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Creating an Active Table of Contents on a Mac

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Initial post: Mar 18, 2012 8:48:21 AM PDT
Autumn Birt says:
I've been struggling with creating an Active Table of Contents on a book for uploading to the Kindle store. I'm using Word (on a Mac) and the Table of Contents works in Word (click on the title and go to that chapter in the book). But it doesn't come through when I upload.

Does anyone have any ideas? Is it because my version of Word is a Mac version? Should I try html (tremble in fear)?

Posted on Mar 18, 2012 10:26:21 AM PDT
If you are using the Preview function to test your TOC links, they won't work at all, even if your coding is correct. Nothing works in Preview.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 18, 2012 10:46:06 AM PDT
Autumn Birt says:
Hi Frank,

I had guessed that and went ahead with the upload, but the TOC still didn't become active. That had me stumped. I just uploaded a new version without a TOC as I'd rather not have one than have one that didn't function. But I'd really like to get it to work!

If it works in Word and you upload a .doc file, the TOC then usually works when the book goes live?

Posted on Mar 18, 2012 11:59:45 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 18, 2012 11:59:54 AM PDT
I use HTML, so I'm not the best person to advise you. But I'd say yes, it should work when the book goes live. I just know hyperlinks, internal or external, don't work in preview.

Issues like this one are why I use HTML on my self-pubbed stuff. Wish I could be more help! Maybe try the Meet Our Authors forum, and see if any of them know?

Posted on Mar 19, 2012 10:26:14 AM PDT

Posted on Mar 19, 2012 10:33:31 AM PDT
reshuffling the deck

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 19, 2012 11:01:32 AM PDT
Autumn Birt says:
Thanks! I'm sure there is a guru out there to solve this problem. I did post over in the Meet Our Author's forum and got a good link with a few theoretical Mac suggestions (along with the PC users version). A few more ideas to try . . . !

Posted on Mar 21, 2012 2:14:41 PM PDT
DGFRowntree says:
You are doing better than I am anyway, Autumn Birt. I have created a nice-looking TOC in Word 2004 for Mac and sent it to my own Kindle in both .doc and htm form. Trouble is, it's NOT active -- no lines underneath the chapter titles and clicking on them does not take you to the chapters. Can you please tell me how to get to the stage where I have your problem instead of mine!

Posted on Mar 21, 2012 2:31:00 PM PDT
I don't know if this applies to Mac or not--I did mine on PC--but this document provides a wealth of information on book formatting, TOC, and basically everything you need. Hope it helps!

PS--I don't think you can get the TOC working by just uploading a word document. Too bad it has to be so complicated!

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 21, 2012 4:39:57 PM PDT
Autumn Birt says:
I've had that problem! I don't know if it is caused by the same issue as yours, Derek, but this is what I did.

First you should have your hidden formatting turned on so that it is visible. In pages it is called making your invisibles visible. Next you want to make sure that the chapter heading or numbers that you want to be in the TOC are not under the Normal formatting. Instead select the text you want to have in the TOC and change the formatting to one of the Heading options.

The next part has to be done in Word I believe. One of the Insert options in Word is to insert s TOC. make sure the Heading number you used is one of the ones on the pop-up menu (I used #4 which wasn't listed and it took me hours to figure out why it wsn't working). Just hit the OK once you are sure your Heading option is there and let it do it's thing. Viola, you should have an active TOC!

I think Jason below is right. Just uploading a Word file won't give you an active TOC. Another person on the Meet your Author Forum gave me this link:

It doesn't have all the answers (as I can't get mobi to run on my Mac) but does point out that you need to zip all the files that Windows for Mac spits out and send THAT up to the site. I think. This is where I'm having problems! It also gives tips on manually making a TOC using the bookmark function. I wonder if there is an easier way to test all this out without uploading s book and letting it go live?

I hope this helps. I used a Smashwords Guide to get me started and it helped a lot more that the Kindle info. Good luck!

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 23, 2012 1:10:54 PM PDT
AmeliaAT says:
Someone recently had a How to Format book out for Word users. I don't use Word for anything unless I'm forced to (I am a long-time WordPerfect user because you actually have control over everything, and the html copy it produces when it converts is really good, keeps the active toc, and only requires a few tweaks), but I did look over the little book, and it seemed like it would be very helpful to anyone who uses Word. The instructions were very clear and would be easy to follow.

Do It Yourself: Format a Simple MS Word Document for Kindle [article length]

It was free when I looked at it, but it's still only .99.

Posted on Mar 24, 2012 1:58:01 PM PDT
DGFRowntree says:
Many thanks, Autumn Birt, for your helpful explanation. Following your advice I managed to create a really nice-looking nested Contents Page. However, the items in it still aren't underlined and still don't link to the text after I have emailed it to my Kindle. That is, it is still not what I understand to be active.

