How to Add Dots in Table of Contents Google Docs: A Step-by-Step Guide


Matthew Burleigh

Adding dots in a table of contents in Google Docs can be a little tricky if you’re not familiar with the process. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Essentially, what you’ll be doing is formatting your table of contents to create a dotted line between the section titles and the page numbers. This gives your document a clean, professional look and makes it easier for readers to navigate. Let’s dive into the step-by-step tutorial to get those dots added!

Step by Step Tutorial: Adding Dots to Table of Contents in Google Docs

Before we start, it’s important to understand that this guide will show you how to manually add dots to your table of contents. Google Docs doesn’t have an automatic way to do this, so we’ll be using a little workaround to achieve the desired effect.

Step 1: Create your table of contents

Start by clicking where you want to add the table of contents in your document and then go to ‘Insert’ and choose ‘Table of contents’ from the drop-down menu.

When you create a table of contents, Google Docs automatically uses the headings in your document to create the section titles and page numbers. This is great because it saves you the trouble of typing them out yourself!

Step 2: Add tab stops

Double-click on the ruler at the top of the page to add a right-justified tab stop where you want your page numbers to align.

Tab stops are like invisible markers on your ruler that tell Google Docs where to align text. By adding a right-justified tab stop, you’re telling the page numbers to line up on the right side of the page.

Step 3: Insert leader dots

Next, go to ‘Format,’ then ‘Paragraph styles,’ and choose ‘Tabs.’ In the tab stop position, make sure your alignment is set to ‘Right’ and your leader is set to ‘…’

Leader dots are basically the dots that create the dotted line. By setting the leader to dots, you’re telling Google Docs to fill the space between the section title and the page number with dots.

Step 4: Apply tab stops to your table of contents

Click into your table of contents, then hit the ‘Tab’ key between the section title and the page number. The dots should now appear, creating a dotted line across the page.

You might have to do this for each line in your table of contents, but once you get the hang of it, it’s a breeze!

After you’ve completed these steps, you should have a beautiful table of contents with neatly aligned page numbers and a dotted line connecting them to the section titles. It’s a small touch, but it can make a big difference in the overall look and feel of your document.

Tips for Adding Dots to Table of Contents in Google Docs

  • Make sure your document uses headings. This ensures that your table of contents will be generated correctly.
  • Adjust the tab stop position if your page numbers aren’t aligning properly.
  • If you add more content to your document, remember to update the table of contents to reflect the changes.
  • Practice patience. It may take a few tries to get the hang of adding the dots.
  • Keep in mind that if you change the formatting of your document, you may need to reapply the dots.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I automate the process of adding dots in the table of contents?

Unfortunately, Google Docs doesn’t have a built-in feature that automatically adds dots in the table of contents. You’ll need to manually add them using the steps outlined above.

Will the dots adjust automatically if I add more sections to my document?

No, if you add more content and update the table of contents, you’ll need to manually add the dots for the new sections as well.

Can I change the style of the dots in the table of contents?

The style options for leader dots in Google Docs are limited. You can only choose between dots, dashes, or underlines.

How do I update the table of contents after adding more content?

Click on the table of contents and a refresh icon will appear. Click on the icon to update the table of contents with the new headings and page numbers.

What if I don’t see the ruler at the top of the page?

Go to ‘View’ and make sure ‘Show ruler’ is checked. This will display the ruler and allow you to add tab stops.


  1. Create your table of contents.
  2. Add tab stops on the ruler.
  3. Insert leader dots in the tab stop settings.
  4. Apply tab stops to your table of contents with the ‘Tab’ key.


And there you have it! Adding dots to your table of contents in Google Docs might seem like a small detail, but it can greatly enhance the look and functionality of your document. It’s one of those little things that can make your work stand out in a sea of plain text documents. Sure, it might take a few extra clicks and a bit of fiddling, but once you get it down, it’s a piece of cake. Plus, it’s a skill that’ll come in handy time and time again, whether you’re working on a school project, a business proposal, or any document that requires a table of contents. So, go ahead and give it a try, and watch your Google Docs transform into organized, professional-looking masterpieces!

Matthew Burleigh

Matthew Burleigh has been writing tech content online for more than ten years. He enjoys writing about Google Docs in addition to many other applications and devices and has cumulatively covered Google’s word-processing application in hundreds of different articles.

He has been published on dozens of popular websites, and his works have accumulated millions of pageviews.
While focused primarily on tutorials and guides for popular electronics like the iPhone and iPad, as well as common applications like Microsoft Word, Powerpoint, and Excel, he covers topics across the entire technology spectrum.

You can read his bio here.

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