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How to control Table of Contents?

asked 2020-05-21 19:41:14 +0200

mowence gravatar image

updated 2020-05-31 16:46:38 +0200

ajlittoz gravatar image

I used LibreOffice to write a 300 page book with 17 chapters. I now want to create a Table of Contents, showing the headlines I used, and the program picks those up fine. I do not understand what the parameters mean that are to be chosen for the program, and I find nowhere, where I can control the width of the 5 column it is making of any input data over 3 pages. That's NOT working! Can anybody show some light over this for me? I think some specific definition of the parameters would help - the Help-section does not give any information on this, but uses some outdated references and definitions that are hopeless for guesswork.

Editing as requested: I follow all the instructions, so I did not realize I also had go describe those. I use headline 2 and 4 throughout the text. Then I click on insert. There, the Help instructions are no longer possible to follow, as the only links containing the words Table of Content is different from what the Help section says it should be... But there are no other options.

When I click on it, I looks as if I need to set up my table, There are several fan pages referred to. On the first, named Index or Table of Index, I Name my Table of Content, but don't understand the rest of that page.On the fan page "Entries", I choose "Level" to 5 and have no clue what "Structure and formatting" and "Format" means, so I leave those untouched. I understand that I need to name my table. The remaining three pages, "Styles, "background" and "columns" are beyond what I understand, but on the last I cannot change anything unless I choose more than the one column I want. I simply do not understand, as they use definitions I do not understand, and the whole thing makes little sense to me.

I use Ubuntu 16.04 and .odt. I installed the system last time here in May but use former version for 12 years.


I have no clue what "marking" means, in terms of specific action needed to be taken, but from the fact that I can generate a TOC with the correct data in it, I assume I do this OK.

And HOW do I "fiddle" with the setting? This is obviously where my problem lies. I have no problem generating a standard TOC, but I cannot use what is created, and I do not know how to modify it.

"Heading" and "headline" is the same to me. I applied "Heading 2" and "Heading 4" to all the entries I want in the TOC - and I get these presented as wanted in the TOC. I know how to generate "custom style" and how to use them, so that's not a problem.

"Tabs" or "pages" are the same to me.

I do not understand what the programs does with me specifying "Entries".

Why would I want a different ... (more)

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If you expect any reasonable answer, describe accurately what you're doing, what you're expecting and what you really get. Remember we aren't behind you watching your hand and your screen.

What is this "5 column thing"?

A TOC is made from paragraphs styled Heading n. Do you use built-in paragraph styles as they are supposed to be? (at least for the Heading n family as far as the TOC is concerned)

How do you create your TOC?

What is you LO version, and eventually your OS? Do you save as .docx or .odt?

Provide this additional information by editing your question. Make the addition separate from your question by leaving at least a blank line after it. Don't use an answer which is reserved for solutions.

ajlittoz gravatar imageajlittoz ( 2020-05-21 22:22:34 +0200 )edit

I follow all the instructions, so I did not realize I also had go describe those. I use headline 2 and 4 throughout the text. Then I click on insert. There, the Help instructions are no longer possible to follow, as the only links containing the words Table of Content is different from what the Help section says it should be... But there are no other options.

When I click on it, I looks as if I need to set up my table, There are several fan pages referred to. On the first, named Index or Table of Index, I Name my Table of Content, but don't understand the rest of that page.On the fan page "Entries", I choose "Level" to 5 and have no clue what "Structure and formatting" and "Format" means, so I leave those untouched. I understand that I need to name my table. The ...(more)

mowence gravatar imagemowence ( 2020-05-22 08:46:39 +0200 )edit

I use Ubuntu 16.04 and .odt

mowence gravatar imagemowence ( 2020-05-22 08:48:04 +0200 )edit

From your edit, you're on track: you prepared your document correctly and you got a standard TOC. Don't change Entries, nor Styles. These are advanced features and you really need to predict what will be happening.

The TOC is formatted by the Contents n family of styles. This is what you customise, should you want to change its appearance.

As shipped, they all have a tab stop at the right margin. Consequently the page number will be flushed there and there is a dotted leader line between the entry (heading) and the page number. The TOC is as wide as the page.

As many lines are allocated as needed to hold the TOC. Usually, authors want their TOC on separate pages. For that, you need a page break before the top and another one after the TOC (or rather, this is easier, before the first paragraph following the ...(more)

ajlittoz gravatar imageajlittoz ( 2020-05-22 15:01:18 +0200 )edit

HOW DO I CONTROL THE WIDTH OF THE TOC??????? It does NOT fill out a page.

What does "as shipped" mean?

mowence gravatar imagemowence ( 2020-05-22 15:39:16 +0200 )edit

"As shipped" = out-of-the-box = built-in = default configured, i.e. until you customise it.

The TOC is styled with Contents n style. Therefore, they are laid out inside the page margins. The paragraph style may itself add left and right indents, reducing the usable area between the margins (by default, indents are 0).

Unless you changed something (perhaps inadvertently), the TOC extends from margin to margin, one entry per line.

