Although the EPUB navigation document provides navigation capabilities for
the publication as a whole, embedding tables of contents within the body can further facilitate
comprehension and navigation (e.g., a table of contents in the front matter or a reduced table of
contents or mini tables of contents at the start of each section).
If you embed other tables of contents in the body of your publication, try to construct them in the same
way as the navigation document — using the nav element and ordered lists. Lists
simplify access as assistive technologies typically provide hotkeys to move through them more
The EPUB Samples Project contains the following
publications that include embedded tables of contents:
Mahabharata — uses the hidden attribute to hide additional
Do I have to use the navigation document in the body?
No, it's just a convenience. If the navigation document format is too restrictive or otherwise not
conducive to your needs, you can create your own for the body. As a table of contents in the body
is not explicitly an accessibility aid, you have greater freedom to lay it out how you need.
Maintaining an accessible structure to it is still recommended, however.