Perhaps, as you suggest, it needs to go through a further conversion -- perhaps via Calibre for us Mac-users. I'll try that next unless anyone else advises a simpler approach.

Thanks also for the text you mentioned, It looks interesting, as does the one suggested by AmeliaAT -- thanks for that Amelia. I'll check out the both of them.

All the best in our common struggle!

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 24, 2012 2:10:22 PM PDT
Autumn Birt says:
Congratulations Derek! You are now stuck where I am. :)

I'm thinking the next step may be as simple as saving the manuscript as an HTML file - which will result in at least two files, zipping them, and then uploading the zipped file to Kindle. Supposedly, that may work. I'll let you know how it goes (it may be a week or so).

Otherwise, I found an archaic PC with an up to date enough platform to run MobiPocket. That is Plan B.

I'm really happy the instructions helped. If you solve the next step and actually make an Active TOC all the way to Kindle please let me know how you did it!

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 24, 2012 4:30:12 PM PDT
AmeliaAT says:
I like calibre, myself, but it does require some learning, and it's best if you start with an html file. Then if things look wonky, you can go into the html file, find the wonky spot, and see if can see some funny code that is (or isn't) there.

I also found this guide, which looks a bit more detailed: Simple eBook Formatting for the Technophobic Author. It's 2.99, so a bit pricier than the other one.

Posted on Mar 25, 2012 7:50:00 AM PDT
DGFRowntree says:
Thank you both for those comments, Autumn Birt and AmeliaAT.
I have tried emailing my document with TOC in BOTH .doc and html to my Kindle but in neither case does the TOC become active. (Nor is it possible to go from chapter start to chapter start using the central controller. Have you managed to make this work for you, Amelia?

In another Kindle thread someone (mrlasers) suggests that one way to create an active TOC is to "manually insert bookmarks at the beginning of each chapter and then build the table of contents by inserting hyperlinks."

I think I see how to begin on this. Put the cursor to the left of the chapter title and (in Word) click Bookmark from the Insert menu. This brings up a dialogue box suggesting a bookmark name of TOC, but I'm not sure what to do with it.

And then how does one insert hyperlinks to build up the table of contents?

I've said so in response on the other thread but no one has yet said how to insert the hyperlinks. Maybe someone here has some idea?

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 25, 2012 9:03:32 AM PDT
AmeliaAT says:
There should be an "insert hyperlink" command somewhere -- under Tools, if that still exists in Word-whatever-version-is-out-now! -- be sure you highlight the chapter title that you want to be hyperlinked.

There is actually a ToC builder in Word, but I haven't used it in years. If you click your "Help" in Word, you should be able to search for "table of contents" and get instructions.

Do It Yourself: Format a Simple MS Word Document for Kindle [article length] has instructions for how to use Word to create your ToC, I believe. (It's gone up from .99 to 1.09 since the last time I posted this link.) Her instructions are very clear and take you step-by-step through the entire process. I really think that if you're relying on Word to format your Kindle book and you aren't already a Word wiz, then this book could be very helpful to you. (I don't know the author at all & get zilch from recommending it; it just looks useful for anyone who is floundering and needs some help. She also gives instructions that will keep your paragraphs properly formatted -- I recently stopped reading a book where the dialogue was frequently fully indented, looking like it was blockquoted, because the formatting was so annoying to read. I think that the author's method of formatting your Word doc avoids having that funky formatting creep in.)

Posted on Mar 25, 2012 10:19:56 AM PDT
DGFRowntree says:
Thanks Amelia. I have actually been using the TOC builder in Word (at Autumn Birt's suggestion) and it seems to do a good job. I just can't get the result to go active! I'll now try looking for the hyperlink command you think is lurking in there somewhere/

Posted on Mar 25, 2012 1:11:26 PM PDT
DGFRowntree says:
Two steps forward and one step back to standing in the same place!
Following advice given in the article Amelia suggested, I have now managed to insert a bookmark at the beginning of each of my chapters and a hyperlink to it from the title of each relevant item in my TOC -- AND all these TOC outlines are now underlined when I send the document to my Kindle.

Unfortunately, when I click on one of the TOC items it does not take me to the relevant chapter. Instead, it thinks I want the dictionary to define a word for me!

Ah well, that's enough frustration for one day. I'll put off the next dose until tomorrow.

Posted on Mar 25, 2012 3:54:48 PM PDT
Autumn Birt says:
Sounds like a good idea, Derek. I know I'm leaving solving the active TOC problem till later this week.

You said you tried uploading an HTML file ang that still didn't do the trick? I was really hoping that would work. :(

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 25, 2012 4:27:07 PM PDT
AmeliaAT says:
If you upload an html file, you need to be sure that you've tagged the chapter headings correctly -- many people simply use either h2 or h3 tags on them, and that seems to work. (It does in calibre if you set it up to recognise chapters at h2 or h3.)