If this is not the case, attach a screenshot, so that I try to diagnose the issue.

ajlittoz gravatar imageajlittoz ( 2020-05-22 16:16:59 +0200 )edit

That's NOT the case. The width of the TOC is NOT the same as the page width. And I have no clue how to attach a screenshot - I can make one, but how to attach it?

mowence gravatar imagemowence ( 2020-05-22 16:42:51 +0200 )edit

OK - I can attach a pic to the original question - can you get that?

mowence gravatar imagemowence ( 2020-05-22 16:45:08 +0200 )edit

I have no idea what this means: "The TOC is styled with Contents n style. Therefore, they are laid out inside the page margins. The paragraph style may itself add left and right indents, reducing the usable area between the margins (by default, indents are 0)."

mowence gravatar imagemowence ( 2020-05-22 16:48:55 +0200 )edit

Writer is intended to be controlled by "formatting instructions" grouped in so-called styles (paragraph, character, frame, page, list). They control all aspects of formatting. Buttons in the toolbar, keyboard shortcuts like Ctrl+B for bold and commands from the Format menus are weak substitutes for full-fledged styles and should be used only for experimenting.

If styles sound gibberish to you, I recommend you read the Writer Guide first, notably the chapters on styles, to discover what can be done. This will give you a common vocabulary to discuss aspects of formatting and styles you seem to stumble upon.

Meanwhile, go ahead with a screenshot.

ajlittoz gravatar imageajlittoz ( 2020-05-22 16:59:33 +0200 )edit

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answered 2020-05-22 09:54:12 +0200

ajlittoz gravatar image

updated 2020-05-31 17:19:49 +0200

The default settings for TOC are pretty good. You need to fiddle with the settings only if this default is too far from what you want. But as a start, you should at least get the default TOC.

Creating a TOC is a two-step process: marking the text and inserting the TOC.

Marking step

You must tell Writer which paragraphs will end up in the TOC. You do this with styles in the Heading n family, where n=1 for the first level (usually chapter), 2 for sub-chapter, up to level 10 (I never saw any paper nequiring such a deep numbering but this is better than artificially limiting to, say, 5 levels).

Apply one of these styles to the heading paragraphs in your text.

Unless you made a typo, there is no headline x built-in paragraph style. If they are custom styles, you need to specifically configure them so that they are recognised by the TOC engine. Considering your question, I think this is yet beyond your skill.

Inserting TOC

Put the cursor where you want the TOC and Insert>Table of Contents & Index>TOC, Index or Bibliography.

The dialog opens in the Type tab and Table of Contents should be preselected. Customise the Title if you want (it is preset at "Table of Contents"). Since the default settings make common sense, push OK.

You can come back to this dialog by right-clicking in the existing TOC and Edit Index.

The other tabs (you call them pages) in this dialog are meant for customising the TOC appearance:

  • Entries describe how the heading paragraph are "converted" in the TOC

    The Structure line is a template for the TOC entry. You can format it differently per level if you feel like it by selecting a level in the Level column. Clicking on the Help button explains the meaning of the cryptic E# and others. They are associated with a button under the Structure line.

    The Entry Text and Page No. button are disables because you can insert only once the heading (E) and the page number (#) in a TOC entry.

  • Stylesallows you to change the "styling" of TOC entries

    Entries defines the contents of the entries and Styles the appearance of entries through the use of a specific paragraph style.

  • Columnssets the number of column for the TOC

    It is quite unusual to typeset TOC in multi-column because the headings (entries) are relatively wide. It is more common to do it with indexes because the entry is frequently a word or short sequence of words followed by a page number.

  • Backgroundis where you change the background of the TOC

    You may see a light gray background after you've inserted your TOC. This is not a "real" background (it does not print) but a reminder that the TOC was automatically created by Writer and is not directly editable.

Try first to get a default TOC. If you need to customise it and don't succeed ... (more)

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I have some news. But the problem still exists. I am translating this book, and was working without the front page. I would send you the first few chapters of the translation instead of the whole 350 page book, and I discovered something that gives a hint to the problem: when I made the TOC on normal width default with (standard format), the TOC came out fine, well adjusted to the page width, as seen at first. I then inserted the style for the width I want and always used, did not change anything, but let the TOC develop on this, smaller, page, and I recreated the error! Although the columns were still set at 1, the TOC now came out disported, as if it were set to 2 columns. This indicated that the error is somewhat linked to the use of the built-in style "PaperBackIndex". When I use the ...(more)

mowence gravatar imagemowence ( 2020-05-31 16:23:02 +0200 )edit

Apologies, didn't read fully your comment after discovering the attached file.

You are right, there is also a problem with page stylePaperBackIndex. Open it for modification and go to the Columns tab. It is defined as a 2-column layout with 9 cm and 3 cm respectively. Revert to 1 column and the issue is fixed. Nevertheless, read my remarks in my edited answer.

ajlittoz gravatar imageajlittoz ( 2020-05-31 17:25:46 +0200 )edit
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Asked: 2020-05-21 19:41:14 +0200

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