4 Replies Latest reply on Mar 5, 2017 12:26 AM by EVMLC

    Weird table of contents


      Hi there.


      I'm creating a product index with the table of contents function for a catalogue. The catalogue has nearly 200 pages and around 1500 products in it.


      The layout of the product pages is as per the screenshot below. Each of the product has its own text box. In each text box, it starts with the product name. Then a table contains the technical specifications. And finishes with few feature points. For some of the products, there are multiple product codes for different colours of the same product.


      Picture 1.png


      The colours in the screenshot represent different paragraph styles. Please refer to the next screenshot.




      I like to have the product index appears like the order in the next screenshot. Which has the product code first then the product name. And the products should be listed in alphabetical order of the product codes (I have manually moved everything into correct order to take this screenshot). The follow screenshots are my settings in the table of contents window.


      Picture 5.png

      Screen shot 2017-03-05 at 11.32.41 AM.png

      Picture 3.png

      However, the result I've got is totally different to what I like it to be. Instead of product code, it starts with the product names. And in some of the entries, some product codes have gone into the previous or next product listings. And it grabs incorrect  product names from a different products in some cases. That makes the index totally useless unless I manually move things around.




      After some research, I learnt why the product names appears before product codes, which is opposite to what I wanted. I think that's because InDesign reads the line above the table first and put it into the list first. Seems like there is no workaround unless I redesign the layout. I guess the best solution is to spend few hours moving all the product names in the product index to underneath the product codes manually. I believe it will take much less time than redesign the layout and apply it to every single text box.


      The main problem I really need to resolve is the order of the products. How can I put the products in an order fellow the alphabetical order of the product codes and have the correct product names go with the product codes?


      I have uploaded a test file (both indd or idml formats) to the link below.




      Thank you in advance for your help.

        • 1. Re: Weird table of contents
          Cari Jansen Adobe Community Professional

          I think you've already identified the issue is related to the content order in the InDesign story that flows across the frames.


          You'll need to change this content order so that the Product name is after the last feature point. E.g.:



          Then set-up a master page with primary text frames that has a separate text frame for the product name, and thread the frames in reverse order. E.g.:

          Then when you flow in the content the look will be as you had it before:

          And the TOC will look like this when generated:



          I must admit it seems rather strange to want the product codes listed PRIOR to the product name, as my guess is the structurally/logically the product codes are falling 'under' the Product Name specified. That is also how you are visually presenting it in the layout.  E.g. I would have expected the Product Name to be a level 1 entry structurally and Product Code level 2.

          • 2. Re: Weird table of contents
            EVMLC Level 1

            Hi Cari,


            Thank you so much for your reply. My client like to have the product codes before the product names in this product index. So their customers can find the products in the catalogue easily based on the product codes.


            I have to apologize that my sample file is a bit misleading. The real file is way more complicated than this, and most of the pages are slightly different. Thus I have given up on having the product codes listed prior to the product name. They will be manually moved around.


            The issue I need to resolve now is to have the product listing in an alphabetical order based on the product codes. And the correct product names to go with them.


            Thank you.

            • 3. Re: Weird table of contents
              Cari Jansen Adobe Community Professional

              Have you thought of giving your client TWO different table of contents in that case?


              One that only contains product codes, the other only product names.


              You can even alphabetize the product codes, or product names if needed.


              You can have multiple table of contents in the single InDesign document, by defining them (Layout > Table of Content Styles), then when adding the ToCs you'd select relevant one from the TOC Style menu when using Layout > Table of Contents to place the ToC in your document.

              • 4. Re: Weird table of contents
                EVMLC Level 1

                Actually it's not a bad idea. With the original setup, it difficult to find a particular product if the person knows only the product name. With 2 different indexes, it should be easier for everyone. I'll try this with my client first. Thank you so much Cari.