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Formatting an Appellate Brief in MS Word: PC - Preparing Your Document

Guide to formatting an appellate brief using MS Word on a PC or Mac.

PREPARING YOUR DOCUMENT (Using a PC and Word 2010)

The three basic steps to preparing your document:

  • Create a page before main body of your brief
  • Divide your brief into sections
  • Paginate your brief

First: create a page before the main body of your brief

  1. Place cursor at top left of body of brief > Insert > Blank Page
  2. At the top of the blank page type on three separate lines:  Cover Page, Table of Contents, and Table of Authorities.

Note: In Word 2010 for PC, the default font is Calibri.  If you typed your brief in Calibri (or other font) and wish to change it, you can do so now.

  • CTRL-A will highlight entire document
  • Home Tab > select font (e.g., Times New Roman) > adjust font size also at this time if you wish

Next: divide your brief into sections as follows:

  1. Section 1 = Cover Page
  2. Section 2 = both the TOC and TOA
  3. Section 3 = rest of the brief

To divide your brief into sections insert section page breaks into your document:

  1. First, go to the page where you typed Cover Page, TOC, and TOA
  2. Put cursor at left of the T of "Table of Contents"
  3. Go to Page Layout tab > Breaks > Section Breaks (NOT Page Breaks) > Next Page
  4. That is one section done.
  5. Next, put cursor at left of the first heading in the body of your brief (this should be the first word of your brief)
  6. Go to Page Layout tab > Breaks > Section Breaks > Next Page
  7. Your brief is now divided into 3 sections (Cover Page; TOC & TOA; Body of Brief)

Last: insert pagination as follows:

  1. Cover Page (section 1) is NOT paginated
  2. TOC & TOA (section 2) is paginated using small Roman numerals (i, ii, iii...)
  3. Body of Brief (section 3) is paginated using regular Arabic numbers (1, 2, 3...)

How to insert pagination > TOC &TOA (section 2):

  1. Double click in footer section of TOC & TOA page (section 2) > brings up Header/Footer dialog box
  2. The "Link to Previous" is highlighted > we do NOT want to link to the previous section (because the Cover Page does not get a page number) > click "Link to Previous" > double check that it is un-highlighted
  3. At top left of ribbon is Page Number > click arrow > select a page number position
  4. This gives you a regular page number, but you want small Roman numerals for the TOC & TOA > make sure the number is highlighted > Page Number > Format Page Numbers > at Number Format drop down select "i, ii, iii..." > Start At > OK

How to insert pagination > Body of Brief (section 3):

  1. Process is same as for Section 2 except you want to use regular Arabic numbers
  2. Scroll to footer at bottom of first page of body of your brief > Page Number > Format Page Numbers > Number Format > select "1, 2, 3..." > Start At > OK
  3. Close header/footer dialog (top right, red box with X)


You are done with preparing your document!