How to Force an NCX Table of Contents for your Kindle book using Calibre for free

Categories Learn, Improve, Discover

If you’re creating a Kindle book for the first time, then you might it frustrating that the Microsoft Word-based process doesn’t yield a functioning NCX Table of Contents (The ToC using the Kindle menu) for your book when it’s directly uploaded to Amazon Kindle.

Let’s find out how we can fix that using Calibre, a free eBook and multi-OS reader that can be downloaded here.

NOTE: This process is the same for Windows and Mac OS, as the applications are common between them.

Download and install the following free applications:


Kindle Previewer

First, save your Word document as Web Page, Filtered.

Next, open up Calibre. At first, the user interface may be overwhelming but following the next steps will help you find your way.

Our aim is to use Calibre to force a Table of Contents using the bookmarked ToC that you will have already set up in Word. If you don’t know how to create a manually-typed and bookmarked Table of Contents, please follow Step 20b of the excellent and free Smashwords Style Guide, found here.

Because Amazon only uses MOBI files generated by its own Kindle applications, we will use Calibre to create a format-friendly ePub file that we’ll then safely import into the Kindle Previewer, creating the complete MOBI file you will upload to Amazon for publishing. The Kindle Previewer is also useful for previewing all of the functions of your book, whether it is the correct page break layout between chapters or the overall look and feel of your book on a Kindle device or app.

Go into Calibre’s Preferences and select Common options under the Conversion heading.

Under the Table of Contents sub-heading, check Force use of auto-generated Table of Contents and click Apply. Close the window afterwards.

Because we want to upload our cover separately from the manuscript file, it’s best to make sure that no default cover is generated by Calibre when we create our ePub file. Select Output options in the Preferences window and under EPUB output, check No default cover.

Click Apply and close the Preferences window.

Click Add books to add your Word-generated HTML file.

Select your book and click Convert books. Make sure to select ePub as the file output. If you see that the book cover section displays the same blue ornate book cover as above, then it’s correct as that’s a placeholder image for no covers. If you see any other image, please delete that cover.

Make sure that the Force use of auto-generated Table of Contents option is checked.

Click OK and the ePub will generate. Right-click the newly created file and select Open Containing Folder. Save the ePub file into an easily accessible folder for the Kindle Previewer application to use.

Open up Kindle Previewer and select Open Book. Select your ePub file and let the application process the file for use.

After Kindle Previewer has processed the book, check the Table of Contents by selecting the ToC menu.

Use the Previewer to check the functionality of your book. Export the book, which will save it as a MOBI file ready for upload to Amazon.