My book file has a document that contains two separate tables of contents: one occupies pages 1-2 and the other one is on page 3. When I export to PDF, all the items on both TOCs become bookmarks in the PDF. That's great.

But for some reason, the contents of the second TOC (on page 3) comes first in the PDF bookmark list. The contents of the first TOC (on pages 1-2) follows after it. I don't understand why the two TOCs are being ordered this way.

I looked through all the options in the Table of Contents Style dialog box but nothing seemed to be relevant to this issue. I couldn't find any answers on Google or Lynda.com either. Does anyone know what settings might control the ordering here?

  • 3
    I don't have any answer for you, but I will suggest that you go to indesignsecrets.com and search for information there. You can also post this question on their forum. Not to shortchange any of the InDesign users on this site--but the people at InDesign Secrets really seem to like figuring out exactly this type of problem--one where InDesign seems to work in exactly the opposite way that one would expect.
    – magerber
    Commented Jun 27, 2017 at 17:16
  • Thanks, I'll do that. I thought to post here first as I'm a big fan of Stack Exchange. If the question was not answered after a few days my next plan was to try indesignsecrets.com or the Adobe forums.
    – peacetype
    Commented Jun 27, 2017 at 22:43
  • I am also a big fan of SE--just wanted to point you towards indesignsecrets in case you weren't aware of it. :-)
    – magerber
    Commented Jun 28, 2017 at 15:01
  • 1
    I cannot (unfortunately) recreate your issue. However, please note that Windows > Interactive object > Bookmark panel has a "sorting" feature. It does sort all bookmarks in regard of page ordering. Any chance you used that sorting issue while entries in Toc 2 (page3) refer to pages that would come first? That would explain, but that's my only guess on this one. Besides, can you open that Bookmarks panel and tell us if the output order is the same? Should be, otherwise, looks like a bug. Also, you can try deleting all bookmarks and updating your TOCs, then check order again.
    – Vinny
    Commented Jun 29, 2017 at 8:42

1 Answer 1


Thanks to Vinny's suggestions, I discovered the cause of the problem. The order that your bookmarks appear in the Bookmarks panel in InDesign depends on which TOC you generate first.

In my case, I have two TOCs. I could not understand why the second TOC's items were appearing before the first TOC's items in the Bookmarks panel. The reason is because I updated the second TOC before I updated the first TOC. Whichever TOC you have updated most recently will have its contents listed at the bottom of the Bookmarks panel.

I resolved the issue by updating the first TOC first, then the second TOC. Another way you could attempt to deal with a similar problem is, as Vinny suggested, to use the Sort Bookmarks command which is located under the drop-down menu in the Bookmarks panel. This seemed to sort all the bookmarks listed in the panel according to where the items appear in my documents (which may or not may be what you want).

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