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.