How to Add Chapters in Google Docs: A Step-by-Step Guide


Matthew Burleigh

Adding chapters in Google Docs can seem like a daunting task, but fear not, it’s easier than you might think! All it takes is a few simple steps to organize your document into clear, concise chapters that will make it easy for your readers to navigate through your work. In just a few minutes, you’ll have a well-structured document that looks professional and is reader-friendly.

Step by Step Tutorial: Adding Chapters in Google Docs

Before diving into the nitty-gritty, let’s understand what we’re aiming for. By adding chapters to your Google Doc, you’ll be creating a structured layout that helps readers to easily find specific sections. This is especially useful for long documents such as reports, manuscripts, or novels.

Step 1: Use Heading Styles

Apply heading styles to the chapter titles in your document.

Google Docs uses a system of heading styles to organize content. To start a new chapter, simply highlight the chapter title and select a heading style from the toolbar. Usually, "Heading 1" is used for main chapter titles.

Step 2: Insert a Table of Contents

Add a table of contents to your document from the "Insert" menu.

After applying heading styles, go to the "Insert" menu, scroll down to "Table of contents," and choose a style. This will automatically generate a table of contents that links to each of your chapters.

Step 3: Update the Table of Contents

Refresh the table of contents as you add more chapters.

As you continue writing and adding more chapters, your table of contents will need updating. Simply click on the table of contents and press the "Refresh" button that appears to update it with your latest headings.

Step 4: Format Your Chapters

Adjust the formatting of your chapters for better readability.

Ensure that your chapters start on new pages by inserting page breaks (Insert > Break > Page break). You can also style your chapter titles to differentiate them from the rest of the text, such as centering the text or changing the font size.

Step 5: Finalize Your Document

Review your document to make sure the chapters are properly organized.

Once you’ve added all your chapters and updated the table of contents, take a moment to scroll through your document. Make sure everything is in order and that the chapters appear correctly in the table of contents.

After completing these steps, you’ll have a Google Doc with well-defined chapters and a functional table of contents. This adds a layer of professionalism to your document and greatly enhances the reader’s experience.

Tips for Adding Chapters in Google Docs

  • Keep your chapter titles consistent. Use the same heading style for every chapter to maintain a uniform look throughout your document.
  • Consider using subheadings for sections within chapters. These can be formatted with "Heading 2," "Heading 3," and so on.
  • If you’re writing a particularly long document, break it down into parts before dividing it into chapters. Use "Heading 1" for part titles and "Heading 2" for chapter titles.
  • Customize the look of your table of contents. While Google Docs offers a few default styles, you can manually adjust the font and color to match the rest of your document.
  • Remember to update the table of contents regularly, especially after making significant changes to your document.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I ensure my chapters start on a new page?

Insert a page break before each chapter title to make sure it starts on a new page.

Can I customize the table of contents?

Yes, you can adjust the font and color of the table of contents to match your document’s style.

What happens if I forget to update the table of contents?

If you don’t update it, the table of contents won’t reflect the latest changes, and the links to the chapters may not work correctly.

Is there a limit to the number of chapters I can add?

No, there’s no limit. You can add as many chapters as your document requires.

Can I use headings for something other than chapters?

Absolutely! You can use heading styles to organize any sections of your document, not just chapters.


  1. Use heading styles for chapter titles.
  2. Insert a table of contents from the "Insert" menu.
  3. Update the table of contents with new chapters.
  4. Format chapters with page breaks and styling.
  5. Review the document to ensure proper organization.


Congratulations! You now know how to add chapters in Google Docs like a pro. Whether you’re crafting a lengthy report, a gripping novel, or any extensive document, mastering this skill can transform a chaotic jumble of text into a polished, reader-friendly masterpiece. Go ahead, give it a try; you’ll be amazed at how much clearer and more professional your documents will look. And remember, the key to a great document is not only the content but also how easily that content can be navigated. Happy writing, and may your chapters always lead your readers on a clear and engaging journey!

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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