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How to do a Table of Authorities, Part 2: Defining, Formatting and Inserting the TOA

How to do a Table of Authorities, Part 2: Defining, Formatting and Inserting the TOA post image

In our last discussion about Microsoft Word’s Table of Authorities feature, I showed you the first step: how to mark citations for inclusion in a Table of Authorities. Now we’ll go over how to define and format a Table of Authorities and pull your marked citations into the TOA in your brief.

Giving your citations the once-over

Before you jump into inserting the TOA, however, now would be a good time to just double-check to make sure every citation is marked. You can do a quick visual check (just scroll through the brief) or use the Find feature to look for strings of text common to citations (like “v.”).

If you’ve got Show/Hide turned on (click the paragraph symbol ¶ in the middle of the Home tab), you’ll see something like this around your citations:

(If all that stuff behind the “{TA” looks like gobbledygook, review the discussion “So how does Word mark a citation” in the prior post. Knowing how to interpret this can help in diagnosing TOA problems later.)

If you see a citation that doesn’t have that sort of hidden text near it, you’ve forgotten to mark it. A short cite (a second or subsequent citation of a case) will have hidden text that looks like this:

Inserting your TOA

Once you’ve marked and checked your citations, inserting the TOA is relatively easy. Just place your cursor at the point in your document where you want the TOA to begin (usually just under the heading “Table of Authorities”), go to the References tab, and click the Insert Table of Authorities button (unfortunately, not labeled, but it’s in the upper right-hand corner (circled in red below):

Once you click that button, you’ll be taken to a dialog box that looks like this:

If everything here looks good, you can click OK, and the Table of Authorities will be inserted. Here’s a quick demonstration:

Options for formatting the TOA

But what if everything here doesn’t look good? What are your options?


See that checkbox just below the Print Preview called “Use passim”? If any of your cases are cited five or more times in your brief (which might make for an awkward-looking TOA), Word will insert “passim” for the second and subsequent citations to save room.

Keep Original Formatting

If, for example, your case names are italicized within the body of the brief, checking this box will carry that same character formatting into the TOA.

Tab Leader

This is the string of characters that separates the end of each citation from its page numbers. For example, this citation has a dot leader (the default):

You can also choose a dashed line, a solid line, or no leader at all.


Generally, you’ll want to use the format “from template,” meaning that the formatting of the category heading and citation styles are inherited from the fonts being used in the brief’s template. Also available, however, are some predefined formats should you wish to use those.


If for some reason you only want to include the citations from a single category in your TOA, you can choose from the list in the Category scroll box. Usually, though, you’ll want to choose “All” to include all categories in order.

Modifying TOA Styles

If you’ve inserted your TOA and aren’t 100% happy with the formatting — perhaps you want the indentation changed, the category heading fonts to be different, whatever — then you’ll need to tweak the Styles associated with those items. Here’s a brief video tutorial on how:

Questions? Problems? Challenges you’ve had with TOAs recently? Hit me up in the comments below!

by Deborah Savadra

I spend an inordinate amount of my time playing with computers and attempting to explain technology to lawyers and law office staff. It's not always easy, but someone's got to do it.

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39 comments… add one

  1. Thanks for another great tutorial! I wanted to pass on something I do. When I have finished the TOA, I remove the “pin cites.” These are the specific page numbers in the citation (pinpoint citations). For example, the first citation you mark might be Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 467 (1966). The “, 467” is the specific page number or “pin cite.” But subsequent citations to Miranda will usually be to other pages in the same case. So, if your table of authorities keeps the “, 467”, it will be wrong for the subsequent citations. Although it probably isn’t a great idea to manually edit TOA’s, I do it for the pin cites after I am sure the TOA is otherwise correct. (If there is a better way to do this, please let me know!) Hope this is helpful. Thanks again.

    1. Blair — thanks for passing that on.

      Question: Are you editing the “pin cites” directly in the TOA, or are you editing the “long form” citation in the hidden text of the citation’s markup? It kind of sounds like you’re doing the former when the latter might be cleaner.

    2. I think the easiest way to solve this problem is to edit the information when you first mark the citation. I’ve been using the following method since 1999 or 2000 in four different versions of Word and it still works.

      When you mark the citation, a dialog box pops up in which the first sub-box is called “Selected Text.” It contains the full citation you highlighted in the document, pinpoint included. The text that appears in this box is the text that will appear in your TOA when you generate it; it will also appear in the hidden code within your document. You can change the text in this box without affecting the actual text in your document. That means you can just delete the pinpoint citation (the “, 467″ in the Miranda example). Then when you generate the TOA, the citation will use just the first page (page 436 in the Miranda example). After it’s adjusted to your satisfaction, hit “Mark.”

