Tables of Contents

Tables of contents help readers in two ways: (1) they outline the structure of the document and thus provide insight into the document’s organization, and (2) they provide the page numbers for all sections and subsections, thus helping readers to locate parts of the document.

Editors often choose to shorten Table of Contents to merely Contents. We retained the full phrase as the title of this entry, but we recommend simply Contents when you are labeling a page in a document.

Creating a preliminary table of contents is a useful writing technique because writers have to think carefully about the document’s organization. Gaps, illogical order, and misplaced emphasis become more apparent when the writer is forced to clarify and ...

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