Start Page: Set the table with authority for Word document contents

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WilsonWhat if your Table of Contents (TOC) and Table of Authority (TOA) automatically updated page numbers with any changes made to your document? After reading this article, never again will you hesitate to rearrange sections of your brief due to your fear of redoing the TOC/TOA. This article builds on the skills learned in previous articles to help you build automatic TOC and TOA.

Setting the Table of Contents

Making the TOC should be an easy task, assuming you have applied Heading Styles to your document text that you want to include in the TOC.

To start a TOC, go to the desired location in the document, type “Table of Contents” and insert a page break. Below the page break, type Heading 1 and apply the Heading 1 style. Enter a page break (Ctrl Enter) and type Heading 2 and apply the Heading 2 style.

Now, on the Ribbon, click “References | Table of Contents.” Use the drop down to see the options available when creating the TOC. There are several “automatic” table styles you can use. Note: If you use an automatic TOC, you won’t need to type Table of Contents or some variation as Word will add that automatically.

My preferred method is to create a custom TOC. If you go the custom route, you will be taken to a screen that shows the options you can change. Typically, you will want to show page numbers, right align the page numbers and use the default tab leader. But, you may want to show additional levels. This refers to the heading styles used in the document, so if you have five levels, go ahead and adjust “Show levels” to five. 

If you want to further modify things, click “Modify.” Here, you can adjust how the TOC headings will appear in your finished document. Spend a few minutes adjusting the font, alignment and the like for each TOC level you anticipate using. You can reference the earlier articles for how to modify these styles if necessary. When finished, click “OK” and then “OK” again. 

You should be taken to the TOC, showing Heading 1 on page 2 and Heading 2 on page 3, formatted as you set out in the custom TOC screen. The same process can be applied to existing documents. Simply insert a page break where you need a TOC, mark the headings by applying the appropriate heading style and insert a TOC. Word will make the page numbers appear automatically. Should you move something around, right click on any of the reference points in the TOC and choose “Update Field.” Word will prompt you to update the TOC. I usually use “Update entire table.”

Table of Authorities

The TOA is a feature that takes a little bit of practice to master. Once you do so, however, it is a powerful way to easily add cases, statutes and legal authority with reference page numbers to your documents.

This takes some practice and patience, but your patience will be rewarded, especially when edits are made later. Open a document and type “Table of Authorities” and enter a page break. On the next page, enter “Smith v. Jones, 123 N.E.3d 456, 789 (Fake Ct. App. 2017).” Enter another page break and enter “Ind. Code § 1-1-1-1.”

Now, select the first citation sentence text. Then, press “Alt Shift I” or click “Reference | Mark citation.” Word will provide you with a Mark Citation box, showing you the text you selected. Here, a fellow practitioner suggests editing the selected text to remove any pinpoint sites to prevent those pinpoints from appearing in your TOA. Next, choose a category for the citation (typically Cases or Statutes), and edit the short citation to match how you will reference the short name of the citation throughout the document. 

Once you have the citation formatted, you have two options. You can click “Mark” to mark that entry only or you can click “Mark all” to have Microsoft Word search your document and mark the citations it finds for you automatically.

Now, put your cursor under where you typed TOA earlier. Click “References | Insert Table of Authorities.” Uncheck the box that says. “Use passim.” Click “Modify” to set your font and paragraph options. Note, the TOA Heading refers to the format of the words “Cases/Statutes/etc.” The Table of Authorities Style is how the actual citations will appear. Modify the style and click “OK.” Then, make sure that category is set to “All” so you include all citations marked in your document. Click “OK” and the TOA should appear, along with the correct page numbers.

To update, follow the same procedure as with the TOC: right click on a case name and choose update.•


Seth R. Wilson is an attorney with Adler Tesnar & Whalin in Noblesville. In addition to practicing law, he helps manage the day-to-day technology operations of the firm. Seth writes about legal technology at and is a frequent speaker on the subject. The opinions expressed are those of the author.

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