Creating a Table of Contents in Word

(and getting the page numbers right)

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.

  1. Two empty lines above the text of the first page of the document, and place your cursor at the beginning of the first empty line.
  2. Select Insert > Reference > Index and Tables.
  3. Click on Table of Contents, modify any settings you like, and click OK.

This is pretty obvious from Word help. Getting the page numbers to behave is not.

Getting page numbering right

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:

  1. Click on the paragraph icon to show formatting markup.
  2. Place your cursor on the empty line between the table of contents and the main document. (There should be no page break here.
  3. Click Insert > Break.... > Section break types, Next Page.

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.

  1. Click into the table of contents, so that your cursor is in the first section.
  2. Click Insert > Page Numbers
  3. Choose the Position and Alignment you prefer, and then click the Format button.
  4. In the Page Number Format window, choose "i, ii, iii, ..." as the Number format.
  5. If you want a different starting page number, you may select it in this window.
  6. Click OK, OK. Your table of contents should now have proper page numbering.
  7. Now click anywhere after the section break in the main document.
  8. Click Insert > Page Numbers
  9. Choose the Position and Alignment you prefer, and then click the Format button.
  10. In the Page Number Format window, choose "1, 2, 3, ..." as the Number format.
  11. In this same window, under "Page numbering", choose "Start at", "1".

You should now have the table of contents numbered in italics, and the main document numbered with Arabic numerals starting at 1.

Miscellaneous tips and info

Rick Matthews