Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365. 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: Two Types of Page Numbers in a TOC.

Two Types of Page Numbers in a TOC

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated May 9, 2024)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365


Peggy generated a table of contents (TOC) that displayed correctly. Without warning the page number for the first entry in the TOC changed from "iii" to "3". (The page number that appears in the footer for that page is "iii".) Peggy didn't touch the TOC; it just changed, and she can't get it to go back to "iii". She tried updating the TOC and it continues to display "3" in the TOC.

When compiling a table of contents, Word uses the same page number formatting as appears on the pages within the header or footer of each page. If the page number in the header or footer appears properly, then it should appear properly in the TOC.

You can verify this by selecting the entire document (press Ctrl+A) and updating all the fields in the document (press F9). In most documents both page numbers and tables of contents are implemented through the use of fields. When everything is updated, see if the page number appears properly in the TOC. If it doesn't, take a look at the page number that appears in the header or footer to see if it looks right.

If the page number looks wrong in the header or footer, then it is possible that a section break got deleted by mistake during routine editing. If the section break is still there, then it is possible that the page number format got messed up for the section that contains the page number. Either way, you will have some additional editing and formatting to do to get the situation straightened out.

If the page number looks OK in the header or footer, then it is possible that something is amiss with the styles used to display your TOC. You'll want to check the formatting specified for the styles to make sure that it is correct.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (13252) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Two Types of Page 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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