      You could also edit the long-form hidden code if you wish, but I think it’s easier and safer just to do it when you first mark the citation.

      (Incidentally, if you mark all the citations yourself, as I do, the short-form citation name doesn’t matter much. In the Miranda example, I’d set the short-form to read just “Miranda.” Then when I go through and find a short-form citation to that case, be it an “Id.” citation or a “Miranda, 384 US at 467″ citation, I can just bring up the “Mark Citation” dialog box, select “Miranda” from the “Short citation” box, and hit “Mark.” I do not trust Word to handle the multiple types of short-form citations I sometimes have reason to use; for example, if I use the word “Miranda” in the sentence, I probably won’t include it in the short citation, but if I don’t use it in the text, I’ll likely include it in the citation for clarity.)

      One other suggestion: Always check your local rules on TOAs. The DC Circuit, for example, expressly prohibits the use of “passim” in a TOA.

      1. Thanks, Rich. It makes a lot of sense to edit in the selected text box right away. I can add the part of the citation I have in my footnotes then, too (if I’m using footnotes). As I understand it, you never use “Mark All”, but mark each citation individually. This makes sense to me, too. I probably have used Id. on the next page sometimes and obviously mark all would not have picked that up no matter what short form I used (except “id.” which wouldn’t work too well!).

        The Ninth Cir. doesn’t have a rule forbidding passim. But F. R. App. P. 28(a)(3) says:
        (3) a table of authorities — cases (alphabetically arranged), statutes, and
        other authorities — with references to the pages of the brief where they are

        Probably not a great idea to use passim in any federal brief.

        Thanks again — great information!

  2. I was editing the “pin cites” directly in the TOA. I just pulled up an old brief and tried editing the long form citation in the hidden text. That worked for me and does seem like a cleaner way to do it. Thanks!
    This tip is helpful in another way. I go back and forth between putting citations in footnotes and keeping them in the body of the document. These days I am leaning toward putting cites in footnotes. It seems easier to read that way, and some legal writing experts favor footnotes. But it was cumbersome because I ended up editing the TOAs a lot when I used footnotes. But now I see I can mark the case name and then edit the long form hidden text to included the cite. So, I think it will be easier for me to use citations in footnotes now. Thanks again!!

  3. Thanks for putting this together. I’ve searched high and low for a way to automatically format the cases in the TOA so the case name up to the comma is on a line by itself and then the reporter information and year and the page number are on a second, indented line, but no luck. I know I can manually do this just before printing by editing the table but I lose that formatting when the table updates and would like a more permanent solution if one exists. Strangest thing is that on the “Table of Authorities” dialog box, the example table in the Print Preview box has it formatted the way I’d like (though I imagine that is more a result of limited space in that box than some taunting and unavailable formatting option). Any idea? Thanks!


    1. Well, I don’t have any Jedi tricks for getting it to wrap right at the comma. For whatever it might be worth, I can suggest that you edit the right indent of the paragraphs to make them wrap a lot sooner than they would otherwise (in other words, not so close to the page number on the right margin). That might make it somewhat more aesthetically pleasing. If you need more explicit instructions on how to do that, reply here and I’ll do a follow-up.

  4. To format cases in the TOA so the case name up to the comma is on a line by itself and then the reporter information and year and the page number are on a second, indented line, when editing the long citation in the Selected text box as you want it to appear in the table of authorities, simply press Shift+Enter after the comma at the end of the case name ~ et voila!

    1. @Debbie — Oh, cool — thanks for posting that! I’ll let Ariel know in case she’s not still subscribed to the comments.

  5. @Debbie: That’s brilliant. Thanks for sharing!

    @ The Guru: still subscribed and male. *shakes fist at Disney*

    1. @Ariel — Oh, no — sorry about that! #blamedisney

  6. Ariel ~ Missed your gender in print, but the jest(ure) comes thru clearly!

    Actually, after stating “just the facts” in that earlier post, I thought later I’d ought to have related what good fortune shone on me in the wee hours yesterday, coming upon Guru’s TOA postings. In way over my head, the on-point little treatise online surely helped me muddle through. I too wanted the table to come out how Ariel had asked for. So I got things just so far, finally fell into bed about 4:30, got up by 9am. The thought just came to me it’d be worth trying, then was so thrilled it worked, I wanted to share it! Hey, now I’m playing with the big guys!

