Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Table of Contents and Index

Table of Contents vs Index

When writing a book, a research paper, or any document for publication, it is required that it contain certain parts or pages. Two parts that are required in any book or formal report are the table of contents and the index. While both contain lists of important items that are found in the document, they contain different materials.

A table of contents (TOC) is defined as a list of the parts of a book or a document that are arranged according to the order of their appearance or sequence in the book or document. Documents that have more than ten pages usually have a table of contents.

It includes the titles and description of the headers or sections of the book or document, and in books that contain works of different authors, their names are also listed on the table of contents. The page numbers are also indicated on the TOC. It appears after the title page and copyright notices, before the foreword, the preface, and the lists of tables. A good table of contents is one that only has two pages at the most. While there are no professional creators of a table of contents, it is easy to make one online by just clicking the “create TOC” button.

An index, on the other hand, is defined as a list of words or headings that are used as locators of useful materials that are contained in a book or document. It can be as many pages as there are many important items in the document.

There are indexes of authors, articles, references, and others that are listed alphabetically and are not in sequence. It appears at the end of the book or document containing particular words, pages, and concepts that are included in the document. A good index uses two or three entries per topic, provides users the kind of materials that they want, and uses standard indexing practice. Every important topic must be indexed, refraining from providing circular cross references and incorrect alphabetization and subheadings.

There are many professional indexers that specialize in different formats like web indexing, database indexing, scholarly book indexing, and the indexing of newspapers, magazines, and journals. Subjects can range from business, computers, education, to the sciences and law.


1.A table of contents is a list of the parts of a book or document while an index is a list of important words, concepts, and other useful materials in a book or document.
2.A table of contents is located at the beginning of the document usually after the title page and copyright notices while an index is located at the end of the document.
3.Only those documents that are more than ten pages must have a table of contents while any document can have an index.
4.The contents in a table of contents are arranged according to their appearance in the document or in sequence while the contents of an index are arranged alphabetically.
5.There are many professional indexers while there are no professional table of contents creators.

Sharing is caring!

Search DifferenceBetween.net :

Email This Post Email This Post : If you like this article or our site. Please spread the word. Share it with your friends/family.


  1. thanks for you support

  2. Is there any statute or Case law to supplement

  3. I have a problem with making learners portfolios and I’m suposed to have a section of index. Do I put it in front or at the back?

Leave a Response

Please note: comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.

Articles on DifferenceBetween.net are general information, and are not intended to substitute for professional advice. The information is "AS IS", "WITH ALL FAULTS". User assumes all risk of use, damage, or injury. You agree that we have no liability for any damages.

See more about : ,
Protected by Copyscape Plagiarism Finder