16 “Automatic” Pages: Title Page & Table of Contents

Pressbooks builds your book “automatically”, and in doing so we add certain pages and other elements of your book. Here is a quick list of things we do automatically (and below you can find more detailed descriptions:

  • Title page (and in PDF, Half-title page)
  • Copyright page
  • Table of contents (optional in PDF, required in EPUB/MOBI)
  • Part and chapter numbers
  • Page numbers (in PDF)
  • Running headers/footers (in PDF, depending on the theme)

Title Page(s)

In conventional (print) book layout, there are usually two “title pages” … the Half-Title, which contains just the title of the book, and the Title Page which usually contains: title, subtitle, author, publisher, publisher city and possibly other things.

Pressbooks automatically generates a Title Page in PDF and EPUB/MOBI exports, and (in most themes) a Half-Title Page in PDF (but not EPUB or MOBI). See below for how to customize your Title Page).

The automatically-generated Title Page (and Half-Title) pulls information from the Book Info page (where information “about” your book is stored), and styles it appropriately. Most Pressbooks Title Pages are designed to include:

  • Title
  • Subtitle
  • Author
  • Publisher
  • Publisher city

Title and Author will be filled in automatically whether or not you visit the Book Info page; for the other items, if you do not add the information, then it will not show up on the Title Page.

If you wish to remove your half-title page, you will need to apply the Custom CSS theme, Edit CSS for your PDF, and make sure the half-title variable reads as follows in the book’s CSS.

#half-title-page {display: none;}

Making a Custom Title Page

You may want to replace the automatically-generated Title Page. To do this:

  1. Add a new Front-matter item.
  2. Select Front-matter Type = Title Page.
  3. Add your content (including images) and style it as you like.

If you want to take advantage of the Pressbooks Theme’s stylesheet for title page, then you will need to add the correct mark-up in the TEXT Editor, so that Pressbooks knows how to style your new Title Page. You can do this by using the following HTML in the TEXT Editor:

<h1 class=”title”>Title</h1>

<h2 class=”subtitle”>Subtitle</h2>

<h3 class=”author”>Author</h3>

<h4 class=”publisher”>Publisher</h4>

<h5 class=”publisher-city”>Publisher City</h5>

Table of Contents

In designing a book, sometimes you want a table of contents, and sometimes you don’t. Generally, books whose chapter titles are only numbers (Chapter One, Chapter Two etc) don’t need a table of contents. Books with named chapters usually (but not always) will want a TOC.

Pressbooks adds a TOC in all EPUB/MOBI outputs (good hygiene for ebooks).

Pressbooks allows you to decide whether you want a Table of Contents page in your PDF.

The table of contents automatically contain Part and Chapter Titles, Chapter numbers (optional, see below), Page numbers, and depending on the theme may also include Chapter subtitles, and Chapter Authors.

To add or remove the TOC page in PDF, go to:

Theme Options –> PDF Options –> Display table of contents (select or deselect as you wish).

Part and Chapter Numbers

Pressbooks can, if you choose, automatically generate chapter numbers for your book. To use this feature:

Theme Options –> Global Options –>  Display part and chapter numbers (select or deselect as you wish).


  • depending on the theme, chapter numbers may be styled as just a numeral (eg. “2” or “4” or “17” etc), or preceded by a word such as “Chapter”, so: “Chapter 2” or “Chapter 4” etc.
  • For ebooks, some ebook platforms will NOT display the preceding word, such as old Kindles, and many platforms that use Adobe’s ebook rendering engine.
  • Pressbooks cannot automatically generate word-numbers for your book, so we cannot produce eg: “One” or “Chapter Seven” (for this you can just name your chapters whatever you like).

Page Numbers (in PDF)


Page numbers are generated automatically in PDF outputs. In most themes, front matter will be given lower roman numeral page numbers (according to traditional book design practice), and the Main Body will have arabic numbers. Different themes will display page numbers in different ways.


Reflowable EPUBs and MOBIs don’t have fixed page numbers in the same way as print books — if you change the font-size, or screen-size, pagination changes. So our EPUBs and MOBIs do not have pagination.

Some publishers embed a reference to print page numbers in their ebooks. Pressbooks cannot do this automatically (at least not in any easy way), since the system doesn’t link an EPUB to a PDF — you might choose one theme for an EPUB and another for PDF, and Pressbooks has no way of connecting the two.

Running heads/feet


Traditional print books may have running heads or footers, which might include the book title, author name, chapter title etc. Most Pressbooks themes default to:

  • Left running head: Book Author
  • Right running head: Book Title

However, Pressbooks can populate running headers and footers with just about anything, if you are willing to do some customizing of your CSS. See Running Heads & Running Feet.


EPUBs and MOBIs don’t have running heads or footers, though many ereading platforms insert the title and sometimes the author to generate running headers. Pressbooks has no control over how ebook platforms display their running headers.


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Pressbooks User Guide by Book Oven Inc. (PressBooks.com) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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