These instructions were prepared for Microsoft Word 2002, but is probably useful for many other versions.
To create a table of contents, you must create the document using the Heading 1, Heading 2, Heading 3, etc., styles. If you have done so, you can automatically create a table of contents.
This is pretty obvious from Word help. Getting the page numbers to behave is not.
By "right," I mean use italics for page numbers of the table of contents, and then switch to Arabic numerals for the main document, with the first page of the main document numbered "1".
Here is what you do.
First you need to divide the document into two sections. The first will contain the table of contents, and the second will contain the main document. (You may need other sections for the cover page and appendices. The same procedure will work for these.) The only thing that is not clear from Word's help is how to get the right section break in the right place. Here is how:
You now have your document in two sections. The first section contains the table of contents, and the second contains the main document.
All we need to do now is get the page numbering correct.
You should now have the table of contents numbered in italics, and the main document numbered with Arabic numerals starting at 1.
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