Creating an Interactive Table of Contents

Here are two ways to create an interactive table of contents in InDesign. By interactive, I mean that by clicking on Chapter 1 or page 11, the pdf document jumps to the beginning of Chapter 1 on page 11.


The easy way
If your document is straight-forward and you are able to auto-generate a table of contents, great! This is the easiest way to create an interactive table of contents, by letting InDesign do it for you:


  1. Once you've complete the layout and style application for your document or book in InDesign, you're ready to automatically generate a table of contents. You will need to have a paragraph style applied to the chapter titles. This style will be used create the table of contents.

  2. Click on Layout > Table of Contents to bring up the Table of Contents dialog box.

  3. Add the chapter titles paragraph styles to the left box. Select an entry style for your table of contents (you can create it later if necessary and re-generate the table of contents).

  4. Still in the Table of Contents dialog box, under Options, make sure the Create PDF Bookmarks box is checked. Click OK.

  5. When exporting a pdf, under the General tab, be sure you check the boxes for Bookmarks, Hyperlinks and Interactive Elements.


The manual way
If for some reason you can't auto generate a table of contents or want to add a "go to page" command to another piece of text unrelated to the table of contents, use these steps to make your text interactive. I'm using hyperlinks because I find them simpler and easier to use than bookmarks.


  1. Open a document in InDesign.

  2. With the text tool select your point of origin text (the text you'd like a user to click to jump to another page). With this text selected, go to the Hyperlink panel fly-out menu and select New Hyperlink.

  3. In the New Hyperlink Dialog box, under the Link To: drop down box, select Page.

  4. Type in the page number you'd like to jump to, set the Appearance Type to Invisible Rectangle and click OK.

  5. Repeat steps 2-4 as needed.

  6. When exporting a pdf, under the General tab, be sure you check the boxes for Bookmarks, Hyperlinks and Interactive Elements.

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