Inserting and Formatting a Table of Contents in Word

Instructions for one-time formatting of a table of contents.
WARNING! This procedure takes advantage of headings that are built into our standard “normal template” for Word to make a table of contents that is properly formatted using table style settings. DO NOT MANUALLY FORMAT TABLES OR YOU WILL HAVE TO REPEAT THAT WORK EVERY TIME THE BRIEF IS CHANGED AND THE TABLE IS UPDATED, WHICH WASTES TIME AND EFFORT.

Read this procedure carefully and slowly, and do not skip steps or you will not receive satisfactory results. If you perform this process correctly the first time, your table will remain properly formatted no matter how many times it is updated.

When a table of contents is inserted into a Word document, it is important to format it correctly, so that the layout of the table is logical and clear to the reader, formatted to reflect the outline level of the Firm’s standard heading formats. It is important to avoid the need to manually re-format the table manually after changes have been made to the document, which is a waste of time.

Our standard Word style template, known as the “normal” template, makes it possible to insert headings with single-key entries that are formatted for the Firm standard document styles. If you insert a Custom Table of Contents using the instructions below, a simple process is necessary to prevent the need to re-format the table by hand whenever changes are made to the document.

Without following the steps listed below, the automatically-generated table will list the centered headings with the same indentation level in the table as the first-level sub-headings, which is confusing, so below you will find a process to correct that problem, then all that will be necessary to update a table of contents after changes have been made to a document is to update the entire table, which takes only 3 clicks of a mouse.

Note : If you have not installed the latest version of the Firm's standard "normal" template for Word, this procedure will not work. For instructions on how to install the latest "normal" template, click here.

Insert the Table of Contents prior to body of brief and format it one time:

  1. Position the blinking cursor at the bottom of the caption page (or the last caption page if the caption spans more than just one page).
  2. On the Word main menu (at the top of the screen, not within the Word application) click “Insert” then “Break” then “Section Break (New Page).” This will create a new section after the caption which will contain your Table of Contents and Table of Authorities.
  3. With the anywhere on the caption page click “Insert” again, then “Page Numbers” then on the panel that appears uncheckShow number on first page.” This will ensure that your caption page has no page number.
  4. Position the cursor at very top of the first page of briefing (the beginning of the body of the brief).
  5. On the Word main menu (at the top of the screen, not within the Word application) click “Insert” then “Break” then “Section Break (New Page).” This will insert a new section break between your table pages and your brief, for these two sections will have separate page numbering and page numbering styles. You should now have three sections: the caption page, the section to hold your tables and the section containing the actual body of your brief.
  6. With your cursor at the top of the first blank page after the caption, click “Insert” then “Page Numbers” then “Format…” Next to “Number format:” select “i, ii, iii, …” and then check “Start at:” and make sure that the letter “i” appears.  Then under “Alignment” select “Center” and then click “OK.” This will set lower case roman numeral page numbers for your Table of Contents and Table of Authorities.
  7. Position the cursor once again at very top of the first page of briefing (the beginning of the body of the brief).
  8. click “Insert” then “Page Numbers” then “Format…” Next to “Number format:” select “1, 2, 3, …” and then check “Start at:” and make sure that the letter “1” appears.  Then under “Alignment” select “Center” and then click “OK.” This will set numeric  page numbers, starting at 1 on the first page of actual briefing.
  9. Note: you may have to re-do some of the above steps to ensure that each section has the proper page numbering due to a glitch in the way Word prioritizes formatting inputs. Be patient and re-work this process until you have the page numbers right. To do so, go to the section that needs adjustment, click “Insert” then “Page Numbers” and navigate the menus as above.
  10. Scroll to see whether you have more than one blank page between the caption and the body of the brief. Delete any page that does not have lower case roman numerals, and only have two pages if you only have two tables (Tablef Contents and Table of Authority) or only one page if all you are inserting is a Table of Contents without a Table of Authorities.
  11. Position the cursor at the top of the blank page (page i) onto which you will insert your Table of Contents.
  12. On the Word toolbar menu (within the Word app, rather than the menu at the top of the screen), click “References” then “Table of Contents” then at the bottom of the panel that appears, click “Custom table of contents.” On the panel that appears, click “From template” and next to “Show levels:” enter the numeral 3. Be sure your “Tab leader” option shows a dot leader (……..), then be sure that “Show page numbers” is checked, “Right align page numbers” is checked and that “Use hyperlinks instead of page numbers” is unchecked
  13. In that same panel, click “Format” again. Select “TOC1” then click “Modify” and on the panel that appears, click “Modify” again. Then under the menu at the bottom of the panel that reads “Format” scroll to “Font” “Numbering” (for example, to un-bold the roman numerals as needed) and/or “Paragraph” to adjust the alignment and font style for the first-level TOC heading (generally Small Caps, 14 points, no-bold) as needed. Repeat this procedure for any other TOC heading levels that may require adjustment (there should be none ordinarily).
Helpful Tip: Whenever the brief has been changed, you can force the Table of Contents to update by right-clicking anywhere inside the Table of Contents and selecting "Update Field" then "Update entire table."