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I want to create a table of contents in a Google Docs document where the page numbers are automatically referenced.

Is it possible to put page numbers in a table of contents like this?

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3 Answers 3

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I just found a possible work-around for the original question. It isn't elegant, but it may work.

In each of your section headings (ie, in the text, which are then used to generate the TOC automatically), add a tab and the page number. You have to type in the page number manually, and I'm pretty sure it doesn't pay to get too fancy with placement, adjusting tab stops, etc.

Now, if you refresh the TOC, you get the page number separated from the heading by a tab. (When I tried to adjust the tab stops in the TOC, I got various errors.)

If you don't want the page numbers to appear next to the headings in the body of the document, highlight them there and change the text color to the background color of the document (usually white). The numbers are still there, and will still show up in the TOC, but you can't see them elsewhere.

Unfortunately, the page numbers won't flow as you edit the document, so do this just before final publication.

Again, not elegant -- not in appearance or in process -- but if you must have physical page numbers in a printed document, it should do the trick.

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The recent (5 Oct 2016) update of Google Documents now include that feature. To insert a table of contents with page numbers,

... simply select the numbered option when inserting a table of contents from the Insert menu.

https://gsuiteupdates.googleblog.com/2016/10/page-numbers-now-in-table-of-contents.html

Screenshot of Google Docs Insert menu

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5

Google Docs support says:

  1. Go to the Format menu and select Paragraph styles to add headings to sections of your document. There are six different heading sizes to choose from.
  2. Place your cursor where you'd like to insert the table of contents.
  3. Go to the Insert menu, and select Table of contents.
  4. If you need to move the table of contents, select it as you would select text and either move it with your cursor or cut it and paste it.
  5. You can continue to add headings to your document or change current headings. However, if you'd like a change to become part of the table of contents, you need to click first the table and then the Refresh button.

I think the way the table of contents "refreshes" as described in Step 5 is the automatic referencing you're referring to. Let us know if this does what you want.


I misunderstood the question before - we're talking about adding page numbers within the table of contents, not just having the table of contents auto-refresh. My bad. It looks like that particular feature is no longer supported in the new version of Google Docs, though there is a lot of support for the idea of bringing it back. As far as I can tell there's been no word from Google themselves on the subject.

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  • 1
    What if (Most likely) you have to show a printout copy. Embedded links are of no use in that case.
    – user18744
    Apr 4, 2012 at 12:40

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