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

Julie contacted me recently with a real puzzler:

I am working in Microsoft Word 2010.  For some reason when I am marking a citation, it will not include the case from a footnote in the Table of Authorities.  It will pick up a statute or rule, but not [a case from] the footnote.  Any suggestions??Julie

Ooooookaaaaay. Something’s really amiss here. And what made it more puzzling was, when I tried to replicate her problem on my own computer, mine worked just fine. (I actually kind of hate when that happens, because then I really feel stumped.)

Turns out, though, this a real problem that Microsoft knows about. Fortunately, it has a real solution.

Just to be clear, the problem Julie was experiencing is that a citation embedded in a footnote like so:

word-citation-in-footnote-1

… wasn’t being listed in her Table of Authorities, like so:

word-citation-in-footnote-2

So I did a little digging in Microsoft Answers to see if any other users were reporting the same problem. And, yes, they were.

Turns out there’s a known bug in Microsoft Word that messes up any case citation that’s embedded in a footnote. When Word spots a case in a footnote where the case has already been cited in prior text, it “swaps” the long cite and short cite. This creates a problem, because the first instance of a particular case should always have long citation markup and appear before the subsequent cases marked by short cite markup.

Long story short, there’s apparently a “hotfix” for this and a multitude of other problems. Although the Knowledge Base article on the Word 2010 hotfix doesn’t specifically list this problem as one it solves, the reader in Microsoft Answers says that this is what Microsoft Support prescribed as a solution.

Bottom line: If you’re experiencing this problem in any version of Word, contact Microsoft Support at http://support.microsoft.com/contactus, click on Technical Support, and let them diagnose your particular problem and install a solution.

About the Author

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.