Tips and Tricks – Microsoft Word Table of Authorities

Afinety University Tips & Tricks Webinar Series is perfect for those working in the legal field looking to develop their skills in Microsoft Word and other common law firm software programs. This series is instructed by Diana Baker, Afinety’s Macro Developer and Trainer. Diana has over 20 years of experience working in the legal field. Her webinars demonstrate tools for attorneys, paralegals, and legal assistants to increase efficiency in Microsoft Word and save valuable time creating documents. The most recent webinar focused on Microsoft Word’s Table of Authorities feature. We’ve put together some of the key tips and features below, but you can watch the full webinar here.

Marking a Citation

Before getting started with the Table of Authorities feature, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, make sure the document is in its final draft before marking for a Table of Authorities. Second, turn on the “show / hide” option. This allows users to see the Table of Authorities field codes that will be inserted. Once these steps are complete, begin scanning for citations and highlighting.

There are two options for marking citations, users can go through the References tab, Table of Authorities group, and then select “marked citation”. The alternative option is to use shortcut key, ALT + SHIFT + I. From here, go through the document and mark the remaining citations. Another option is to use the “next citation” feature, but scanning line by line is recommended, as this feature can sometimes accidentally skip over citations.

Mark Citation Dialog Box

Let’s break down the mark citation dialog box. First, is the selected text. Edit this text how it should appear in the final generated Table of Authorities. For example, some lawyers may have a preference on abbreviations and other specific formatting. Next, select the category of the citation. A common mistake here is forgetting to select the correct category. Below category is short citation. A short citation should consist of a common factor that is contained in the long cites and in the short cites that are referenced throughout the document. Short citations are marked with a “short cite” field code. To finish using the mark citation dialog box, select “Mark All” and close. If an error is made, revisions can be made and then updated on the Table of Authorities. This will be reviewed later on.

Generating a Table of Authorities

Once ready to generate a Table of Authorities, turn off “show / hide” option. Next, place the cursor in the exact spot to insert the Table of Authorities and go to the References tab, click “Insert Table of Authorities”.  By default, “use passim” is checked. This means that if a citation is referenced on more than 5 or 6 pages of a document, “use passim” will be listed in place of all the page numbers. For formatting, keep original and the category “All” can be selected. Once complete, users should select “OK” to generate their Table of Authorities.

Fixing Errors in Table of Authorities

One common mistake when fixing errors in the Table of Authorities is editing the information directly within the generated Table of Authorities. This is the wrong approach because any manual edits made to the Table of Authorities will be lost once it is updated or regenerated. Instead, users should properly fix errors by revisiting the Table of Authorities field code and making edits there. To then make revisions complete, regenerate or update the Table of Authorities.

For additional tips and tricks on the software programs you use most, register for an upcoming webinar.

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Tips and Tricks – Microsoft Word Styles, Multilevel Numbering & Tables of Contents

Afinety University Tips & Tricks Webinar Series is designed for attorneys, paralegals, and legal assistants who would like to develop their skills in Microsoft Word and other common law firm software programs. Instructor Diana Baker, Afinety’s Macro Developer and Trainer, has over 20 years of experience working in the legal field and demonstrates easy tools to increase your efficiency in her webinars. This month’s webinar focused on how to format a pleading using Heading Styles and Multilevel Numbering, as well as generate a Table of Contents with a click of a button. We’ve highlighted some of the key takeaways below, but you can access the full webinar here.


Styles are a collection of formatting instructions which greatly enhance document automation and production. To get started with Styles, open the Styles Pane which will list styles contained in the document. Users can apply, modify or create new styles from the Styles Pane.

A user can preview styles by ticking the “Show Preview” box located near the bottom of the Styles Pane.  Additional options for viewing the Styles Pane include the choice to show styles in the current document and sort the list of styles alphabetically or as recommended. Additionally, it is recommended to remove paragraph, font and bullet formatting from displaying in Styles Pane.

When creating new styles, it is best to start from scratch and base styles on “normal” and then build out each style by formatting the font and paragraph settings, and other preferences.  When setting line spacing in a pleading document, one important tip is to set the spacing to Exactly 24 points (for double spacing) or Exactly 12 points (for single spacing) so the line spacing of the text of the pleading matches the line spacing used in the line numbering embedded in the header.  A tip for Heading styles is to select “keep with next paragraph” and “keep lines together” in order to keep headings from appearing as the last line of text on a page.

Style Area

Instead of viewing Styles in a pane, users have the option to view in Style Area. To set up this feature, go to the File tab, Options, Advanced, Display, bringing you to the option “Style area pane width in Draft and Outline views” – insert a measurement like 0.7.”  To see the Style Area in the left margin, you must be in Draft or Outline View.

Creating your own Style

To create a new Style in Microsoft Word, go to Styles Pane and select “A+ New Style”. From there, fill in the details, such as naming the style, select the style type as paragraph, style based on normal, and style for following paragraph. Then format the font, paragraph settings, and more.

Multilevel Numbering

To begin working with multilevel numbering, select the Multilevel List drop down located in the paragraph group in the Home ribbon.  From the List Library, select a list that closely resembles the type of multilevel numbering you want to add to your Heading styles.  Open the Multilevel list drop down again, and choose Define New List Style.  Name the List Style, click Format and choose Numbering.  Format each level of numbering and link to the respective Heading style.  Be sure to watch the video for more details on formatting multilevel list numbering.

Table of Contents

If you applied heading styles to all headings throughout your document, you can generate a Table of Contents with a click of a button.  Place your cursor in the exact spot where you want to insert the Table of Contents, from the References ribbon, click the drop down in the Table of Contents button, and choose Custom Table Contents.  Users have the option to change the formatting of table of contents, by selecting and modifying “TOC Styles”.  As a reminder, the “use hyperlinks” setting is turned on by default.  Click OK to generate the Table of Contents.

Moving Forward

You can easily add the styles you create or modify into the template the document is attached to, so you have access to these styles in new documents moving forward.  When modifying or creating the style, tick the “new documents based on this template” box.  Another tip Baker mentioned was, do not select the “automatically update” button for styles because anytime direct formatting is applied to a word or paragraph, that formatting will be added to the style that word or paragraph is in.

For additional tips and tricks on the software programs you use most, register for an upcoming webinar.