Some style manuals recommend keeping tables of contents under three pages so they can be surveyed easily. Since they lack the alphabetical arrangement that makes indexes so accessible, anything longer can become difficult to scan.
Printed tables of contents indicate page numbers where each part starts, while online ones offer links to go to each part. The format and location of the page numbers is a matter of style for the publisher. If the page numbers appear after the heading text, they might be preceded by characters called leaders, usually dots or periods, that run from the chapter or section titles on the opposite side of the page, or the page numbers might remain closer to the titles. In some cases, the page number appears before the text.
If a book or document contains chapters, articles, or stories by different authors, the author's name also usually appears in the table of contents.
In some cases, tables of contents contains a high quality description of the chapter's but usually first-level header's section content rather than subheadings.
Matter preceding the table of contents is generally not listed there. However, all pages except the outside cover are counted, and the table of contents is often numbered with a lowercase Roman numeral page number. Many popular word processors, such as Microsoft Word, WordPerfect, and StarWriter are capable of automatically generating a table of contents if the author of the text uses specific styles for chapter titles, headings, subheadings, etc.
Chapter 1: Getting Started . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
Next Steps . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
Example without leaders:
Chapter 1: Getting Started 1
Next Steps 3
Example with authors:
1. Introduction to Biology Arthur C. Smith 1
2. Microbiology Susan Jones 10
3. Advances in Biotechnology T.C. Chang 24
Example with descriptive text:
Chapter 1 3
In which we first meet our hero and heroine, attend
a gala feast, and begin an unexpected journey.
Chapter 2 12
The journey takes an unusual turn, and new villainy