Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Paragraph Numbers in a TOC.

Paragraph Numbers instead of Page Numbers in a TOC

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated September 12, 2015)

The main part of David's document consists of a series of numbered paragraphs. He wonders how he can get a table of contents using paragraph numbers instead of page numbers.

There are two primary ways that a TOC can be created in Word—using styles or using TC field codes. If you use the method that relies on styles, all you need to do is make sure that the paragraphs utilize a style that is automatically included in the TOC. Follow these general steps:

  1. Create a style that will be applied to your headings. The style could include any numbering that you desire.
  2. Apply the style to your headings.
  3. Position the insertion point where you want your TOC.
  4. Display the References tab of the ribbon.
  5. At the left of the ribbon click the Table of Contents tool. Word displays a few options.
  6. Click Insert Table of Contents. Word displays the Table of Contents dialog box.
  7. Click on the Options button. Word displays the Table of Contents Options dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  8. Figure 1. The Table of Contents Options dialog box.

  9. In the list of styles, find the style you created in step 1. Change the TOC Level column to reflect which TOC level you want associated with that style.
  10. Click on OK to close the Table of Contents Options dialog box.
  11. Clear the Show Page Numbers check box.
  12. Click on OK to close the Index and Tables dialog box and generate the table of contents.

Your TOC should now include the special headings, with the number intact. Further, there is no page number beside each TOC entry.

Now, all this being said, you may not really want to include the numbered paragraphs themselves in the TOC. Instead, you may have a document where each paragraph is numbered with the exception of your headings, and you want the heading—when it appears in the TOC—to include the number of the first paragraph after the heading, instead of a page number.

If this is your need, then there really is no easy way to accomplish the task in Word. The closest you can come is to set up a series of TC fields, but have those fields be attached to the first paragraph after the heading. You can then, in the TC field, manually type the heading name and the number for the paragraph. When you generate the TOC based on the TC fields, then you'll see the paragraph numbers appear. Of course, since you added the numbers manually, any change in the paragraph numbers will require you to go back and manually change the TC fields to include the changed numbers.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (10665) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Paragraph Numbers in a TOC.

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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