    Shift+Enter is not even a command I have customarily been using. Word is not my main work program. I’m a court reporter, using a computer-assisted transcription (CAT) program for years to do my work. I was just helping out my favorite lawyer with the mechanics on a memorandum of law, and in way over my head. Thanks so much for giving the most clarity I could find on the subject!

  7. Any way to set up TOA so the entries are in order of appearance rather than alphabetical?
    That is how my attorneys prefer the TOA to be formatted. Autogenerating one with Word is a great timesaver, but until I know a better way- I then have to move the entries around so they are in appearance order. Any ideas?

  8. As far as tutorials go, this is a great one – it is very clear, with lots of examples, and was immediately useful to the brief I am working on. I think, however, that this way of doing tables of authorities is not really useful in all situations. For example, I am currently working on a Statement of Points and Authorities for an appellant brief. Rather than having the marked citations appear in a list of ‘Cases’ alphabetically, then ‘Statutes’ alphabetically, I need the resulting table to me more of a combination of a table of authorities and a table of contents. Each of the sections of the brief should have an page number in the table, and then the cases, statutes and other authorities cited in that section of the brief should appear underneath the section header, in page number order, rather than alphabetically.

    Is there a way to modify the output to do this?

    1. Sounds like you’ll need to customize category names as you mark citations by clicking the Category button in the Mark Citation dialog box. Not sure how you’d get the page number next to the Category name unless you always make the first citation under each Category the name of that section.

  9. I am working with Word 2010. My Table of Authorities does not catch all the cites that have been coded in footnotes. How do I MAKE it include all the cites in the footnotes on the table of authorities?

    1. Sylvia,

      Are you saying that the Table of Authorities is not picking up short cite versions of a case when they’re embedded in a footnote? I’m assuming you marked all of the cases in the footnotes, but if you need to be certain, click into a footer and press ALT-F9. You should see TOA markup as illustrated under “Giving Your Citations the Once-Over.”

      1. For example, a case first appeared in a footnote and I marked it as a full cite (page 41). That same case appeared later in the brief (not in a footnote) on page 49. The TOA lists that case only on page 49, completely ignoring my full cite on page 41. The footnote had 22 cases marked in all. 6 of them did not appear on the TOA. All 6 of them were the same situation as above, marked as a full cite in the footnote, the same case was cited again later in the brief (not in footnote) so I marked for short. The TOA only showed them as appearing on the pages later in the brief and not on page 41(the footnote) where they were marked as full cites.

        I hope I didn’t confuse you more. LOL.

      2. Guru: I believe I’ve figured out what it’s doing. Even though I’ve marked the case in the footnote as a Full Form, Word is swapping the case I’ve marked as a Short Form later in the brief as a Full Form and making the citation in the footnote a short form. Do you know how to prevent this from happening, or how to make Word catch the cases that are marked as short form in footnotes come out in the TOA?

        1. Sylvia,

          Interesting observation. I don’t have a solution offhand, but I will put that on my list of things to experiment on.


          1. Great, I anticipate your solution! I know you will be the one to resolve this issue for me. Thank you!

  10. I’m having the same problem as Sylvia. I marked a Rule in the body of the document on page 7 and then the identical Rule in a footnote on page 2. The TOA only picks up page 7. If I take out the marking on page 7 and regenerate the TOA then it picks up page 2. Any help you can give to encourage Word to pick up both pages would be appreciated. Thank you. Shirley.

  11. Is there a way to change the order of the categories as they appear in the table of authorities? As it is, Word lists them in this order (using, for example, the categories in a brief I’m working on now): Cases, Statutes, Other Authorities, and Rules. In my case, the entries under Other Authorities are dictionaries. It seems backwards to have references to dictionaries come before references to rules of civil procedure. Is there a way to promote Rules to their proper rank?

    1. @Ken: You can change the order. On the “Mark Citation” window (reached using Alt+Shift+I) you can click the “Category…” button. Word comes with the first 7 categories pre-named, but you don’t have to use those names. If you want “Cases” to be the third and “Other Authorities” to be first, just select each, replace the name of each in the “Replace with:” box and click the “Replace” button. If you look closely in the hidden information once a cite is marked you’ll notice that there is a “\c” followed by a number. That number corresponds to the 16 categories (again the first 7 of which pre-named). Hope that helps!

  12. Anybody know whether there’s a way to create an automated table of contents AND authorities, so the authorities are sorted by the headings in the table of contents? For example, heading 1 is stated and then the authorities within heading 1 are listed, then heading 2 is stated and then the authorities within heading 2 are listed, etc. Our court requires a mixed table, rather than two separate tables.

