How to Add Dots in Table of Contents Google Docs: A Step-by-Step Guide

If you’ve ever struggled to make your table of contents in Google Docs look more professional, adding dot leaders (those dots that lead from the chapter title to the page number) can be a game-changer. It’s a simple process that makes your document easier to read and more polished. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you add dots in your table of contents in Google Docs.

How to Add Dots in Table of Contents Google Docs

In this section, you’ll learn how to add dot leaders to your table of contents in Google Docs. These dots make it easier for readers to follow the title to the page number. Let’s break it down step by step.

Step 1: Open Your Google Doc

Open the Google Doc that contains your table of contents.

First things first, you need to have your document open. If it’s not already open, go ahead and open the one with the table of contents you want to modify.

Step 2: Highlight the Table of Contents

Highlight the entire table of contents.

Click and drag your mouse over the table of contents to highlight all the text. This will ensure that the formatting changes apply to the entire table.

Step 3: Click on "Format"

Navigate to the Format menu.

At the top of your screen, you’ll see a menu bar. Click on "Format" to open a dropdown menu. This menu contains various formatting options for your document.

Step 4: Select "Paragraph Styles"

From the Format dropdown, select "Paragraph styles."

In the Format menu, hover over "Paragraph styles." This will open another submenu. You’ll need to use paragraph styles to apply the dot leaders.

Step 5: Choose "Borders and Shading"

In the Paragraph styles submenu, click on "Borders and shading."

This option allows you to customize the borders and shading of your text, including adding dot leaders.

Step 6: Set Dot Leaders

In the Borders and Shading window, look for "Dot leaders" and enable it.

In the Borders and Shading window, you’ll find an option for “Dot leaders” or something similar. Enable this option, then click "Apply" or "OK" to finalize the changes.

After you follow these steps, your table of contents will have dot leaders connecting the section titles to the page numbers. This small tweak can make a big difference in the readability and professionalism of your document.

Tips for Adding Dots in Table of Contents Google Docs

  • Use Styles Consistently: Ensure that all headings and table of contents entries use the same style for a uniform look.
  • Proofread: Always double-check your table of contents for accuracy after making any changes.
  • Update Automatically: Use Google Docs’ auto-update feature for the table of contents to keep it current as you make edits.
  • Keep It Simple: Don’t overcomplicate the formatting; simple dot leaders often look the best.
  • Preview Before Finalizing: Always preview your document before finalizing it to ensure the dots look good and align properly.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are dot leaders?

Dot leaders are a series of dots that lead the reader’s eye from the section title to the page number in a table of contents.

Why use dot leaders?

Dot leaders improve readability and give your table of contents a more polished, professional look.

Can I add dot leaders manually?

Yes, you can manually add dot leaders by typing periods, but using automated features is more efficient and consistent.

What if my table of contents doesn’t update?

If the table of contents doesn’t update, click on it and select the refresh icon to update it automatically.

Are there other formatting options?

Yes, Google Docs offers a variety of formatting options like different fonts, colors, and sizes to customize your table of contents.


  1. Open your Google Doc.
  2. Highlight the table of contents.
  3. Click on "Format."
  4. Select "Paragraph styles."
  5. Choose "Borders and shading."
  6. Set dot leaders.


Adding dots in the table of contents in Google Docs is a straightforward process that can significantly enhance the look and readability of your document. By following the steps outlined above, you can easily add dot leaders, making your table of contents more organized and professional. Don’t forget to use consistent styles and regularly update your table of contents to reflect any changes in your document.

Feel free to explore other formatting features in Google Docs to make your document as polished as possible. For further reading, check out Google Docs’ Help Center or online tutorials for more advanced tips and tricks. Happy formatting!