Kindle Publishing: Apply Heading Tags for Table of Contents

We are starting here with the cleaned-up file for my children's book, A Donkey Named Minnie.

As you can see from the screen shot above, it is pretty plain-looking, but I have typed in the title of the book, and titles (or headings) for the major paragraphs.

To apply Heading Styles,  open your Styles and Formatting box, as we showed you in earlier lessons

(Choose Format from the Menu at the top of the screen, then choose Styles and Formatting from the drop down list. Your Styles and Formatting box will display at the right of your screen).

With your "cleaned-up" file open in MS Word, your Styles and Formatting box will have very few Styles listed.

Many more styles are available, although few are recognized by Kindle.

To see all the styles that are available, in MS Word, look at the bottom bar of the Styles and Formatting box. There you will see a 1-line box with the label, "Show" at the left end, and a small down arrow at the  right end.

Click that down arrow and choose "All Styles", to see all the Styles that it's possible to use in your MS Word document. That will cause all Styles to be displayed... many that we haven't seen before, and most we will never see again, for that matter.

NOTE! Only a few of the styles you see there will work with the Kindle.

Now, if you haven't done so, before, create a "title" or "heading" for each paragraph important enough that you want it to appear in the Table of Contents, or, even if you don't plan to have a Table of Contents, is important enough that you want to call the reader's attention to it.

A Donkey Named Minnie has three major paragraphs that require headings (or titles, if you prefer that word, plus the Title of the book.

To install the Title, I'll highlight the phrase  A Donkey Named Minnie at the at the top of my page, then click on  Title from the Styles and Format box at the right of my screen.

The Styles names are in alphabetical order, so you may have to scroll down in your box to see "Title", along with any other Style name that starts with the letter "T" in the list.

Next, I'll apply the proper code to each of my Heading titles.

With my computer's cursor at Minnie arrives at Grannie Annie's Place, I find Heading 1 in my Styles at the right of my screen and click it.  Immediately, that title appears in a bold large font.

So, now my top level heading is set up.

I now go through the file to install codes on the other major paragraph headings.

At the paragraph heading, Minnie Enthralls the Humans, I assign a second level paragraph tag by selecting it with my cursor, then clicking Heading 2 in the Styles List.

I assign a level 3 to the paragraph heading Miniature Mediterranean Donkeys.

But this time, instead of selecting Miniature Mediterranean Donkeys, then going to the Styles and Formatting box, then finding the tag I want (Heading 3), then clicking on Heading 3, I do it the Easy as Pie way.

With the heading, Miniature Mediterranean Donkeys selected, I use the shortcut key MS Word has built in... CTRL-ALT-3, to apply the Heading 3 tag.

You can do the same with Heading 1, use shortcut CTRL-ALT-1 and Heading 2, use shortcut key CTRL-ALT-2.

I didn't tell you about the shortcut keys before because I wanted to be sure you understand how to apply tags from the Styles and Formatting box.

BUT... these are the only shortcut keys for headings pre-built by Word. If you need Headings beyond level 3, you will have to select them from the Styles and formatting box

You can, however, create your own shortcut keys for additional levels if you need them.

Unless you will be using them a lot, it's better to leave the short-cut keys for more intensive work.

Now... I don't have Headings 4 through Heading 9, but I typed those words into my document so I could show you how they work, so if you need these deeper levels, you will know where to find them.

You can see what they will look like in the screen shots below.

In the next lesson, I'll show you how to create your own Table of Contents with as many as 9 levels... the Easy as Pie way, with Microsoft Word.

Create Table of Contents


  1. CJ,
    First, thanks. This has been the clearest instructions I've found online. I wanted to know -- is it okay to change the default formatting on a header? All I want is to take off the italics and center it. I know how to change the style, but should I? Or do I have to change each one manually with the standard italics and centering buttons when I place that header in the text? I didn't know which way was better for Kindle to accurately translate it. Thanks!

  2. Hi Laurie... and thanks for the kind words.

    Yes, you can change the default Style for "Heading", and that is probably the best way.

    Sometimes Kindle will ignore direct formatting, and changing the Style rather than changing each one by hand is easier because it's more consistent, anyway.

    Be aware that the Kindle has limited ability to display exactly what font you use. It can display bold, italics and normal, and font size to some degree, but not to the extent you are used to in print.

    I find it's best to experiment a bit before spending a lot of time formatting my copy. Try different things and see what the Kindle does with your choices.

    The Kindle is absolutely wonderful... but not absolutely perfect just yet.

    Also... you used the term "Header", when I think you mean "Heading". The "Header" goes at the top of a print page... but is not used on the Kindle.


  3. I rather new at this, so please be patient. I've written a novel and just want to have simple chapter headings at the beginning of each chapter. Chapters 1-14. Perhaps a blank line before the centered chapter heading and 2 blank lines before the first paragraph.
    Can you give me a quick-and-dirty lesson?

  4. Smasica,

    It's already about as simple as it can get.

    Is there something in particular you didn't understand?

    Read through the article, and tell me where you got lost, and I'll try to help.

  5. Thanks. I did reread things and got the direction I needed. I also looked up a couple how-to videos on Youtube that were helpful.
    My compliments on all the hard work you've put in on writing all this stuff up. It's been very helpful to the epublishing community.

  6. You are welcome, TremoluxMan!

    And thanks very much for the kind words... comments like yours keep me inspired to continue.

  7. CJ.....working on getting a second book in Kindle Format. I must be missing something. Is there a way to get "Heading 1" which I m using for Chapter titles to show up centered on the Kindle? The keep shifting to left justified....

    Thanks again! KenJ

  8. Ken J,

    I am not positive... but I think this is one of those places where we have to keep in mind that Mobipocket is an old program designed for a small display... about 3.5 inches wide.

    I think what is happening is that Mobipocket forces headings left because that looks better on such a small screen.

    I have not been able to find a consistent solution to keep headings centered.