I would like to have the Table of Contents only include Heading 1 and not any of the others. Is there a way to set the table to contents to NOT include certain headings?


Unfortunately Google Docs does not support hiding specific heading levels.

The only "solution" would be to change the headers you want to hide to the "Normal" style, then manually set the font formatting for each heading.

The only way to avoid all headings from being added to the TOC is to manually apply the style you want rather than using the set styles. Change those headers to "Normal" style by select each one individually and pressing Ctrl + \ (Control plus the backslash key). This will remove the formatting. Then manually add the point size, font, and bolding that you want.

To easily copy formatting from one place to another, you can use the Paint Tool. So once you manually change one heading, you can use the Paint Tool to change others that are the same level heading.

- Source: Google Docs Forums: How to show only Heading 1 in table of contents

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The previous answers suggests setting the style of headers to "Normal" and manually setting their style to look like a header. If you do so, you will lose the ability to link to that header from within the document.

It looks like you can actually manually delete items from the table of contents. I think that's a simpler approach.

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  • 10
    Yet then you'll have to do this each time you update the table of content. – Royi Sep 27 '17 at 16:53
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    Also, when inserting the table of contents, the page numbers are calculated. So if your table of contents with the extra headings is moving things around, the page numbers will be wrong after deleting the extra lines. – Laura Oct 11 '17 at 19:24

What I did to solve the problem which is probably doc specific, but I was using H1 through H3, what would have been H4 I didn't want to show up in the TOC. I converted all the H4's to Subtitles, then styled Subtitles the way I wanted it.

Subtitles don't show up in the TOC.

How to convert all headings into another heading:

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  • I have to hold my nose to upvote this, because it's such a hack, but it seems there's no better alternative. Thanks @donnoman! – yoyo Feb 6 at 18:06
  • WHY Google?? WHY!!!1!11!!1one!!? – Adrian Apr 21 at 21:44

From what I can, tell this action is impossible on Google Docs, as other answers have mentioned. However, it would appear that there is another way if you have access to Microsoft Word:

Export the document into a .docx from Google Drive, which can be done when selecting what form you wish to download the document in. Then open this in Word and alter the table of contents using the following guide: https://support.office.com/en-us/article/format-or-customize-a-table-of-contents-9d85eb9c-0b55-4795-8abb-a49885b3a58d#layout

Guide Outline:

  • Select the drop down list from References>Table of Contents from the top bar.
  • Select Custom Table of Contents... from the list.
  • To change the number of levels displayed in your table of contents, click Show levels, and then click the number of levels you want.

I haven't tested this so I'll edit the answer with more feedback.

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  • The hack is to just dump google docs! Love it! – Adrian Apr 21 at 22:08

Yes, there's a workaround for this, and you can keep your heading structure.

  1. At the top of your doc, write out the text that you want to show in your table of contents. For example Chapter 1, Chapter 2
  2. Select the first phrase, and make it a hyperlink.
  3. You'll see options for the link, including selecting an existing heading.
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