Mixed Page Number Formats in a TOC

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated March 26, 2022)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021


Paul has a large Word document that starts with two sections that contain, respectively, the abstract and the change history. These contain Roman numeral page numbers, while the third section (the main body) contains Arabic page numbers. When he creates a Table of Contents, it shows all page numbers in Arabic, including those for the first two sections. Paul wonders how to get the TOC to reflect the proper Roman and Arabic page numbers.

The page numbers in the TOC should reflect the formatting applied to the page numbers in the document. And, in my testing, this is exactly what they do—maintain the formatting used for the page numbers.

This means that something is probably amiss in how the page numbers are put together in the document. You'll want to check the following:

  1. Don't directly type the page numbers. Make sure they are added to the document header or footer using the Page field. This ensures that the page numbers automatically update as you edit your document.
  2. Make sure there are actual section breaks between each of your sections.
  3. For the header or footer containing the page number field, make sure that the "Link to Previous" setting is turned off (deselected) for all sections.
  4. For your first two sections, use the Page Number Format dialog box to specify that the page numbers should be in your Roman numeral format of choice. (To display the Page Number Format dialog box, place the insertion point in the section you want to affect, click the Page Number tool on the Insert tab of the ribbon, and choose Format Page Numbers.)
  5. For your third section, use the same Page Number Format dialog box to make sure that Arabic page number formatting is specified, and that the page numbers are not continuous—they should start at 1.
  6. Position your insertion point where you want your TOC. Display the References tab of the ribbon, click the Table of Contents tool, and choose the TOC style you want to use.

If these pointers and steps are followed, then your TOC should reflect the proper page number formatting, as defined in the sections of your document.

There is one other thing to keep in mind—the Track Changes tool can mess up your page numbering. You will want to make sure that you resolve (accept or reject) any markup, and then update all the fields in your document. (This last part is important, as page numbers are generated with field codes, as previously mentioned.)

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (9304) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...


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What is two more than 2?

2022-03-26 13:49:39


To make it easier, how do you achieve "F-1, F-2, etc. in a footer? Thank you

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