Did You Know: Table of Authorities

You’re about done with your brief, but still have one more thing to do: your Table of Authorities.  Don’t worry if you haven’t started this yet.  It’s a good idea to do this at the end.  Creating your Table gives you one more chance to check your citations and your work.  And, if you do this too early and then make major changes to your document, you can cause errors in your Table Coding.

Getting Started – Turn on invisible characters

In the post about page numbers, we talked about turning on invisible characters.  You’ll want to turn those back on to do your TOA: 

Word for Mac, Home Tab, cursor on Paragraph icon to turn off show/hide characters.

Creating categories

Now that you can see all of the invisible coding, it’s time to start creating Table entries.  Go to your Reference Tab and then go to the Table of Authorities tools on the far right side.  Click Mark Citation. If you have a large screen you’ll see the text:

Word for Mac, References Tab, large screen showing text

You might have just icons on a smaller screen:

Word for Mac, References Tab, small screen showing icons

Before marking anything, you’ll want to set up your categories.  Often, these are Cases, Statutes, and Other Authorities.  To see if your categories are set up correctly, click “Set Category” in the Mark Citation dialog box.  

Word for Mac, Mark Citation dialog box, cursor on "set category"

If you need to change the category (the label is wrong or is just a number), click the line you want to change.  Type the category label under “Replace with:”.  Then click replace.  Once your categories are set, click “OK”.

Word for Mac, Edit Category, cursor on "replace"


Mark each citation you wish to include in your final Table.  Start by highlighting your reference.  Choose the category.  Then click “Mark.”  You don’t need to close the window.  You can keep highlighting and marking.

Example of a highlighted reference.  Word for Mac, Marc Citation dialog box.  Cursor on "Mark."

When you’ve marked a citation for the first time, you’ll see code in curly brackets.  The cite will be printed twice.  The code ends with \c [category number]. 

Example of Table of Authorities code for a first cite

By the way, if you selected the wrong category, you can change this number to the correct category to fix it (e.g. if you marked something as a case but it’s really a statute, you might change “\c 1” to “\c 2”). 

Creating Entries

Now that you’ve started marking, you’ll notice the basic process is easy – highlight your reference, choose your category, then click “Mark.”  But there are two important extra steps: remove pin cites and cite to subsequent mentions.

Pin Cites

You don’t want pin cites to appear in your Table.  The best way to make sure they don’t show up is to remove them from the code.  Remove the pin cite from both copies of your reference in the code.  Once you do that, the pin cite won’t appear in your table. 

Before removing the pin cite “540”:

Example of Table of Authorities code that still has pin cites


Example of Table of Authorities code where the pin cites have been removed

Short cites and Ids

Your Table will include the page number for every time you cite a source.  You’ll use the standard mark process the first time you cite to something, but you’ll need to change this process for subsequent entries.  

Once you mark something the first time, it will appear in your cite list.  To mark the next mention – whether it’s a short cite or an id – you’ll start the same way. Highlight the reference.  

Example of an "Id" after an earlier cite

Next, instead of selecting a category, you’ll select the cite in the list below the “Short Citation” box. Once that cite appears in the two citation boxes, you’re set.  Cick “Mark.“ 

Word for Mac, Mark Citation dialog box.  Box shows Id in the selected text and the related cite in the two citation dialog boxes.  The citation is highlighted in the cite list.  The cursor is on "Mark."

Now the additional cite is tied to the original.  The short cite code will have only one copy of the citation and no category.  You do not need to do anything to change this code – Word is just noting what page the cite is on.

Example of a short cite Table of Authorities code.

By the way, short cite code is why you don’t want to set up your Table of Authorities until the end of your brief. If you move sections around so that the short cite code appears before the original citation, you’ll create errors in your Table.

Adding your Table

Once you’ve added all of your initial and subsequent cites, it’s time to make your table.  


Go back to your Home Tab and turn off your invisible characters.  If you don’t do this, your page numbers won’t be correct.  Word includes all of that code in the page numbers if the characters are visible.  Once you turn off your invisible characters, your pages will be correct.

Word for Mac, Home Tab, cursor on Paragraph icon to turn off show/hide characters.

Next, go back to your references table.  Click Insert Table of Authorities. 

Word for Mac, References Tab, closeup on the Table of Authorities section, cursor on insert table of authorities.

 In the dialog box that appears, you can click “Modify” if you want to change the fonts. You should also make sure “Use Passim” is selected.  This means that Word will put the word “Passim” instead of each page number if you use a source on 5 or more pages.  If Word tried to list every page, it would look very messy.

Table of Authorities dialog box, cursor next to Passim checkbox

Click OK, and Word will add your Table of Authorities.

Example of a table of authorities

Now you’re done!

Updating your Table

If you find you left out a source or left a pin cite in don’t worry.  You can go back and mark any source you missed or remove a pin cite from the code.  You then will right-click on your Table of Authorities to update that section of your table.  Note that if you corrected more than one category — say both a case and a statute — you’ll need to update all affected sections of the table.

Word for Mac, right-click on cases section of the Table of Authorities.  Shows menu, cursor on "update field."

If your update needs a new table section (say you didn’t have a statute section before but now you want one), you’ll need to erase your table and create a new one.  Word can’t add new sections.

Good luck!  And congratulations on finishing your Appellate Brief!

More about Table of Authorities (including videos):

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