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3.5 Generating a Table of Contents

The @chapter, @section, and other structuring commands (see Chapter Structuring) supply the information to make up a table of contents, but they do not cause an actual table to appear in the manual. To do this, you must use the @contents and/or @summarycontents command(s).


Generates a table of contents in a printed manual, including all chapters, sections, subsections, etc., as well as appendices and unnumbered chapters. Headings generated by @majorheading, @chapheading, and the other @…heading commands do not appear in the table of contents (see Structuring Command Types).


(@summarycontents is a synonym for @shortcontents.)

Generates a short or summary table of contents that lists only the chapters, appendices, and unnumbered chapters. Sections, subsections and subsubsections are omitted. Only a long manual needs a short table of contents in addition to the full table of contents.

Both contents commands should be written on a line by themselves, and placed near the beginning of the file, after the @end titlepage (see @titlepage), before any sectioning command. The contents commands automatically generate a chapter-like heading at the top of the first table of contents page, so don’t include any sectioning command such as @unnumbered before them.

Since an Info file uses menus instead of tables of contents, the Info formatting commands ignore the contents commands. But the contents are included in plain text output (generated by makeinfo --plaintext) and in other output formats, such as HTML.

When makeinfo writes a short table of contents while producing HTML output, the links in the short table of contents point to corresponding entries in the full table of contents rather than the text of the document. The links in the full table of contents point to the main text of the document.

In the past, the contents commands were sometimes placed at the end of the file, after any indices and just before the @bye, but we no longer recommend this.

However, since many existing Texinfo documents still do have the @contents at the end of the manual, if you are a user printing a manual, you may wish to force the contents to be printed after the title page. You can do this by specifying @setcontentsaftertitlepage and/or @setshortcontentsaftertitlepage. The first prints only the main contents after the @end titlepage; the second prints both the short contents and the main contents. In either case, any subsequent @contents or @shortcontents is ignored.

You need to include the @set…contentsaftertitlepage commands early in the document (just after @setfilename, for example). We recommend using texi2dvi (see Format with texi2dvi) to specify this without altering the source file at all. For example:

texi2dvi --texinfo=@setcontentsaftertitlepage foo.texi

An alternative invocation, using texi2any:

texi2any --dvi --Xopt --texinfo=@setcontentsaftertitlepage foo.texi

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