How to Add Chapters in Google Docs: A Step-by-Step Guide

Adding chapters in Google Docs might seem like a daunting task, but it’s actually pretty straightforward. With a few clicks, you can organize your document into neat, clickable sections that make navigation a breeze. Ready to transform your Google Doc into a well-structured masterpiece? Let’s dive in!

Step by Step Tutorial: Adding Chapters in Google Docs

Before we jump into the steps, let’s clarify what we’re aiming to achieve. By adding chapters to your Google Docs, you’re creating a table of contents that can be used as a navigational tool for readers. This is especially helpful for lengthy documents like reports, manuscripts, or study guides.

Step 1: Use Heading Styles

Apply heading styles to the chapter titles in your document.

Google Docs uses heading styles to recognize and create chapters. To apply a heading style, simply highlight the chapter title, click on the "Styles" dropdown menu (usually set to ‘Normal text’), and select the appropriate heading level (e.g., ‘Heading 1’ for main chapters, ‘Heading 2’ for subchapters).

Step 2: Insert Table of Contents

Place your cursor where you want the table of contents to appear and insert it.

After you’ve applied heading styles to your chapter titles, click on the spot where you’d like your table of contents to go. Then, go to the ‘Insert’ menu, select ‘Table of contents,’ and choose a style (with or without links).

Step 3: Update Table of Contents

Refresh your table of contents to include new chapters or reflect changes.

As you add or modify chapters, your table of contents won’t automatically update. To refresh it, simply click on the table and hit the refresh icon that appears. This ensures that all your chapters and page numbers are up to date.

After completing these steps, you’ll have a clickable table of contents that corresponds with your chapters. This not only makes your document look more professional but also enhances its usability for readers.

Tips for Adding Chapters in Google Docs

  • Use consistent heading styles throughout your document to maintain a uniform look.
  • Remember to update the table of contents after making changes to your chapters.
  • Use ‘Heading 1’ for main chapters and ‘Heading 2’ or ‘Heading 3’ for subchapters to create a hierarchy.
  • Consider using the ‘Heading 1’ style for your document title so it appears at the top of your table of contents.
  • If you remove a chapter, don’t forget to update the table of contents to reflect the change.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I customize the look of my table of contents?

Yes, you can customize the font, size, and color of your table of contents just like any other text in your document. However, the functionality (like clickable links) will remain the same.

What if my chapter titles change after I’ve added the table of contents?

No problem! Just make sure to update your table of contents by clicking the refresh icon. It’ll adjust to reflect your chapter title changes.

Can I add chapters in Google Docs using the mobile app?

While the Google Docs mobile app has many features, adding a table of contents with chapters is best done on a desktop or laptop for optimal control.

Is there a limit to the number of chapters I can add?

No, there’s no limit. You can add as many chapters as your document requires, but keep in mind that a cluttered table of contents can be overwhelming, so use chapters judiciously.

What happens if I don’t use heading styles?

Without heading styles, Google Docs won’t be able to identify your chapters, and thus, you won’t be able to generate a table of contents. Always use heading styles for chapter titles.


  1. Apply heading styles to chapter titles.
  2. Insert a table of contents in your preferred spot.
  3. Update the table of contents as needed.


And there you have it – adding chapters in Google Docs is a breeze once you get the hang of it! By using heading styles and inserting a table of contents, you can create a document that’s not only easy to navigate but looks incredibly professional. Whether you’re crafting a novel, a business proposal, or an academic thesis, chapters will help keep your content organized and accessible. So go ahead, give it a try, and see how much of a difference chapters can make in your next Google Doc!