This has been asked before, but I've seen no answers: how do I give my inDesign TOC different character styles than those they have in the text of the document?

I have created a TOC from designated paragraph styles, but the resulting TOC is in the big giant text used for my chapter headings, and I want to use font more appropriate for the table.

I thought this was what the "Style < Entry Style" pull-down menu was for; I have created separate "TOC" styles to use as the "Entry style," but I'm not sure what that does, because nothing looks like the TOC style I entered. I've also changed the "Basic Character" settings in the original Chapter Heading paragraph style to be what I'd want for the TOC, but this made no difference (and oddly, it didn't change the character style of the Chapter Headings in the text?).

Furthermore, when I manually override the default character styles in the TOC by highlighting and selecting my desired character style, it just reverts back to the undesired default as soon as I change anything.

Frustrating. Please help me get my TOC in the desired font!

  • There's a tutorial here which might help you style a table of contents
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Mar 28, 2018 at 9:24
  • Thank you, I had used this helpful tutorial for setting up my styles, etc, which outlined how one would assign a designated "Entry Style" for desired appearance of TOC content. However, even with my TOC-specific styles that I created entered into this field, the resulting display is still with the font from the body of the text. I am confused as to why this would be, since this seems to be the piece that would define the Entry Style (as titled)...
    – wgoodell
    Commented Mar 29, 2018 at 0:52

1 Answer 1


If I understand correctly, you seem to have character styles manually applied in your headers text, right?

If that so, TOC does retain the character styles indeed.

Like this:


Now, my first question is: do you have to apply character styles to your headers? I mean, do they have to look like the example above or do your headers have a consistent formatting that would not require the use of a character style? In which case, you should apply no character style and use only paragraph style.

If you need to keep your character styles, as per the example, then there are different approaches to get rid of the unwanted formatting in your TOC:

  • First, you could simply select your TOC frame and select [None] character style. This is fast and easy but you will have to redo it every time you update your TOC. Besides, if you use character styles to format the numbering or the spacing, they will be removed too.

  • You could remove them using Find/Replace > Grep tab > find .+(?=~y) to find anything up to right-align tab (or find .+(?=\t) for a normal tab) and replace by [none] character style. This will prevent numbering and spacing formatting from being removed, but again, you will have to redo this after every TOC updating.

  • A much better approach would be not to apply the character style manually but to use either a Grep style or a nested style. This way, formatting will not be retained by TOC.
    Not knowing how you designed your document, hard to give further advice, but see example below:


Hope that helps...


  • Yes, the problem was in manual character styles applied to chapter headings. Since the chapter headings were to have the same character styles, I could set these within the Paragraph Styles, but switching Character Styles to "None" was the key.
    – wgoodell
    Commented Mar 31, 2018 at 1:23

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