Create a Table of Contents With Roman Numerals For Page Numbers

You will learn how to create a table of contents (TOC) for a paper in APA format where:

  • the title page has no page number
  • the table of contents has Roman numerals (e.g., i, ii, iii, iv) for page numbers
  • every other page has Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3, 4) for page numbers

The table of contents itself will:

  • be double line spaced
  • have the same font type and size as the rest of the paper

Figure 1 shows the Table of Contents with Roman numerals for page numbers in APA format.

Table of Contents (TOC) with Roman numerals for page numbers in APA formatFigure 1: Table of Contents with Roman numeral for page number

Table of Contents in APA Format

First, check that the table of contents is in APA format ( double line spaced, same font type and size as the rest of the paper).

If not, see how to format the table of contents in APA format.

When to Create a Table of Contents

The can create a table of contents anytime you like. But you do need to set your headings in Microsoft Word as follows:

  • APA Level 1 headings to Outline level 1
  • APA Level 2 headings to Outline level 2
  • APA Level 3 headings to Outline level 3

You can add, change or delete your headings at anytime.

Create a Table of Contents

Now you are ready to actually create a table of contents.

If you have already set up the page numbering to begin at i after the table of contents, go to generate the table of contents.

Set Up the Page Numbering

Place the title page in section 1, and Table of Contents in section 2 (see Figure 1).

A section break is placed at the end of the tile pageFigure 2: Insert section break between the title page and table of contents

Figure 2 instructions (if required) are as follows:

  1. Place the cursor at the end of the title page.
  2. Select the Layout tab in the ribbon.
  3. Select Breaks.
  4. Select Next Page or Continuous.
    Next Page will insert a section break and a new page if you do not have a page for the table of contents. You are just making room for the table of contents to be inserted later.
    Continuous will insert a section break only. This is for when you have already have a page for the table of contents.
    The title page will be in section 1 of your Word document.
    The table of contents will be in section 2 of your Word document.

Set Up the Page Numbers for the Table of Contents. Roman numeral page numbers are set for the table of contents (see Figures 36).

Break the header link between the title page and the table of contents pageFigure 3: Remove link between the title and table of contents page

Figure 3 instructions (if required) are as follows:

  1. Open the header of the page that will contain, or contains, the table of contents (click at the top of page).
  2. Click on Link to Previous.
    This breaks the link between the headers of the title page and the table of contents.
    This will enable the headers to be different - the title page will not have a page number, and the table of contents will have a page number in Roman numerals.
    Note: You must have done the steps in Figure 2, that is, created a section 2. If you haven't, the Link to Previous button will be greyed out, and not available.
  3. Select Page Number.
  4. Select Format Page Numbers.

You will now format the table of contents page number(s) in Roman numeral format (see Figure 4).

Format table of contents page numbers in Roman numeral formatFigure 4: Table of contents page numbers in Roman numeral format

Figure 4 instructions (if required) are as follows:

  1.  Select the Roman numeral format for the number format
    The page number in section 2 will be formatted in Roman numeral format.
  2. Select Start at i (Roman numeral for 1).
  3. Select OK.

You will now insert the page number in APA format in the header of the Table of Contents pages (see Figure 5).

Position page number at top of pageFigure 5: Position page number at top of page

Figure 5 instructions (if required) are as follows:

  1. Select Page Number.
    A submenu is opened.
  2. Select Top of Page.

You will now position the page number in APA format, which is against the right margin.

Right align the page number in section 2Figure 6: Place page number against right margin for section 2

Figure 6 instruction (if required) is as follows:

  • Select Plain Number 3.

The first page after the table of contents page will start at number 1.

Generate the Table of Contents

You can generate the table of contents anytime you like, and update as you create new headings.

However, you should generate a new table of contents as the last thing you do to make sure your table of contents is correct.

Even adding, changing or deleting text can change page numbers.

Select References, then Table of Contents in Microsoft WordFigure 7: Open Table of Contents selections

Figure 7 instructions (if required) are:

  1. Select the References tab from the main menu.
  2. Select the Table of Contents in the Table of Contents group.

A dropdown menu with Table of Contents options will appear (see Figure 8).

Select Table of Contents with appropriate headingFigure 8: Select Table of Contents heading

Figure 8 instructions (if required) are:

  • Select Automatic Table 1 for the heading "Contents".
  • Select Automatic Table 2 for the heading "Table of Contents". 

The table of contents heading ("Table of Contents" or "Contents")  is the only difference between the two options.

Note: You may have to format the heading separately in APA format.

Update the Table of Contents

If the last thing you do before you submit your paper is to create a table of contents, then you do not need to update the table of contents.

However, you must update your table of contents if you add, change or delete a heading.

You should also update your table of contents if you add, change, or delete text or figures because page numbers may change.

Make sure to update the table of contents just before you submit your paper.

How to update the Table of Contents in WordFigure 9:Table of Contents update in Word

Figure 9 instructions (if required) are:

  1. Click anywhere inside the table of contents.
  2. Select Update Table.
    The Update Table of Contents box will appear.
  3. Select Update entire table.

Summary

To create a table of contents in APA format, where page numbering begins on the Table of Contents, you should (as shown above):

  • Create a new section separate from the title page.
  • Break the link between the title page section and the following section that contains the table of contents.
  • Make sure there is no page number on the title page.
  • Assign Microsoft Word Outline levels to each of your headings that are to appear in the table of contents.
  • Format your table of contents in APA format.
  • Create the table of contents, either during the writing process, or at the end.
  • Update the table of contents as you add, change, or delete headings and text.
  • Do a final update of the table of contents before submitting your paper.

See here for more information about how to create a table of contents.