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Table of contents: what is it? Example of a table of contents for a book

During his life, almost every person regularly reads those or other books - this can be both artistic and journalistic, scientific or any other literature. However, do we often think about the parts from which the book apparatus is composed directly? For example, does anyone know for sure what a table of contents is, why it is needed, and what features does it have? It's time to find out more about what seems to be so familiar to every and every book element!

What is the table of contents: the meaning of the term

According to the explanatory dictionaries, the table of contents is a list of the individual parts of the book, its chapters, sections, paragraphs, etc., placed before or after the main text, at the end of the publication, and usually accompanied by an indication of the page where each particular part begins. In other words, the table of contents of a book is a structure of the inner construction of a literary work, and, being a compositional, it has, similarly to content, a number of specific features.

Features of the technical layout of tables of contents

So, now that such a table of contents is considered clarified. However, it should be understood that with the introduction of mechanization, the process of creating a table of contents as an integral book element has become more complicated; It is not enough just to compile the usual enumeration of all sections - they must meet certain established criteria. So, the table of contents can be created with the help of fonts of the most variable forms, with the use of indents of the desired size and braces, with the alignment of rows of strokes and digits of numbers in the pages that separate the end of the text with the name of each item from the corresponding figure. At the same time, the contents as well as content (in technical terminology, these concepts sometimes replace one another and are identified), is always recruited from the descent, occupies or incomplete band when it needs to be placed along the optical center, or a series of bands. The table of contents refers to the category of additional texts. Like any clarification, explanations, examples, articles, minor and auxiliary materials, it, unlike the main text, is printed in the font of the lowered pin, but of the same headset (only in some cases - different).


The contents of a book belonging to the category of scientific, educational or technical literature are usually placed at the beginning of the publication after the title (for example, an epigraph placed on a separate strip, if available) from an odd strip. At the end of the publication, the table of contents can be placed on any page, and after it only the output should follow. A similar arrangement of the table of contents of the book is characteristic, for example, for fiction, where even the title of the chapter can play the role of a spoiler. This modern term refers to a situation where important information is prematurely disclosed, which leads to the destruction of intrigue and a reduction in the overall impression of what has been read (viewed, played, because the word is characteristic not only for the field of literature).

Spoilers in books and actual table of contents

A typical example of a spoiler, even entered into anecdotes, is the name of the murderer in a literary detective, namely the phrase "Murderer is a gardener". Here is an example of the table of contents of a book containing a spoiler: "Chapter X, in which Harry kills Jane." It is obvious that the placement of such a listing of sections at the very beginning of the work will create in advance the reader some ideas about the course of the plot, deprive reading the atmosphere of unpredictability, which is what fans often expect from fiction. In general, the resolution of the questions "How to make a table of contents?" And "Where should I put it?" Individually. The choice is left for publishers.

Table of contents as an introduction to journals

In journal periodicals the table of contents is often placed on the back of the first (title) page, on the title page under the head name (cap), and also on the 2nd or 3rd pages of the cover. In recent times, cases have become more frequent when the table of contents is located on a narrow inset preceding the 1 st strip; In these cases it can be printed without a descent.

Problems that help to solve the table of contents

The question of what a table of contents is and how it is composed by knowledgeable people, make-up artists, can be considered closed. However, the section on how to perform what functions provides a table of contents and how it helps a person in practical terms remains relevant. Here everything, at first sight, is obvious, but on closer examination it is not so simple. The table of contents performs as many as 3 functions:

  1. Reference and search. The table of contents helps the reader to speed up and simplify the search for key parts of the book (parts, chapters, sections, rubrics, stories, articles, notes, applications, etc.);
  2. Advertising and propaganda. The table of contents serves as an enticing element that enhances interest in the material viewed. It is this that reveals the desire to read the contents, which is especially important for publications that aim to gain recognition of the audience;
  3. Information-explanatory. The table of contents gives the person a general idea of the thematic content and composition of a particular book unit, the structural structure of one or several works (it becomes possible to establish the subject of the examination, the topics covered and their links with each other). This is important both for the perception and understanding of the text, that is, for its selective study, and in order to refresh the reader's knowledge and restore the person already read in memory when the process for some reason was interrupted.

How to make the content in Word itself simple and fast? Preparation

Today, the task of constructing a competent and integral table of contents often arises in front of very different categories of people: students who need to submit lectures, abstracts, term papers and projects to teachers, employees of organizations that regularly compose reports, in fact, before modern writers who have already moved from printed Machines for electronic text editors. Therefore, the ability to make a table of contents is a necessary skill that you can learn right now!

Before you begin to design a table of contents, you must create the source code and highlight the key sections in it using headings styles. Subjects can differ in levels: for example, in the course work, the chapter will refer to the heading of the 1st level, and its paragraphs to the headings of the 2nd (smaller) level. In the "Home" menu, you should find the "Styles" tab and set the header type corresponding to its level for each heading.

Creation: the finished table of contents is collected in a few clicks

After this way all the points of the future table of contents will be highlighted, you need to click in the place where you want to place it. Traditionally, this is a separate blank page after the title page, but, as already mentioned, you can put the table of contents at the end of the text. Then, in the "Link" menu (the "Indexes and Tables" tab), you need to click on the arrow below the "Table of Contents" item and select its desired style view. After clicking the mouse, the table of contents will be collected automatically in the place where you left the printed cursor, from those sections that were previously marked with the header levels and with the numbers of those pages that correspond to them.

If everything was done correctly, a mouse click on one or another heading of the table of contents will ensure a quick transition to it; Moving the slider in search of the required partition is no longer needed. Sometimes there is a need to update the entire table of contents created, or separately the page numbers, if some corrections were made after the creation. To do this, just right-click on the already existing option and select the item "Update".

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