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Table of Contents

A simple mode to create TOC in a well-formed markdown file.

Note that the TOC is well-formed if the markdown is (cf. #15).



Inside a markdown file, the first time, place yourself where you want to insert the TOC:

M-x markdown-toc-generate-toc

This will compute the TOC and insert it at current position.

You can also execute: M-x markdown-toc-generate-or-refresh-toc to either gnerate a TOC when none exists or refresh the currently existing one.

Here is one possible output:

<!-- markdown-toc start - Don't edit this section. Run M-x markdown-toc-refresh-toc -->
**Table of Contents**

- [Use](#use)
    - [Create](#create)
    - [Update](#update)
    - [Create elsewhere](#create-elsewhere)
- [Install](#install)
    - [emacs package repository](#emacs-package-repository)
        - [Setup](#setup)
            - [melpa stable](#melpa-stable)
            - [melpa](#melpa)
            - [marmalade](#marmalade)
        - [Install](#install)
    - [emacs-lisp file](#emacs-lisp-file)
- [Inspiration](#inspiration)

User toc manipulation

If the user would want to enhance the generated toc, (s)he could use the following function markdown-toc-user-toc-structure-manipulation-fn:

It expects as argument the toc-structure markdown-toc uses to generate the toc. The remaining code expects a similar structure.


'((0 . "some markdown page title")
  (0 . "main title")
  (1 . "Sources")
  (2 . "Marmalade (recommended)")
  (2 . "Melpa-stable")
  (2 . "Melpa (~snapshot)")
  (1 . "Install")
  (2 . "Load org-trello")
  (2 . "Alternative")
  (3 . "Git")
  (3 . "Tar")
  (0 . "another title")
  (1 . "with")
  (1 . "some")
  (1 . "heading"))

So for example, as asked in #16, one could drop the first element:

(custom-set-variables '(markdown-toc-user-toc-structure-manipulation-fn 'cdr))

Or drop all h1 titles... or whatever:

(require 'dash)
(custom-set-variables '(markdown-toc-user-toc-structure-manipulation-fn
  (lambda (toc-structure)
  (-filter (lambda (l) (let ((index (car l)))
                    (<= 1 index)))


To update the existing TOC, simply execute: M-x markdown-toc-refresh-toc

This will update the current TOC.

Create elsewhere

To create another updated TOC elsewhere, execute M-x markdown-toc-generate-toc again, this will remove the old TOC and insert the updated one from where you stand.


To remove a TOC, execute M-x markdown-toc-delete-toc.


Currently, you can customize the following:

  • markdown-toc-header-toc-start
  • markdown-toc-header-toc-title
  • markdown-toc-header-toc-end
  • markdown-toc-indentation-space

Customize them as following format:

 '(markdown-toc-header-toc-start "<!-- customized start-->")
 '(markdown-toc-header-toc-title "**customized title**")
 '(markdown-toc-header-toc-end "<!-- customized end -->")
 '(markdown-toc-indentation-space 4))

Minor mode

markdown-toc-mode provides a minor mode with the following default binding:

(setq markdown-toc-mode-map
      (let ((map (make-sparse-keymap)))
        (define-key map (kbd "C-c m .") 'markdown-toc-follow-link-at-point)
        (define-key map (kbd "C-c m t") 'markdown-toc-generate-or-refresh-toc)
        (define-key map (kbd "C-c m d") 'markdown-toc-delete-toc)
        (define-key map (kbd "C-c m v") 'markdown-toc-version)

To (de)activate this in an org file: /M-x markdown-toc-mode/

You can also use emacs to setup your own bindings.


emacs package repository

You need to add melpa or melpa-stable package repository before installing it.


melpa stable

(require 'package)
(add-to-list 'package-archives '("melpa-stable" .

Then hit M-x eval-buffer to evaluate the buffer's contents.


(require 'package)
(add-to-list 'package-archives '("melpa" .

Then hit M-x eval-buffer to evaluate the buffer's contents.


M-x package-install RET markdown-toc RET

emacs-lisp file

Retrieve the markdown-toc.el

Then hit M-x package-install-file RET markdown-toc.el RET


The problem I had with doctoc is the installation process. I do not want to install the node tools just for this.