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Formatting an Appellate Brief in MS Word: MAC - Creating Your Table of Authorities

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


The two basic steps to creating your Table of Authorities:

  • "Mark" the citations (authorities) in your document
  • Generate and insert your TOA into your document

Some Preliminaries:

  • A Table of Authorities lists the references in a legal document (i.e., appellate brief) along with the number of the pages the references appear on.
  • To create a TOA you "mark" your citations and Word inserts a special TA (Table of Authorities Entry) field in your document.  When you have marked all your citations and insert your TOA, Word searches for the marked citations, organizes them by category (e.g., cases, statutes, rules etc.), references their page numbers, and displays the TOA in your document.
  • Note:
    • Double check your citations before you begin to be sure all are correct and your short forms are consistent.
    • Briefs will have a variety of authorities; what you want for the TOA is the specific page where you actually cite to the authorities

How to mark a citation for your TOA:

  1. Locate the first citation to an authority > highlight citation > go to Insert (at top Word tool bar) > Index & Tables > select Table of Authorities > a dialog box will open > do the following:
  2. First, decide on passim
    1. Passim refers to a source that's used many times in a document. The computer will bypass such sources in your document and use passim instead of listing all the individual page numbers.  Usually if a source is cited 5 times passim will be used.
    2. IF your professor does not want you to use passim, un-check it.
  3. Next, check "Keep original formatting" > select Leader style (....)
  4. Next, click Mark Citation > the Mark Citation dialog box will open > do the following:
    1. Make sure the citation that appears in the "Selected text" box is correct because that is how it will appear in your TOA > this means doing things like deleting pinpoint cites, extra parentheses etc. because they do not appear in a TOA
  5. Next, select a category for the citation (Cases, Statutes, Other Authorities, Regulations etc.)
    1. Note:  You can create a new category if you wish: select "Category..." > select a number > enter a category in "Replace with" > click Replace > OK
    2. Note:  You can change the order of categories and thus the order in which they appear in your TOA
      1. View the default order of appearance by clicking on "Category..."
      2. If you wanted, for example, Cases in position 3 and Other Authorities in position 1, select each > replace the name of each in "Replace with" box > click Replace > OK
  6. Next, create a short form citation for the computer to go by when it marks the entire document (which gives you all the page numbers for where this authority appears)
    1. A short form can be as simple as the party name in a case citation or a bit more extended to include some of the reporter information. 
      1. The key is to be sure your short form will cover all instances of where this authority is cited to in your brief.  (Example: Angwin or Angwin, 373 F.3d)
  7. Next, decide whether to "Mark All" or "Mark"
    1. Select Mark All if you want Word to mark all long and short citations that match those displayed in the Mark Citation dialog box
      1. Note:  While this method means you don't have to mark every citation one-by-one, when using this option you need to be confident that you have cited your authorities the same way consistently throughout your brief -- if not, Word will miss those that are not consistently cited
    2. Select Mark if you want to mark the authorities yourself & for instances where id. appears. 
      1. Note:  While this method means you have to mark every citation one-by-one, you shouldn't inadvertently miss a citation that is not consistently cited
  8. After marking your first citation, click "Next Citation" > proceed as above
    1. Note:  You may find a citation will come up as "id" if the letters "id" appear in a citation > for example, Fed. R. Evid. 615 > highlight the entire citation > click "Selected text" box > highlighted citation appears > select a category > enter a Short Citation (or select from the Short Citation list, if appropriate) > click Mark or Mark All > click Next Citation
    2. Note:  If the next citation is indeed an "Id." citation, select the appropriate Short Citation for this "Id." from the Short Citation list > click Mark > click Next Citation
  9. Continue until all citations have been marked.

Once all your citations are marked, you can generate and insert your TOA

How to generate and insert your TOA:

  1. Uncheck Markup (¶)
  2. Place cursor a couple spaces below the title "Table of Authorities" (or where you wish the TOA to begin)
  3. Go to Insert (at top Word tool bar) > Index & Tables > Table of Authorities
  4. Click OK in dialog box > your TOA will appear
  5. Proof your TOA to be sure all authorities are correct and under the proper category > make adjustments as necessary

Note:  At this point the formatting of the actual TOA probably does NOT match the formatting in your document so you will need to make modifications so that they match

Making modifications and adjustments to newly generated TOA page:

To make modifications to the title and/or body of your TOA do the following:

  1. Go to Insert (at top Word tool bar) > Indexes and Tables > Table of Authorities > Modify > opens dialog box
  2. Select either "TOA Heading" or "Table of Authorities" depending on what part of your TOA you are modifying
    1. "TOA Heading" refers to the title "Table of Authorities"
    2. "Table of Authorities" refers to the body of authorities listed
  3. Click Modify > dialog box comes up > make modifications from dialog box options and/or Format drop down
  4. Check "Automatically Update" > OK
  5. After you complete making modifications to the "TOA Heading" and "Table of Authorities" > OK > OK > OK > Yes