TOC (Index) has letters instead of page numbers

My index was behaving itself and used to look like this:

After updating, it looks like this:

I believe it happened after I moved a section of the document which included a level 3 header.

I want arabic numbers, not letters. How do I fix it?

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Check the Page style for the pages with letters as numbering. When you have letters in the TOC, you will also have them at the bottom or top of the corresponding pages. In the page style dialog window, page tab, you can select the style for the page number: Arabic, Roman, anything else. Set it back to Arabic.

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Is there a technical reason to use sections? Sections are legitimate primarily to change temporarily the number of columns in the page. Other that that, they complicate seriously your document structure and suffer a few bugs.

I could not find the pencil icon to edit my original document so I used comment instead:
I am using LibreOffice (X86_64) build 9f56dff12ba03b9acd7730a5a…

My operating System is Windows 10 Pro version 21H2.

I have a 64-bit operating system, x64-based processor.

I have attached the file in question. It is a self written instruction guide that helps me to understand GNUCash. It is a .odt document.

000 GnuCash Hard Earned3.odt (465.8 KB)

Thank you to floris_v. When I removed letters from Styles/Number: and replaced it with numbers, the TOC went back to behaving itself.

ajlittoz, I am using 2 sections but this happened accidentally. The second section starts on page 45 and I can’t work out how to remove it. It had the header ‘How to Manipulate Reports’. I have deleted the header but that has not removed the section. If it had, I should have the same header information of previous pages. Ideas?

No, your document has absolutely no section. In Writer word section has not the same meaning as in Word (if this is your reference). Page styles are roughly equivalent to Word sections. Writer sections designates parts of a page with usually a different number of columns than the page. Being part of a page, a section has no header/footer of its own. Even when a section spans a page boundary, header and footer remain those of the page style.

Globally, your document is a real mess, structure-wise. It is plagued with direct formatting preventing you from controlling centrally your document layout. In addition direct formatting encourages inconsistency (for example, your intermittent use of Tab at start of Heading 2 headings instead of defining a “standard” left indent either in Heading 2 paragraph style or, better, in Tools>Chapter Numbering.

Most of your document contents comes from copy of some internet forum(s). This was pasted without precaution resulting in a multitude of formatting, importing the original one as direct formatting.

Another example of direct formatting is your forced page break before Heading 1 headings. Anyway you’re inconsistent with it: some have no preceding page break. It would be better and more consistent to always have this page break. It can then be configured directly in the Heading 1 Text Flow tab of the paragraph style.
Including the page break in the paragraph style doesn’t forbid to Insert>More Breaks>Manual Break manually to occasionally change the page style. This is what you did at top of page 45 to switch to How to Manipulate Reports page style and again somewhere (where?) to switch to About Accounts. This latter style is marked as used but I couldn’t find where.
If you want to remove the switch, edit the page break.

You also have direct formatting to vertically space your text instead of relying on paragraph styles which have (vertical) spacing parameters in their configuration. You were not careful with these empty paragraphs. Some of them are styled Heading n resulting in spurious blank lines in the TOC (which you probably removed manually).

There too many issues in your document to list them all. They all are more or less related to direct formatting. I recommend you read the Writer Guide and learn how to use styles.

Ouch ajlittoz, you are a hard taskmaster.

Indeed, before I switched to LibreOffice I used MS Office but balked at using their subscription model. Before that I did Word Processing on Commodore Amigas and before that BBC computers (the education version of its Electron).

The Writer document I am having trouble with is quite an old document. It probably started life as a .docx and at some stage I ported it to .odt. The document exists to help me when I have issues with using GNUCash. I often forget how something is done or fixed and having the document helps me remember, hence the ‘Hard Earned’ title.

I am much better at using LibreOffice than I used to be and I agree that I have made Word style assumptions that are false with Writer. I have spent some time correcting but you are right, the document is a mess so I have concentrated more on cosmetics than structure.

I have corrected the TOC to my satisfaction and the default page header now runs through the whole document.

The problem with the header was in 2 places, page 44 and the last page, 66. They were fixed by getting rid of the previous page break and pressing Ctrl + Enter again.

I can’t believe how much I blundered along as I was learning LibreOffice.

The problem with letters instead of numbers in the TOC and page headers was caused by using Styles/Number/a, b, c instead of Styles/Number/1, 2, 3 in the Page section of the sidebar. I imagine I was trying to change the way ordered lists were displaying and got it wrong.

I do not know how the headers ended up with a tab before the first letter of the text. I have manually removed them. When I insert a new header, the tab is still being inserted. How do I fix that?

I have looked in both Edit (Header) Style and Tools>Chapter Numbering but can’t see where the problem is. I want each Header to be on the left margin each time I invoke it.

Cheers and thanks for the help so far.

This random tab in your headings+ may be a consequence of the long history of your document, notably its “pollution” by initial Word encoding. Since you have no number on your headings, no extra character should be added, but this is however done in some circumstances (usually after the document has been “damaged”). You can fix that in Tools>Chapter Numbering, Position tab by selecting Number followed by Nothing.

(+) Vocabulary caveat: a heading is a title at the beginning of a logical part of your document (chapter, sub-chapter …) while a header is some constant text repeated, unchanged, at top of every page.

And I didn’t mention your graphical additions. It is much better to handle them in Draw, group the various elements so that they are finally a single object and paste this single object where you want. Also, don’t use arrows to “link” text and images. You can’t anchor an arrow so that one end is at a precise character position in text and the other one at some location in the image. Whenever you edit your text, your carefully positioned arrow will lose its sync. Replace this with a label such as “A” or “1” which can be referred to in text and add it in the image (either spot on position, or aside with an arrow). You separate text (with a textual label) from image (with a duplicated graphical label). The image can “float” from its anchor paragraph and edits won’t affect the understanding.

Thank you ajlittoz, your help has been invaluable. After a solid 2 days of research using your prompts, I have solved many issues that were previously a mystery to me.

There is still a lot to investigate but my primary lesson has been to not assume Word and Writer are almost identical.

After adequately correcting my GNUCash document I went to record my learnings in my ‘Hard Earned’ LibreOffice document. What a disaster it was at first.

Now all is good and I am very grateful to you.

The first “hard learnt” lesson is “Writer is not Word”. They differ in many aspects though their goal is almost the same. To extract the maximum out of Writer, learn to use Styles. I mean all styles, not only paragraph styles which have approximate equivalents in Word, but also character, page, “list” styles. The latter is very badly named because it deals with the multi-level sequence counter and takes over the paragraph left indent. It is not sufficient by itself to build a list; you need to attach it to some paragraph or paragraph style. And if you are not scared, learn also about frame styles. They are really difficult to tame but they offer very neat predictable solutions to images or side text layout.

I reiterate my advice to read the Writer Guide and also Bruce Byfield’s Designing with LO (the latter puts a strong emphasis on styles).