Becoming a better writer or content creator takes a lot of effort, time and practice. But if someone offered you a shortcut to instantly make your content work harder for you, would you take it? A table of contents plugin can do just that.
While it may take some time to perfect your content writing skills, one way to instantly enhance your content is to make it easier to digest and more accessible to your readers, and a great way to do that is to give your readers a table of contents (TOC).
No one enjoys reaching a webpage with the information they are seeking only to have a hard time finding what they are looking for. Adding a TOC to your content gives users an overview of its contents and structure, and it allows readers to jump directly to a specific section of a post or page.
Not only does it help readers find what they need faster, but a table of contents makes your page or post look more professional. On top of that, it’ll help your SEO ranking and hopefully drive more traffic to your site.
It might sound like a lot of work, but thanks to some super useful plugins, adding a TOC can be accomplished in seconds.
Best Free Table of Contents Plugins
There’s no shortage of options for TOC plugins available on WordPress, but some pack more of a punch than others. And while there are some TOC plugins that will make you pay for a license, below are several free plugins that will meet the needs of even advanced WordPress users.
With more than 300,000 active installations and a 4.5-star rating, Table of Contents Plus is one of the best table of contents plugins available. This plugin makes it easy to create a content specific index or TOC for long pages and custom posts. By default, the TOCs will be displayed before the first heading on a page, but the location can be customized using shortcode.
Table of Contents Plus also grants users the ability to produce a sitemap with a listing of all pages and/or categories for your entire WordPress site, as well as enable or disable the TOC for a single post, page or custom post type.
Users are also able to print out listings of only pages and only categories, or print out an index of all published posts on their site.
The plugin also has an admin options panel that allows users to customize appearance, display position and number of headings before displaying a TOC, as well as some advanced options for power users like excluding undesired headings (h5 and above) and disabling the output of included CSS files. You can even add your index to the sidebar by adjusting your widgets options under the Appearance tab.
If you see some mixed reviews for Table of Contents Plus, it’s probably because there was a three-year gap between updates. But it was updated as recently as February 2020 and is still a solid plugin.
Capable of working with the Classic, Gutenberg, Divi, Elementor, WPBakery Page Builder and Visual Composer page editors, this table of contents plugin has racked up over 200,000 installations and has a solid 4.5 stars. It’s not hard to see why.
Easy Table of Contents automatically generates a TOC for any posts, pages and custom posts, and gives you the option to enable it for pages or posts and determine when and where the TOC goes.
It also has some really great customization options. Users can assign themes to their TOCs, and if none of the themes match their style, there’s an option to create your own theme with custom border, background and link colors. You can also choose between decimal, numeric, roman or none for your bullet format, as well as make your TOC hierarchical or not, which places lower priority headings under higher priority ones.
Plus, you can exclude headers if you choose, toggle TOCs on and off on a post-by-post basis, or place TOCs in the sidebar as a widget.
It doesn’t have as many installations as the two mentioned before (40,000+), but this table of contents plugin rocks an impressive five-star rating.
Lucky WP Table of Contents works with Classical and Gutenberg editors and offers automatic insertion of TOCs based on headings as well as the option to configure posts types and position.
On top of that, the code for all TOCs is instantly ready for use by Google snippets on results pages. options to display linear or hierarchical view
The plugin also gives users some cool customization options. It allows users to choose between linear or hierarchical display views, but also let’s you get more granular changing things like the title, font sizes, width, colors, items font size, and more all from the control panel.
Additionally, users are able to choose from four primary color schemes for their TOC: dark, light, transparent, and white.
With a perfect five-star rating on the WordPress Plugins Marketplace, this Gutenberg Blocks plugin is certainly worth checking out. The table of contents block is just one of more than 40 blocks included in the plugin making Ultimate Blocks an all-inclusive blocks plugin. And while the TOC isn’t necessarily the primary selling point for Ultimate Blocks, that doesn’t mean it’s an afterthought.
With a couple clicks users are able to generate a TOC directly from their headings, taking the work out putting a TOC together. If your headings are done correctly, adding a TOC can be accomplished in less than 30 seconds.
One of the only knocks here is that this is a Gutenberg plugin, meaning it only works on the Gutenberg editor. So if you’re still using the WordPress Classical Editor, might want to check out other options.
With a humble 9,000 installs but a solid 4.5 star rating, this plugin focuses on design and ease of use, offering a real-time preview for TOCs so you can see what your TOC will look like before applying changes.
It also allows you to assign your TOC a custom title, select the headings it displays, change the font of your indexes, customize the frame, add animation, as well as choose the colors for titles, text, back buttons, borders, h2s, h3s and “back to table of contents” button background.
If that’s not enough, Rich Table of Contents offers more advanced settings like changing the button location, excluding post or page ids or telling pages not to load plugin css.
Adding a table of contents to your posts and pages is a great way to make information easier to find and digest for your readers, while simultaneously helping your SEO ranking.
And thanks to awesome plugins like the ones mentioned above, enhancing your content with TOCs is as easy as a couple of clicks. Simply search for and install the plugin of your choice and you’re good to go.
Which plugin you should use really depends on what you want from your TOC. Your specific needs should determine which plugin would benefit you the most.
But if you would like some more guidance, you can reach out to one of our WordPress experts who will be standing by 24/7/365. We’re always happy to help.