A great a table of contents plugin in your wordpress blog can help you automatically design a short summary of your long articles in an easy to use and customizable environment.

With the new SEO trend, blog posts are getting longer. What used to be 500-600 words in average has now jumped up to 3000-5000 words.

Writing a blog post with long content is easy. The headache is on how to present this information in an effective, easy to read way for the readers.

No blog reader has the time or need for going through huge chunks of data, even if it is the best content in the world. Nobody cares. The presentation part is equally important.

Cluttered data given to users will lead to less time on page and higher bounce rates. Which in turn will affect your search engine ranking, See what Google says about how bounce rates might affect the seo.

One way to give users a give summary of your long blog writings is by creating a table of contents at the beginning of the post. For WordPress, there are a dozen of plugins available that will do the job for you within a click.

Of course, there are paid ones and free ones. As far as functionality is concerned the free ones will just do the job for you.

Now that Gutenberg editor is here, plugins with greater Gutenberg compatibility will be chosen. So, let’s dive right into the top free table of contents plugins. The below list in not in any particular order, feel free to try any of them.

TABLE OF CONTENTS PLUGINS – THE BEST FREE ONES

Easy Table of Contents

As the name goes by, it’s a very straightforward plugin. You get to choose the settings in WordPress admin settings panel itself. This plugin lands in the category of set once and then forget plugins. Which means, once the settings are properly configured, the plugin will automatically insert the table of contents to every post type that you’ve enabled support for.

easy table of contents demo screenshot
easy table of contents live demo with default settings

You get all the customization options you can expect from a table of contents plugin with Easy ToC. I’ll be listing out a few here.

Easy Table of Contents feature list:

  • You get to choose the post types to enable support for table of contents. This includes – posts,pages, custom css, changesets, oembed responses,user requests, blocks
  • You can then choose the post types where you want to automatically insert the table of contents.
  • You the get to choose the position to display it, the header label, initial view settings and more.
  • For styling you get to choose the width, font size, style and themes.
  • Not enough? You can go ahead and completely customize the theme by selecting background color,border color,title color,link color,link hover color,link visited color
  • Furthermore, you have advanced settings to select the heading types to include in the table of contents, smooth scroll customization and lot more.

RTOC – Rich Table of Contents

Rich Table of Contents or RTOC is very similar to Easy Table of Contents plugin in terms of functionality expect that you get short-code to manually place the table of contents anywhere in your article. RTOC stands out with it well designed settings panel. One feature i really love about RTOC is that it shows you a live demo of how your table of contents page will look like in the settings panel itself.

Rich tables of contents demo
Rich tables of contents plugin working live demo in default settings

Rich table of contents plugin is loaded with features. The fact that these features are laid out to you in an intuitive UI makes it easier to use.

RTOC feature list

  • The basic setting allows you to change the title, the page types to display the table of contents, font and display conditions
  • The design settings lets you tune the basic design. You can choose the Title alignment here, H2,H3 heading list design (which i love), frame design and animations.
  • Further you get to choose the theme from a set of 6 amazing preset themes. Or you can design your own themes if you’re into it.
  • For advanced users you get settings to toggle button to return to the table of contents and more.

Ultimate Addons for Gutenberg

Love or hate Gutenberg, this plugin comes in handy if you’re looking manually add a table of contents to your blog post. Ultimate Addons for Gutenberg comes with advanced blocks for the WordPress Gutenberg editor. It has 20+ extra blocks for Gutenberg editor and Table of Contents block is one of them. Unlike the previous plugins, with this you’ll have to manually add the table of contents block to each post. So if you’re looking add table of contents to some of your older posts this shouldn’t be the one you must be installing.

Once added as a block, the plugin will generate a table of contents based on your headings.

Ultimate Addons for Gutenberg
Adding a block via Ultimate Addons for Gutenberg
Automatically generated table of contents by Ultimate Addons for Gutenberg

Ultimate Addons for Gutenberg Feature list

For the features of Ultimate Addons for Gutenberg plugin, we will only be focusing on what the table of contents block is offering.

Ultimate Addons for Gutenberg table of contents settings
Content customization for the table of contents block in Ultimate Addons for Gutenberg

Ultimate Addons for Gutenberg table of contents body styling
Styling for the table of contents block in Ultimate Addons for Gutenberg
  • In general settings it allows us to choose the headings to be part of the table of contents.
  • The plugin offers options to control the scroll settings and even has an option to add a scroll to top button.
  • It does offer a lot of customization in terms of styling. You can change every design aspect of the table of contents area with options to choose the colors for text,background,headings, bullet points and c 8 different border stylings. Additionally you have the option to control the width and padding parameters of the table of contents box.

LuckyWP Table of Contents

LuckyWP Table of Contents has options for both automatic insertion or Gutenberg/shortcode insertion. The Table of Contents settings are given under WordPress settings dashboard . You get all the needy customization options with this plugin as well. Though it features a Gutenberg block, you can’t have a real time preview of how your block will look in the editor itself.

LuckyWP Table of Contents in action
LuckyWP Table of Contents live demo with default options.

LuckyWP Table of Contents features

  • Under general settings, this plugin offers options to change the title, toggle show/hide, choose minimal count of headings to enable the table of contents and more.
  • For customizing the appearance you get options to choose the width, font size, weight and color schemes. The plugin has 5 color scheme options to choose from or you can create a color scheme of your own.
  • Besides, you have option to enable auto insert for post types which are selected.

GutenTOC – Advance Table of Content for Gutenberg

GutenTOC enables you add to a table of contents via Gutenberg block. Once you add the block via Gutenberg editor, the plugin will It will automatically generate an advanced table of contents summary. The plugin offers fair amount of customization

GutenTOC Table of Contents
Adding GutenTOC via WordPress editor
GutenTOC demo
GutenTOC Table of Contents live demo

GutenTOC feature list

GutenTOC settings
GutenTOC spacing and margin settings
  • Like all other table of contents plugin, GutenTOC also features the basic option to choose the heading tags that will be listed.
  • The plugin does have options to change list style type which is kind of kind of unique among the plugins listed here.
  • You also have the option to change Click Icon Type for the show/hide label.
  • For styling, the plugin gives you options change background, anchor and border colors, along with customization to margin and padding sizes.

Ultimate Blocks – Gutenberg Blocks Plugin

Ultimate Blocks is another Gutenberg blocks plugin that comes with a table of contents block. The level customization this plugin offers the table of contents block is close to zero. Hey, But it will work for you if you’re looking for a very simple content summary, along with a few extra Gutenberg blocks. I’ll only recommend this plugin, if you’re into any other blocks that this plugin offers.

Ultimate blocks plugin blocks
Adding table of contents via Ultimate blocks
demo of Ultimate blocks plugin
Default table of contents with Ultimate blocks plugin

Ultimate Blocks Table of Contents block feature list

Ultimate blocks settings
Ultimate blocks table of contents customization options
  • As mentioned above, the feature list of this block is minimal. You get options to choose the headings to be included or excluded form the table of contents.
  • You also get an an options to allow users to toggle the visibility of the table of contents and to enable smooth scrolling. That’s it.