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Table of Contents in Excel: 4 Easy Ways to Create Directories

table, of, contents, excel

Sometimes Excel workbooks become quite large: The more worksheets there are, the more difficult it is to keep the overview. A table of contents might help. In this article we’ll explore 4 ways of creating tables of contents in an Excel workbook.

Let’s say, we want to create a new worksheet with a list of all other worksheets. Furthermore, each list entry should have a link to the corresponding worksheet so that you can easily click on it and will be taken to this worksheet at once. Basically, there are four methods for creating such table of contents: Do it manually, apply a complex formula, use a VBA macro or an Excel add-in.

Method 1: Create a table of contents manually

Insert a table a contents manually

The first method is the most obvious one: Type (or copy and paste) each sheet name and add links to the cells. These are the necessary steps:

  1. Create a new worksheet by right clicking on any worksheet name and click on Insert Sheet (or press Shift + Alt + F1). Give a proper name, for example ‘Contents’.
  2. Start by typing the first worksheet name into cell B4 (or any cell you like…).
  3. Add the link to the cell: Right click on the cell and click on ‘Hyperlink’. Select ‘This document’ as shown on the picture above and click on the sheet name you want to create the list entry for. Usually cell A1 is fine as the cell reference. The window of adding a hyperlink on Windows looks a little bit different but offers the same options.
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 until all worksheets are in your table of contents.
  5. Do all the formatting as desired and then you are done.

Method 2: Use formulas for a table of contents

Define a named range first in order to insert a table of contents with formulas.

Thanks to Brian Canes, who posted this method as a comment: There is actually a way of using formulas and named ranges. Follow these steps:

  1. Click on “Define Name” in the center of the Formulas ribbon.
  2. Type the name “TabNames”.
  3. Copy and paste this code into the “Refers to:” field: =GET.WORKBOOK(1)&REPT(NOW(),)
  4. Confirm with OK.
  5. Copy this formula into any cell. As it refers to the cell A1, it’ll be the entry for the first worksheet in your workbook:
Copy this formula down.
  1. Copy this formula down until you get blank cells.

Please note:

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Method 3: Use a VBA macro

As the first two methods works but is quite troublesome – especially for large workbooks – we’ll take a look at a third method: A VBA macro. The macro is supposed to do the same steps: Walk through all sheets, create a list entry for each sheet and insert a hyperlink to each sheet.

  1. Go to the developer ribbon.
  2. Click on “Editor”.
  3. Add a new module.
  4. Paste the following code.
  5. Press start on the top.
Sub insertTableOfContents()
    Dim PROFEXWorksheet As Worksheet
    Dim tempWorksheetName, tempLink, nameOfTableOfContentsWorksheet As String
    Dim i As Integer
    'Add a new worksheet

    'Rename the worksheet
    nameOfTableOfContentsWorksheet = "TableOfContents"
    ActiveSheet.Name = nameOfTableOfContentsWorksheet

    'Add the headline
    Range("B3") = nameOfTableOfContentsWorksheet

    'Initialize the counting variable i
    i = 0
    'Go through all worksheets as described
    For Each PROFEXWorksheet In Worksheets
            'Copy the current worksheet name
            tempWorksheetName = PROFEXWorksheet.Name

            'Create the link from the current worksheet and link it to cell A1
            tempLink = "'" & tempWorksheetName & "'!R1C1"
            'Add the list entry
            Sheets(nameOfTableOfContentsWorksheet).Cells(i + 5, 2) = tempWorksheetName

            'Select it for inserting the hyperlink
            Sheets(nameOfTableOfContentsWorksheet).Cells(i + 5, 2).Select

            'Insert the hyperlink
            ActiveSheet.Hyperlinks.Add Anchor:=Selection, Address:="", SubAddress:=tempLink

            'Proceed with next entry and increase i therefore
            i = i + 1
End Sub

Method 4: Use an Excel add-in to create a table of contents

Insert a customized table of contents with the Excel add-in ‘Professor Excel Tools’

There are some Excel add-ins for creating a table of contents. We – of course – recommend our own add-in. It doesn’t only insert a table of contents but you can easily customize it:

Your last settings will be saved so that it’s very fast to update or create a table of contents. There is a free trial version with no sign-up available. Click here to start the download.

This function is included in our Excel Add-In ‘Professor Excel Tools’

(No sign-up, download starts directly)

More than 35,000 users can’t be wrong.

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