Insert Anchors for MS Word Table of Contents (TOC) and Go to Beginning (start)

In the Task, we will insert Anchors for Table of Contents (TOC) and Beginning (start) of file in MS Word

Amazon requires that Kindle books contain anchors to allow the user to jump to the start of the file and/or to the Table of Contents.

To understand this requirement, it is necessary to think, for a moment, about the design and features of the Kindle reading device.

Below is an ad for the Kindle Wireless Reading Device (6" Display, Global Wireless, Latest Generation)

As you can see by the illustration, a small Menu Button is at the lower left edge of the device.

Kindle Wireless Reading Device (6" Display, Global Wireless, Latest Generation)

The Menu Button is a tiny rocker switch.  Push up (Menu) displays a Menu on the Kindle screen, while push down (Back), takes the user back to his previous activity.

Exactly “what” is displayed on the screen when the user pushes Menu, depends on exactly what he was doing before he pushed the Menu button.

We are interested in what is displayed on the Kindle screen if the user presses Menu while he is reading a book.

Several items are displayed, but right now, we are interested in only these two:

Table of Contents

Go to Beginning

These are navigation points that enable the Kindle to jump to the “Table of Contents" or to the "Beginning" of your book, when those items are selected by the Kindle user.

But, you may ask… how does the Kindle know where to jump?

It doesn’t, until we insert anchors in the text to tell the Kindle where to find the Table of Contents and the Beginning of the file.

We Insert these anchors in Ms Word with Menu|Insert|Bookmark.

But, before we start, let’s talk for a moment about where we want to put our Table of Contents and our Beginning.

That’s easy, you might say… both go at the beginning if the book.

You’d be right most of the time, but the Kindle gives us an ability that we don’t have with print books:

With the Kindle, we have the ability to go past the front matter… title pages, notes, dedications, even Table of Contents, and let the user jump to the first page of actual reading material.

That’s entirely up to you… you can put your Beginning any where you want it.

The same is true of the Table of Contents.  Since the user can jump to it, you can put the Table of Contents anywhere you want to put it.

Why would you put the Table of Contents anywhere except at the beginning of the book?

Remember that Amazon allows a prospective buyer to download a Sample of a Kindle book to test read before buying it.

The sample consists of some portion of the first pages of your book, and, if that portion is occupied by the Table of Contents, it might not be very helpful.

You might want to move the Table of Contents so more of the text gets in the sample to give the prospective buyer a better idea of your book.

That was a decision you made back when you built your Table of Contents, but you can change it if you want to… just go back and follow the instructions to put it where you want it.

Now… with your Table of  Contents displayed on your computer screen, use care to place your anchor in exactly the right place.

You want it just *before* the Title that defines your Table of Contents.

If you have assigned a Header Tag to the Table of Contents, and if you place your anchor inside the Header Tag, your anchor will not work.

If you place your anchor *after* the Title, it will display the first page of the Table of Contents, but leave the Title on the previous page.

Okay, here we go:

Find the title of your Table of Contents, and click your cursor just before the letter "T".

I've placed square brackets there to indicate where you should click your cursor.

[]Table of Contents

Now, from the Word Menu at the top of your screen, select:


(I should mention here, that this box may already contain  information that you find confusing; if so,  just ignore it and enter your own Bookmarks as below.)

When the Bookmark box appears, name your anchor... type toc, then click Add.

You may or may not be able to see the anchor, as a faint blinking symbol, depending on your screen settings.

Now, add an anchor to define the Beginning of your book.

Find the place you want to name as the beginning of your book.

Remember, this doesn't have to be the actual beginning of the book... it is the place that you have decided is the best place for the user to start reading the book.

Click your cursor just *before* the first paragraph or title of the page.

If you want your reader to be able to jump to Chapter One, click your cursor where I have placed square brackets below:

[]Chapter One.

