I am creating a table of contents for a book, and there are 4 ways of splitting information up. The biggest zones are 'Chapters', those can span several pages; these are bold, underlined and in large font.

Secondly are 'Modules', these are in bold and are color coded, and break only larger chapters up; else, they're not used.

Thirdly there are 'Sections', these are what group tasks together and either split up chapters or modules (if used); these are underlined.

And lastly there are 'Tasks' themselves, these sometimes don't exist if the section is fairly straight forward; they have no formatting.

Example: A chapter could be 'Windows Setup'. Modules could be 'Textmode', 'graphical', and 'OOBE'. Sections could be 'New Installation' and 'Repair/Upgrade'. Tasks could be 'format the drive', 'set the date & time' and 'choose a password'.

  • Question 1. Is this a good way to lay everything out?

  • Question 2. Does anybody know of a word to use instead of 'tasks/task'?

1 Answer 1


Many of the technical books I read have two tables of contents: a short, broad list, and a detailed list. I find this format useful.

Synonyms for 'task' include 'job', 'project' and 'labour'. However, for technicial books repeating words can be helpful for the reader.

  • hmm I got told not to repeat parts of the book as 'nobody wants that'
    – J. Doe
    Commented Oct 2, 2015 at 17:30
  • 1
    I'm not suggesting repeating parts of the book. Instead I'm saying consistent wording can be helpful. So, for example, every chapter may have a section titled 'Project for you to try'. Commented Oct 2, 2015 at 18:01
  • I use words like choose, select, enable/disable show/hide add/remove, make, allow/disallow for the names of tasks, as well as jargon names
    – J. Doe
    Commented Oct 2, 2015 at 19:07
  • 1
    If having two Tables of Contents isn't an option, you can also have a general, simplified TOC and a more detailed one at the beginning of each section. Commented Oct 3, 2015 at 1:40

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.