    1. @Phil – My first though was that you could either (a) alter the current list of Categories within the Table of Authorities to match the document headings (as opposed to “Cases”, “Statutes”, etc.) OR (b) manipulate the Table of Contents so that the second and lower levels would be the case cites. Just in doing a little experimenting, however, it looks like the best solution would be to insert multiple Tables of Authorities and limit each to a particular section of the document. You’d still have to rename the categories to match your document headings, but I think it would give you the end result you’re looking for.

      Just curious — what court requires this? I’d like to get more information on this requirement and maybe do a detailed Reader Question post on it. If you’d rather not respond here, feel free to go to my Ask the Guru page ( and respond privately.

  13. I’m looking for a way to indicate that a discussion of a case (or statute, or whatever) spans a range of pages – for example:

    Ansonia Associates Ltd. P’ship v. Pub. Serv. Mut. Ins. Co., 257 A.D.2d 84, 692 N.Y.S.2d 5 (1999)……………………………………………………………………..12-14

    I’ve been told that using bookmarks in conjunction with marking TOA entries will accomplish this, but I’m not getting it to work in practice.

    Thanks in advance for any help you can offer!

    1. I’ll have to look at that. I’ve not heard of combining bookmarks with TOA entries before, but it sounds like a neat trick!

    2. @Tina – By the way, have you tried posting that question at It may be that one of the MVPs has already written an article on combining TOAs with bookmarks.

  14. Hello,

    I have a question regarding the Automated Table of Authorities. If the field code of a case citation falls onto the next page – the TOA when updated shows the page number of where the code is and not where the actual citiation shows up in the document. How do I fix this?

    Please help.


    1. I don’t know how your TOA code ended up on a different page from your citation, but you’ll probably have to delete the code and re-mark the citation to get it to appear correctly. See the illustration and explanation above for how to reveal the code and what will need to be deleted before re-marking.

  15. Is there a way to set it so that it doesn’t automatically turn on the formatting characters (that giant wall of text that comes up after you mark a case, which you turn off by hitting the ¶ button on the ribbon)? Microsoft has a great thing going with the whole ToA thing, but they really really ought to make it so that text you’ve marked for citation just shows up as a different color or something.

    1. @Jeremy – You didn’t mention what version of Word you’re using, but generally there’s a setting in Options that you can uncheck. In 2010, go to the File tab (or in 2007, click the Office Button), choose Options, then choose Display. You’ll see a section called “Always show these formatting marks on the screen” where you can uncheck anything you don’t want to see by default.

  16. When I mark the citation, all of the cites does not appear on my TOAs. Is there something I’m not doing correctly. I have to add them manually.


    1. Without looking at the actual document, it would be difficult for me to diagnose the problem.

      When you say “all of the cites does not appear on my TOAs,” do you mean that NONE of your cites appear, or that some do and others don’t? If the latter, do the cites that don’t appear all have something in common (i.e., they are in a particular category like Cases or Statutes)?

  17. Hello,
    I have been practicing with the TOA. I am citing cases, regulations and statutes. They are all on the correct page except for the cases. I hide the formating marks. I checked print preview and it is correct. I have deleted the marks and cited again. Any thoughts?


  18. So the short form ONLY finds/pulls any cite containing those words into the TOA? The entire text contained in the short form will not appear in the TOA?

    I have many identical duplicate cites (nearly 1,200-footnote doc.). Some were removed after I fixed obvious differences (i.e., a comma, xtra space). How do I get rid of the identical cites so only one appears but with all page numbers listed? (I did not mark the original entries but need to finalize this document.)

  19. Please help. I have marked all of my citations and run the TOA for an Appellate brief. I ‘modified’ the text so it all shows in Courier 12 (as per NJ), but for some reason some of the cases are showing in bold. I referred back to the page where it was cited and there is no bold on the page. The only way I can figure out to remove the bold text is to manually change it in the TOA. This is only a temporary solution, since each time I save the document it reverts back.
    Thanks for your posts! They are all very helpful!

    1. @Jennifer– This could be in one of two places. One is the formatting associated with the TOA that is generated and the other is in the citation itself. I would start with the citation itself where there is formatting in the hidden text. To reveal (and later to hide) the hidden codes for your markup the key combination is ctrl+shift+8. When you select the text inside the long format of the citation (between the quotation marks) you can format that however you’d like. If that doesn’t do it, you may want to mess with the formatting associated with the table. I hope that helps!


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