Then, from the Word Menu at the top of your screen, select:


When the Bookmark box appears, name your anchor... type "start" for the beginning of your file, then click Add.

In each case, "start" and "toc", be sure to type those exact words.

Notice that there is a "Go to" selection in the Bookmark box.  Use it to test to be sure you have put your bookmarks (anchors) in the right spots.

Although as you will see later, some devices use other "jump to" features, these are the only ones that the Kindle will use, and Amazon recommends that we not place anchors, as it will likely confuse the reader.

When we go to MobiPocket Creator to build our book to be published, we will use the "Guide" feature to tell it about these bookmarks.

You will find how to do it, here:

Add Guide Items to Link Table of Contents and Go to Beginning


  1. Great description, so easy to follow. thanks mate!

  2. Thanks, Karen,

    That's very good to hear!

    That's what it's all about... helping others find that Kindle publishing really is as easy as pie!


  3. While I seem to be capable of understanding most of the articles, I still can't figure out how to "use the Guide feature to tell it about these bookmarks."

    You don't seem to have an article about that yet. It asks for a title, a type, and a filename or an onclick. That has me very confused.

  4. Hi Ryne,

    Thanks for your question. It helps me to understand what it is that confuses people.

    I have added a link to this tutorial to the tutorial that explains how to add the Guide items with Mobipocket Creator.

    When you are in Mobipocket, and have clicked Guide, then New Guide Item, you will see several boxes, one of which is Type.

    Notice the little down-arrow at the end of the box named Type?

    If you click it you will find the "toc" and "start" items... just select and go through the rest of the steps in the tutorial.

    Don't pay any attention to any other items, as they are not intended for the Kindle.

  5. I'm formatting a non-fiction book that has the words Chapter 1 on the first line, hard return, and then the Name of the Chapter.

    When I try to apply headings(either 1 or 2), the TOC always comes out with the Chapter title below the Chapter #, rather than next to it.

    Is there a way to make it so that the Chapter # and Title show up on the same line?


  6. Yes, Kris... and the answer is so easy you won’t believe it!

    Use a “Manual Line Break”, instead of a "hard return" (“Paragraph Break”), between lines, to give all lines the same format.

    Issue a “Manual Line Break” with SHIFT-ENTER (rather than just ENTER, which does a Paragraph Break).

    Be sure to keep “Show All” turned on, so you can see these characters on the screen.

    “Manual Line Break” is a tiny little backwards arrow at the end of a line, rather than the “Pilcrow” (Paragraph Mark) that appears at the end of every paragraph.

    To see this and other “Special Characters”, issue a CTRL-H (for Search and Replace), and click the “Special” button at the bottom of the box.

  7. Thank you so much!!!! I'm doing this for work, and I couldn't figure it out. Your quick response is VERY appreciated, as well as all of your knowledge about this process.

  8. Hi,

    I am trying to upload to the creator but it seems to freeze at 25% can you help me?



  9. Hi David,

    I've always found Mobipocket Creator very reliable.

    If it won't accept a file, that means there is something basically wrong with the file, itself... and the only solution is just to go back and go through everything to find the error.

  10. Hi CJ,

    I have a question about the fonts for the chapter titles. Everything works beautifully in the Word document, but when I build the book in MOBI and click on my hyperlinked TOC, the font of the chapter heading is Arial, not the bolded Times New Roman I had set the style to. However, when I open the book as an HTML document (after Mobi has built it), the fonts appear exactly as I want them.

    Is this normal, or am I missing something in regards to the formatting? I've set up specific formatting for each of the chapter headings and have given the same formatting to the TOC titles as well. I don't know what else could be wrong.

    Any help would be appreciated. :)

    Thank you,


  11. Hi Melika,

    Well... I hate to tell you this... but what you see is "normal"... you can't choose exactly what font you want to display in your book.

    At this time, Kindle has only one font... a "Times Roman lookalike" with an odd name that doesn't really matter.