If you want to see how chapters work in an html file, find a DRM-free book that has a functioning ToC and have calibre convert it to html for you. (It zips the html file, but it's easy to unzip & look at it.)

Also, remember that the active ToC that you put into your document is *not* the same ToC that the Kindle goes to from the "go to" menu. A book can have both, either, or neither.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 26, 2012 3:53:17 AM PDT
Autumn Birt says:
Thanks for the tips Amelia. The Kindle 'go to' from the menu that you mentioned (and isn't the active TOC), is that the NCX file? How is that created? (me, automatically?) I ad an error when I uploaded that I didn't have that file and I've seen it mentioned in a few places but I can't seem to find anything on when and how it gets created. That was going to be my next problem to solve (if it wasn't by the process I'm going through now!).

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 26, 2012 7:52:44 AM PDT
AmeliaAT says:
If you have your book marked up correctly, it should be created automatically by whatever conversion software you use (calibre, Mobipocket, Kindlegen, or the Amazon upload on KDP). I convert html to mobi, and for the one "real" book (i.e., Amazon book) I've done, I uploaded the mobi to Amazon. The active ToC (from the "go to" menu, which is the preferred ToC for users) was already in the mobi, and it remained active after the upload. In addition, readers can use the 5-way controller to navigate from chapter to chapter, which is nice.

Posted on Mar 26, 2012 8:43:11 AM PDT
DGFRowntree says:
Hi folks - I've made a significant step forward. I have now emailed a .doc version of my book to my Kindle and it has given me a TOC with all ten chapter titles underlined and they each do take me to the chapter I intended. Active at last!

To achieve this I followed the advice given in the Smashwords Guide that Autumn Birt recommends above. (The most crucial advice was NOT to let Word create the TOC automatically.)

However, I have not yet worked out how to enable the 5-way controller to let the reader flit from one chapter start to another. Like Autumn Birt, I'm assuming that's down to the NCX file and I see there's a fair bit about it in the Smashwords book so I'll go and examine it more closely.

But first, I think I'll hold off for an hour or so while I bask in the rare satisfaction of having won a skirmish in this continuing battle!

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 26, 2012 8:53:58 AM PDT
Autumn Birt says:
Congrats Derek! I'm very envious. :)

So if you did NOT let Word automatically create the TOC, did you achieve victory via using the insert bookmark method? If not, what did you do?

I'm still hoping to try Mobi with a html file since I found a 10 year old PC laptop (boy those things weigh a ton!) that has an updated Microsoft OS good enough to run Mobi. Cheating as far as figuring it out with a Mac, but I just want the thing to work!

But if you get it to work Derek, I may follow your route yet!

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 26, 2012 12:56:27 PM PDT
DGFRowntree says:
Thanks for the congrats, Autumn Birt. Little by little we're getting there, I hope.

I'll tell you how I did it. I did it with Word for Mac 2000. Whether it will work the same way with whichever version of Word you have I can't say. One thing that I would say is that it is pretty important to keep your formatting marks showing (especially paragraph marks) so that you can see what you are doing.

Here is what I did:

1. I typed out the Contents Page -- Chapter 1, Chapter 2, etc (though I guess you could use any phrase you like for each item).

2. I went through the document and for each of the Chapters I wanted to link to and inserted a bookmark before each Chapter heading, naming the bookmark Chapter1, Chapter2. and so on -- (you're not allowed to have spaces in the names apparently).

3. Then I went back to my Contents page, highlighted each item in turn and clicked Hyperlink (in the Insert menu). This throws up a dialogue box in which I first click on the word 'Document'. Then I click on 'Locate...' This throws up a second box which gives me a choice of clicking on 'Top of the Document', 'Headings' or one of a pull-down menu of 'Bookmarks' (which are the names I gave them in Step 2). So I click on the bookmark I want to link to from each item in turn on the Contents list and click OK in this second box. This leads to the name I've given the bookmark being filled in on the 'Anchor' slot (alongside 'Locate') and I cn click OK on the original box.

4. Then I go back to my Contents list to find that each item in the list is now coloured and clicking on it will take me to the relevant chapter or preface or afterword or whatever else I've specified. I also find that I can now alter or add to the wording in these items (providing I remain within the paragraph mark.)

5. I then saved the document as a .doc file and emailed it as an attachment to my Kindle (with the subject 'Convert') using my send-to-kindle email address. (I haven't yet tried saving and sending as an html document, but I notice that the Smashwords author advises against it, though he is not aiming exclusively at Kindle publication.)

So, why not give it a try and do let me know how you get on.
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Discussion in:  Kindle Book forum
Participants:  16
Total posts:  47
Initial post:  Mar 18, 2012
Latest post:  Mar 8, 2013

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