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Table of Authorities

I’ve yet to meet anyone who truly likes Microsoft Word’s Table of Authorities (TOA) feature. If you’re being forced to use it, don’t despair. Here are some tutorials to get you productively (if perhaps not happily) on your way.

7 Ways To Screw Up A Table of Authorities

Frustrated woman crumpling paper

Microsoft Word's Table of Authorities feature isn't exactly known for its user-friendliness. Nobody's ever said the word "automagically" about it. And more than one enterprising software vendor has found a lucrative niche making an easier-to-use interface for TOAs. I've had to use this feature myself on several occasions recently, and I've rediscovered seven ways you can easily (and thoroughly) screw up a Table of Authorities. Do yourself a favor and click through to learn from my mistakes!

Reader Question: How to get footnote citations to show up in Table of Authorities

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A reader contacted me recently with a real puzzler: What to do when a citation in a footnote doesn't get picked up in the Table of Authorities. If you're having this problem, there's a solution. Click through for the details.

From the Comments: Cool TOA trick

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Want your Table of Authorities entry to line-wrap at a specific point? A fellow Legal Office Guru reader shares her (fantastic) tip on how to accomplish that.

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

Part II of the continuing series on Tables of Authorities shows you - with video and screen shots - how to:

(a) Check over your citations for correct marking
(b) Insert the TOA in your document
(c) What formatting options are available to you (passim, dot leaders, etc.) and how to adjust them
(d) What to do if your TOA headings or entries aren't formatting just right

Click the "Read More" link below for the full tutorial.

How to do a Table of Authorities, Part 1: Marking citations

If the thought of doing a Table of Authorities in your next brief gives you the willies, you'll appreciate this series of posts. In Part One, I tell you a little about the Table of Authorities feature and show you how to mark citations in your brief so they can be included (and correctly formatted) in your Table of Authorities.

Table of Contents

Right after the Table of Authorities in “degree of difficulty” is Table of Contents. Here are some tips for your next brief or other document.

How to modify a Table of Contents in Microsoft Word

If your automatically-generated Table of Contents in Microsoft Word isn't to your liking, you can fix it. From changing fonts to adjusting spacing and indentation, it's all about modifying the TOC Styles within your document. Click through to view the entire tutorial, complete with screen shots showing each step.

Inserting a table of contents using styles

Building a Table of Contents in Microsoft Word is ridiculously easy if you use Styles to format your document headings. Here's the quick-and-dirty tutorial on inserting an easy TOC in your document.

The Efficient Lawyer

In the age of the alternative fee arrangement (AFA), efficiency is the key to remaining profitable. You can either spend lots of time looking for one productivity strategy that’ll pay off big, or you can invest small chunks of time learning and implementing small efficiencies that can add up. While your colleagues are busy chasing the the shiny object du jour, you’ll be keeping your cool using a whole bag of tricks like the ones below.

Copying vertical columns of text in Word

If you've ever needed to copy columns of text from a tabbed list and thought you had to retype them, think again. Try this trick instead.

Formatting Autocorrect Entries

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If you've been working with legal briefs lately, you've probably typed "id." more times than you can count. Here, I show you a trick that one of your fellow readers told me about: having AutoCorrect turn "id." into its underlined form automagically. Click the link below or the title above to see the full illustrated tutorial.

Make up for your bad typing with AutoCorrect

I'll admit it: I am not a world-class typist. I can do about 85-90 on a good-to-average day, but years of working with word processors has made my error rate a little dodgy.

And I've noticed, over the years, that no matter how much typing practice I get, there are a few words I misspell (really, mistype — I actually do know how to spell them!) frequently. That annoys me. A lot.

But taking the advice of my fellow blogger Vivian Manning, I'm going to stop obsessing about typos and let the computer do more of the work for me. Because if the machines can do more work, why not let them? And because not many people know how to get Microsoft Word to correct their common typos, I'm going to show you how. (Because I want you to do less busywork, too!)

Click the link below to learn how.

Using Autotext to deal with repetitive text

Ever have the same phrase, sentence or even paragraph repeat over and over in a document you're typing? Microsoft Word's AutoText feature can help automate it!

Reader Question: How to automatically number your discovery requests … in 5 keystrokes

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If your law firm does litigation work, you've probably prepared lots of discovery. And you may have wondered if there's any way you can avoid typing the phrase "Interrogatory No. X" in Microsoft Word over and over again and get that X to be an automatically incrementing number. If so, the answer is, yes, you can!

Click through for a complete tutorial on how to use field codes in Microsoft Word to automatically number interrogatories, requests for production, requests for admission, or other legal discovery.

Building reuseable Microsoft Word footers

Want to save that "Page X of Y" footer you like instead of having to rebuild it every time you use it? Here's a little-known trick in Microsoft Word's Quick Parts: how to save document components so they're accessible in menus like Footer, Watermark, etc.

Want that “15th day of August, 2012” to self-update? Here’s how

If your documents ever need a phrase like "the 15th day of August, 2012" and you don't want to wait until the last minute to correct it in your document, here's how you can embed a date that includes a self-updating ordinal date (that "15th" part) and a self-updating month and year. Click through for the demonstration.

The four dates you can embed in your Word documents

One of the most fun discoveries that new Microsoft Word users make is the self updating date. If you've already uncovered this, you know exactly what I'm talking about: you click a couple of times, and suddenly you've got today's date embedded in your document, and it will update itself every time you open the document. But what if what you want isn't necessarily today's date? What if you need the document to reflect the date it was last saved, or printed, or created? The good news is, you can get any of those with a couple more mouse clicks and a little know-how.

Reader Question: How to double indent faster

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Ever wanted one-click access to double-indent a paragraph (like for a lengthy quote)? One reader did, and here are the three methods I recommended.

Easy-to-read file folder labels for trial exhibits using Mail Merge

The last thing you need to be doing during a trial is frantically searching for the right exhibit. Laying your hands on the correct document becomes a whole lot easier when they're in file folders marked with clear, easy-to-read labels. Here's how to use Microsoft Word's Mail Merge feature to transform your exhibit list into a set of labels with the exhibit number in large spot-it-from-across-the-room print.