    So... any worry about it is wasted effort.

    We are all hoping that the new Kindle Fire software... not yet released... will be available to earlier Kindles and give us more options.

    So, just make it look as neat as you can, and hope that more fonts variety will soon be available.


  12. Hi CJ,

    So how it looks in Mobi is how it'll look on the Kindle? Well, I guess since everything else looks great, I'll just shout "Fire in the hole!" and have done with it. :D On to the next...

    BTW, I suppose that means I should just stick to normal fonts for different sections? I had been distinguishing characters’ handwriting (in sections where I have letter excerpts) to make them appear distinctive. If Kindle only recognizes one font, then everything should be in Times New Roman and I shouldn’t be getting fancy with Lucida Calligraphy, right?

    Thanks for the info! :)


  13. No, it's not quite that restrictive...

    You can do what you want to do with italics and bold and different sizes of type.

    But Lucida Calligraphy would likely come out plain text.


  14. Hi CJ

    As I use a Mac I cannot use Mobipocket Creator. How can I create my ebook without this?

  15. To Gunnersman... and also to Mark, another MAC user who asked for help in another message:

    Calibre is a good alternative to Mobipocket Creator, and it is available for MAC.

    It's a free download (donate-ware), here:

    It's pretty complex... much more so than Mobipocket, so you really have to read the Menus, but if you do that, and follow along carefully, you should be able to create an ePub and a MOBI file.

    If you feed it a well-formatted HTML file, the resulting MOBI file should upload successfully to Amazon Kindle.

  16. Top articles and site.
    One question about interesting anomaly that I noticed. When a reader reads a book from page to page, style of Chapter headings are looking just fine. But if a reader tries to jump to chapter directly from TOC menu or when he fast-forwards through chapters with NCX, heading style is somehow reset - it is left alligned (and not centered) in that case and with a little bit smaller font size. Does anyone know reason for that anomaly?

  17. Yes... that's just a "feature" of fluid or "reflowable" text.

    It's less noticeable with "Left aligned", rather than "Centered" headings.

  18. After doing some tests yesterday, I was able to solve the problem. In the HTML code, the NAME tag must be moved before the header tag that defines the style of Chapter title. By default Word saves name tage inside header tag so when TOC makes access to linkable name tag it is left without header sytle definition. Hope this explanation will help others.

  19. Were you actually able to make that work?

    That's a popular tip that appears on the forums, but, while it sounds right, I've never seen it actually work reliably.

  20. Hi CJ.

    Yup, I made tests with Kindle 3 and it works perfectly. Had to spend some time on it though.

    Tried to send code example but message format is not allowing me to.

  21. Hi SmsrfSmith,

    Amazon keeps upgrading and making changes to the original software, so it's entirely possible this feature has changed since the last time I tested.

    Would you please, pretty please, send it to me in an email, here:

    Just put it in a notepad note and attach it to your email would be the safest way to avoid messed-up code, I think.



  22. Hi CJ, Great site and great Tutorials. Discovered that Amazon have killed off the Mobireader Programme. No more downloads seem to be available. Have Mobipocket Publisher Version though.

    Will the Kindle Reader for PC and/or the Kindle Previewer do the same as the now defunct Mobipocket Reader?

  23. Yes, but...

    Try this:

    Go ahead as before and clean up your Word file, and tag your Styles and create your table of contents, and mark Start and toc, etc... etc...


    Save your Word file as Web Page, Filtered.

    That will create two files... "myfile.htm" and

    Select both and zip them together.

    Then, right click on the resulting zip file.

    Choose COPY.

    Then go to the shortcut on your desktop for Kindle Previewer, and "paste" right on top of the Kindle Previewer shortcut icon.

    It will go to work and create a MOBI file for you... like magic!

    I need to write all this up in a tutorial but am afraid to do so because they keep changing
    things... all for the BETTER, I might add.

    This is half the work it used to be.