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Formatting an Appellate Brief in MS Word: START HERE

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


Our guide has been put together to assist you in creating a Table of Contents (TOC) and a Table of Authorities (TOA) for an Appellate Brief using Microsoft Word 2010 with a PC or Microsoft Word 2011 with a MAC.

Most of the guide has to do with the intricacies of formatting appellate briefs, but the "Quick Tips and Tricks" section includes information that could be helpful to any law student, such as using appropriate legal formatting and typefaces, section § and paragraph ¶ symbols, and properly anonymizing and removing editing history from your documents.

Please Note:  Specific formatting selections, such as font type and size, underlining etc. that are mentioned throughout are for demonstration purposes.  Select formatting per your professor's instructions or appropriate court rules.

Thanks to Cynthia Condit at the Daniel F. Cracchiolo Law Library, James E. Rogers College of Law, University of Arizona (formerly at the William J. Jameson Law Library at the University of Montana) for her permission to use her guide on MS Word for appellate briefs as the template for this guide. Thanks to the staff at the Harnish Law Library at the Pepperdine University School of Law for their permission to use content from their guide on formatting appellate briefs.



There are many different versions of Microsoft Word: 2003, 2007, and 2010, 2013 for PCs and 2004, 2008, and 2011 for MACs.  The basic process, however, is the same for all.  What may vary is the interface.  For instance, Word 2010 for PCs and Word 2011 for MACs now have a re-designed ribbon interface. 

Note:  For a recap of changes in formatting details that occur if you have the new Windows 2013, see the Help & More tab.


There are 3 basic things that you will do when creating a Table of Contents and Table of Authorities:

  1. Prepare your document
  2. Create your Table of Contents (TOC)
  3. Create your Table of Authorities (TOA)


  • It will be easier to create your TOC & TOA if you do NOT do any formatting prior to beginning this process.
  • Use the ¶ format markup during the process; it will help you to see the spacing and formatting markup in your document. To turn on markup, click the button on the Home ribbon.
  • Save a clean copy of your brief (just in case).