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I'm using the report document class for a thesis, and I need to add things like "Acknowledgements" and an "Introduction". I noticed that there is an \abstract command which would have been wonderful if applied similarly. How do I add these without messing up the chapters' numbering while being picked up by the ToC in proper order and page numbering?

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Are you really using \documentstyle? That's LaTeX2.09 (pre-1994) syntax. – Joseph Wright Nov 19 '11 at 22:56
@JosephWright: Without even thinking, I modified "documentstyle" to "document style" in the post. Not sure how intentional this was from the OP. – Werner Nov 19 '11 at 22:59
For unnumbered chapters, you could just use \chapter*{Acknowledgements} and \chapter*{Introduction}. These chapter will be formatted similarly to \chapter, without the number and not show up in the ToC. Subsequent chapters will be numbered 1, 2, ... Is this what you're after? Or are you interested in have something look similar to \abstract from the article document class? Note that the report document class does not provide \abstract, only an abstract environment. – Werner Nov 19 '11 at 23:02
I know that this seems like a potentially big shift, but I recommend the book class over the report class. That way you get the handy \frontmatter, \mainmatter and \backmatter switches that handle this for you. Otherwise it's not a lot different from report. – qubyte Nov 20 '11 at 4:33
@Werner: I appologize; I meant the abstract environment indeed. Yes it would be nice to have something like that for introductions and acknowledgements. – Ayman Elmasry Nov 22 '11 at 0:17
up vote 66 down vote accepted

To get unnumbered chapters, parts, sections, subsections, etc, you just affix a * (asterisk) to the respective sectioning command; hence, you'd type something like




Exactly which sectioning command you ought to use will depend importantly on aspects of the document that you haven't told us about. E.g., should the respective parts begin on a page of their own, and how prominent do you want the caption of the sectioning command to be?

Note that unnumbered parts, chapters, sections, etc are not included automatically in the table of contents (ToC). In case you need some (or all) of them to be included, you should insert an \addcontentsline instruction after each such sectioning command. For example, you'd type:


The second argument of the \addcontentsline instruction -- here, chapter -- instructs LaTeX to typeset the entry in a given style, here, "chapter style".

The following MWE


generates this ToC:

enter image description here

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It's probably a good idea to show also the way to insert the unnumbered chapters in the ToC. – egreg Nov 19 '11 at 23:06
Great suggestion. I've amended the answer accordingly. – Mico Nov 19 '11 at 23:35
That's wrong. :) A \chapter command in the \frontmatter produces by itself an unnumbered chapter which goes in the ToC. The OP uses report, it seems, so no \frontmatter and \mainmatter. – egreg Nov 19 '11 at 23:46
I had missed the fact that the OP was using the report rather than the book document class. I've updated my MWE. – Mico Nov 20 '11 at 0:00
If the book class is really better, I suppose I should give it a try, but I would need the support for such an endeavour, probably post a new thread to see if it is more fitting for a thesis. I really don't have time to experiment, I couldn't even check my own post (this one) for 2 days. – Ayman Elmasry Nov 22 '11 at 0:38

Besides adding unnumbered chapters/sections to the ToC, you may also want to ensure that they are correctly displayed in the header/footer. In the report and book class this may be done by writing, e.g.,


for unnumbered chapters (the second argument of \markboth controls "right" [odd] pages in twoside documents; it may also be left empty) and


for unnumbered sections. (Should you have enabled headers in the article class, use \markboth in conjunction with \section* and \markright in conjunction with \subsection*.)

Note that the above code snippets will produce non-capitalized names in the header; should you want to capitalize them (as for numbered chapters in the standard classes), replace Introduction with \MakeUppercase{Introduction}.

Addendum: Both Mico's and my answer refer to the standard document classes (article, book, report). The answers should work for most other classes; however, some classes may offer easier solutions. E.g., with the KOMA-Script classes you may simply use the commands \addchap/\addsec to create unnumbered chapters/sections that will be displayed in the ToC and the header.

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