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Table of Contents

I write short quality system guidance documents, typically 2-4 pages. There is a move to make TOCs mandatory but some in the department feel they should be optional based on pages or number of sections. Is there any industry standard on TOCs? For consistency sake, it would be best to always use a TOC (my opinion). Anyone else had this discussion in the workplace? Any input would be appreciated.


  • smajorssmajors United StatesPosts: 21
    Hello. I'm curious what kind of output your guides are (PDF, web, other)? Is this regarding a TOC for each guide or one TOC for multiple guides combined?
  • Hi - it's always a single guide and the outputs are both pdf and word. The documents are stored in an internal document control database.
  • smajorssmajors United StatesPosts: 21
    So far as a tech writer in my current position, we include a TOC for PDF output only if there are multiple sections and headings, and typically include up to heading 3 level in the TOC at most, so this is optional for us. 

    I think TOCs are more beneficial to include when you have a manual that includes multiple topics so if your user does not want to skim the whole guide to find a specific topic, a page number in the TOC would help. But if it's a few pages I think it is just as fast to flip a page and look for the heading. Either way you go I don't think there's a standard, I've seen it both ways. 

    I'm also interested in what others do. 
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