert a table of contents when our headers are different or we're working in a template that doesn't automatically generate this for us?
Let's take a quick look at some of these techniques too.
This particular template is for a magazine design—so, in this case, not every header is the same, as in our earlier demo. What can we do?
We can take the same process and apply it to individual pages. So, for example, here's the first article in this Affinity Designer magazine template. Select the header, and then assign it a style (like Header 1) in the Text Styles panel, just as we did earlier.
You can repeat this step with all articles (or other content) you'd like included in your table of contents.
Then, head to the page where you'd like your table of contents displayed. Either create a new text frame with the Frame Text Tool, or select a frame where you'd like your table of contents.
All we have to do is click the Insert button from our Table of Contents panel, with this text frame selected—then the process is the same as before. Style and adjust it in any way you like.
Notice the Style Name at the bottom of the Table of Contents panel. Here, I've selected Header 1—but you could select any style you prefer to be that "bookmark" representative for your table of contents. Keep that in mind, especially when working with a template designed by someone else.
Now You Know How to Create a Table of Contents in Affinity Publisher
Now, you can use just about any template for Affinity Publisher and add a table of contents using the techniques we covered in this walkthrough. Whether you're creating a cookbook, magazine, or portfolio, a table of contents will help keep your content organized and easy to browse. What will you create?
Looking for Design Help? Check Out These Affinity Publisher Templates
If you're looking for a shortcut to get your next Affinity Publisher design project finished faster, consider using a design template. On Envato Elements, one low price gets you access to an entire library of content, including Affinity Publisher templates, all for one low fee. It also includes stock photos, fonts, and much more!
Check out these Affinity Publisher templates you can download and customize today.
1. Affinity Publisher Multipage Template (AFPUB, AFDESIGN, INDD, IDML, DOCX, PDF)
This multipage template has 40 different pages you can mix, match, and remix. In addition to Affinity Publisher files, you get a whole host of other formats too, making this a convenient choice.
2. Affinity Publisher Portfolio Template (AFPUB, AFDESIGN, AFPHOTO, DOCX, PAGES, INDD, IDML)
Here's another beautifully designed Affinity Publisher template. It also includes a wide variety of formats for your convenience. It includes 32 different pages to work with and is completely customizable, from the copy to all of the design elements.
3. Affinity Designer Cookbook Template (AFPUB, INDD, IDML)
Check out this stylish cookbook design template for Affinity Publisher. It also includes InDesign files (did you know that Affinity Publisher can also import InDesign IDML files?). Just add your recipes to create a beautiful, finished book in a flash.
4. Affinity Publisher Photography Portfolio Template (AFPUB, INDD, IDML, PDF)
Aren't these Affinity Publisher layouts lovely? This template is a great choice for photography, whether you're creating a portfolio or showcasing some other kind of visual work. Rework it into a photo album, cookbook, or other project.
5. Affinity Publisher Catalog Template (AFPUB, AFDESIGN, AFPHOTO, DOCX, PAGES, INDD, IDML)
You can find catalog templates to download on Envato Elements too. Here's another professionally designed template for Affinity Publisher with plenty of content to work with: multiple file formats, multiple sizes, and more!
Learn More About Affinity Publisher
Want to learn even more about Affinity Publisher? Check out the free tutorials available right now on Envato Tuts+. There's no better time to keep learning than right now! Why not start up another Affinity Publisher tutorial today?
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