What Is a Table of Contents

Glossary > Table of Contents

💬 Definition of Table of Contents:

A table of contents (TOC) lists the chapters, sections, or other major divisions of a written work, along with their respective page numbers. It typically appears at the beginning of a book or document after the title and copyright pages, and it outlines the sections contained in the book and the order in which they appear.

Related questions about a table of contents:

What is the purpose of a table of contents?

A table of contents:

  • Gives readers an overview of the book. A well-organized and detailed table of contents can help readers quickly locate and navigate to the information they need, saving them time and effort in finding the relevant sections or chapters.
  • Guides the readers. If readers wish to read a particular section or chapter, they can look at the table of contents and jump to that page.
  • Organizes the content. A table of contents organizes the entire book, giving a sense of order to the reader.

What does a table of contents include?

A table of contents typically includes the following elements:

  • List of chapter or section titles: These are the main parts of the work, usually organized in a hierarchical order. In a book, the main sections can be numbered chapters, while in a report, they might be titled sections.
  • Page numbers: Each chapter or section title has a respective page number where it can be found in the book.
  • Subheadings: In longer works, the main sections can be divided into subheadings, along with their page numbers.
  • Appendices or supplementary material: If the work includes appendices or other supplementary material, these may be listed in the table of contents, along with their page numbers.
  • List of figures, tables, or other graphics: In works with multiple graphics, authors can create a separate list that contains these figures, tables, or graphics and their corresponding page numbers.

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