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WAZZAJ

Table of Contents from multiple documents

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I am producing a book which is divided into numerous files (in order to keep the files manageable). I want to product a TOC and an Index but there doesn't seem to be a way of compiling and TOC when I have more than one file. Is there a way to achieve this with Affinity Publisher short of compiling a TOC for each file then combining them?

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As far as I know, multiple-document TOCs are not supported at this time.
I could be wrong but I have not seen any functionality that would support this.

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Multiple TOCs in one document are certainly supported.

And in theory if one had multiple .afpub documents, each with its own TOC, and merged them, the TOCs could survive. However, I suspect that this would only work in practice if the style names were unique in each document. That is, if:

  • Document 1 used style names like Doc1Header1, Doc1Header2, etc.
  • Document 2 used style names like Doc2Header1, Doc2Header2, etc.
  • etc.

because the TOCs in Publisher are completely driven by the paragraph text styles assigned to elements.


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Yes, we can have multiple TOCs in one document but I don’t know of a way to combine TOCs from different documents into a single TOC. I’ve never tried your method so I can’t comment.
It might be possible to have a separate ‘TOC document’ which contains a linked PDF from each of the individual documents but that might be awkward to create and maintain (I’ve never tried).
As for combining indexes, I don’t think that’s possible as the entries would have to be merged somehow.

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12 hours ago, WAZZAJ said:

Is there a way to achieve this with Affinity Publisher short of compiling a TOC for each file then combining them?

I think you either need to compile a separate TOC and index for each document that is part of the total publication, and then combine them, or merge all composing parts into one document and create one common TOC and index for the whole publication (there are no "book" based operations in Affinity Publisher that would allow you to process multiple documents without merging them, or without combining content from multiple documents). I assume that your publication does not require multiple TOCs, but if it does, the merge feature would import each TOC as a separate entity (probably this would work also for indexes).The Merge feature would honor your per section specified page numbering in the combined document (and also in the table(s) of contents).

Parts can have same style names (and preferably should if you want to create one common TOC). It is a good idea to use sectioning, because multiple TOCs can create section specific lists so if you have multiple, this is not a problem. The styles of multiple TOCs can conflict but you can specify at merge time how the conflicts should be handled. If headings have automatic numbering, it should not be a problem as long as you have specified starting numbers manually (so that numbering from each section is retained).

If you have very large publication, I'd process TOCs separately and then combine them because if you have one publication with hundreds of pages, you might experience problems (sluggishness, at least).You should be able to sort the index alphabetically by using e.g. Word or LibreOffice, but it not, there might be point in creating backups of each of the composing document and then trying merging.

EDIT: Note that if you create a digital document and want to retain links between indexes and page numbers, you'd need to merge your documents and then create an index that covers the whole document. I also tested and you cannot create multiple indexes per document (e.g. section wise). EDIT2: ...and if you merge documents with multiple indexes you do get correct index entries and page numbers (provided that each of your part were correctly paginated), but only one true index, and referring page numbers linked would not point to the original section-based (relative) page number but the new document-based page number. So in wrong places. But if your index needs to be print-only then you could keep the documents separate, combine the indexes, and sort the entries e.g. in Word or LibreOffice Writer.

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8 minutes ago, Lagarto said:

Parts can have same style names (and preferably should ...

Not can, not preferably but Should or even Must. It is just good sense and you will save yourself many, many headaches when you compile the multiple documents together. Make a template with all the styles you will need and base each document on those styles, if you make changes in one then you have to import and replace the styles in each document.


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This is something that needs to be included in the next version of Publisher. The book I'm working on is 248 pages full colour and one file would be over 100 Mb. This would result in the program crashing, as it did when I had one file of 30Mb. I've had to split it into 18 files. 

All the designers I work with prepare files like this so we need to be able to compile a TOC and Index from all the separate .afpub files.

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6 hours ago, WAZZAJ said:

All the designers I work with prepare files like this so we need to be able to compile a TOC and Index from all the separate .afpub files

Agree. If you only need print version, and you have images as links,  you could perhaps as a workaround rename the image source folder so that images are not found, and see if merging this way would only import text to get a manageable file size so that you could generate the TOC and the index. Just an idea.

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Interesting idea. I’ll have a play. The TOC is a minor issue as I can do it by hand. Index is another matter.

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