Tables of Contents

Let us begin with a case study. (Understanding how this is done in Word will be of great benefit in producing braille tables of contents.)

In a real life transcription example, we had an users manual for a music product which ran into around 342 pages. Not one Style had been used - it was all plain text - and was specifically written for visually impaired and blind users of the product. Needless to say, navigation with a screen reader was virtually impossible.

Ironically, it did include a Table of Contents of 568 entries, and that had actually been MANUALLY created, a process which took a huge amount of time and effort. Additionally, the ToC referred to print pages, and so was not really user friendly in braille.

Furthermore, you can imagine what chaos could be caused if changes needed to be made to add or remove content, thus affecting page numbering.

The first part of the exercise was therefore to apply Heading 1, 2 and 3 Styles where appropriate to the content. We did miss a few, see "Tables of Contents" on page 1.

But now we at least have a document where a screen reader user can skip quickly through the headings.

Most important, we now move our cursor to wherever we wish to insert our Table of Contents. The very start of the document is a good place!

Next we selected the "References" ribbon.

Image shows Word's References ribbon and the location of Table of Contents

When you click on the Table of Contents icon, you will see a long list of options. Go to the bottom of this list where you will find the following. Click on "Insert Table of Contents".

Image shows the Table of Contents list of Options with Insert Table of Contents... selected

This will then display the following screen. At this point we made no further changes other than to ensure that the three check boxes, Show page numbers, Right align page numbers and Use Hyperlinks instead of Page Numbers, were all checked.

Image shows the main Table of Contents dialog box.

Before you click on the OK button, you may just want to check the second hand on your watch!

The example we used to illustrate this was witnessed by 25 teachers on a course.

On a 6 year old Windows 7 laptop, the Table of contents containing 68 Chapters, 431 Heading 2's and 59 Heading 3's, and running to just over 14 A4 pages, took just EIGHT SECONDS.

Major Benefits which have nothing to do with braille at this point.

Could you even type 14 pages in 8 seconds, never mind adding accurate page numbers?

From the editor's perspective, they can extremely quickly go to any specific part of the document to edit it.

If text is added or removed, such that it will change page numbers, all that is needed is to right click anywhere in the ToC. The following will appear.

Image shows the Update Table of Contents dialog

Select the option you want, and a few seconds later, your ToC is fully up to date.

General Comments

The good thing about this process is that if you make a mistake, you can easily correct it, and update the ToC. And because you will already have links, it is quicker to get to where corrections needed to be made. We are lucky here as each chapter and sub-topic was numbered.

In our case, we had missed out applying some Heading Styles, and also had applied some wrong Heading levels.

You might wish to explore the Table of Contents dialog shown above. For example, the Options button brings up the following dialog which allows you to select what styles appear in your ToC. Similarly the Modify button allows you to change the appearance of the Styles in the TOC.

Image shows the dialog allowing you to select what Styles you wish to appear in your Table of Contents