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Creating a Table of Contents in Word

Creating a Table of Contents in Word should not be a great technical hurdle, but I find that the process in MS Word 2019 is not entirely intuitive, so I thought I would pass along my notes on how to go about it. After the cite check of the legal brief is completed, there's often a rush to complete the ToC as soon as possible so the brief can be filed. It will be necessary to place the title page and ToC on pages with different pagination than the rest of the brief, and create the headings for the table itself.

  1. First enter a Page Break on a new line after the title. Go to Layout . . . Breaks. Then after the page break marker, enter a continuous section break:

2. Then set a page break and a continuous section break at the end of the TOC/TOA section. (I assume that you're working with an add-in for Word, like Best Authority, that will generate a Table of Authorities.).

3. Unlink pages numbers in the TOC/TOA section from the title page by unselecting the ‘Link to Previous’ setting on the Design tab. [Click in the Footer to get the Design tab, and select the page number.]

Also in this step, change the format of the page number in this section to lower case Roman numerals, by selecting the page number in the footer and right clicking and selecting Edit Field.

Delete the page number for the title page.

4. Unlink pages numbers in the BODY section from the TOC/TOA section by unselecting the ‘Link to Previous’ setting on the Design tab, and selecting the Arabic numeral format. The brief should now have three independently page numbered sections.

Right click on the page number and select 'Format Page Numbers . . . ' to confirm that each section begins at 1.

At this point run the ToA.

5. On the Home tab define the formatting for the ToC. Go to the option for Multilevel list in the Paragraph section, and then select 'Define New Multilevel List . . .'

So for level 1 because we have headings like this in brief:

. . . we leave the 'Enter formatting for number' box blank; set the number alignment to 'Centered', and also set the Font to boldfaced.

Then for level 2, we select uppercase Roman numerals; set the alignment on the left, and again boldface the text.

Then on level 3, we select uppercase letters; set the alignment on the left with a further indent; and boldface the text.

6. Select the headings in the Word document and then on the References Tab in the Table of Contents section select Add Text and set the level for each heading one by one.

If everything is working correctly you should see the headings added on the Navigation pane at the left.

7. The heading should show up on the Navigation Pane (to display this go to View . . . Show section.) For some reason, MS Word 2019 often alters the capitalization of the headings in the Navigation pane. But this doesn't seem to change the final result when the ToC is inserted into the document.

8. On the References tab add in the Table of Contents on the second page of the Word document, or the first page of the section section.

You will now have a ToC which can be automatically updated by selecting the 'Update Table' option which appears at the top when you click into the table.


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