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Tech for Lawyering Competencies: Research & Writing: MS Word for Lawyers: Table of Authorities

Covers technology that assists with note-taking and writing


What is it?

A Table of Authorities (TOA) is the compilation of all legal authorities cited in your document. The table contains citations by category and lists the various pages those legal authorities can be located on within the document. 

Here is an example:



Creating a TOA is absolutely necessary for appellate work. It requires marking citations in your Word document.

By default, Microsoft Word organizes your Table of Authorities into seven sections:

  1. Cases
  2. Statutes
  3. Other Authorities
  4. Rules
  5. Treatises
  6. Regulations
  7. Constitutional provisions

And that’s the order in which authorities will be organized in your TOA. If you’ve got a citation that doesn’t fit into any of those seven categories, there are nine other slots you can define for those, for a total of 16 sections.

(Special thanks to Deborah Savadra. See Deborah Savadra, Using Microsoft Word’s Table of Authorities, (2016),

Marking a Citation

Select the citation using either your mouse or keyboard. To mark the citation, either press ALT-SHIFT-I (which works in all versions of Word from 2002 through 2016) or go to the References tab with your mouse and click Mark Citation:

Click the Category drop-down below and assigned the citation to one of the categories. (If you need to make your own category, just click the Category button on the right, select the next number and type the new category name in the “Replace with” field to rename it, then click OK.)

If you’ve got the same case cited multiple times and you’re sure your short citation format is consistent throughout your document, you can click Mark All to mark all instances of this case at once. If you’re more cautious, click the Next Citation button, and Word will find the next text string that resembles a legal citation and allow you to mark that, too.

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.  Click “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.

(Above text from Did You Know: Table of Authorities, by Debbie Ginsberg,

Creating the Table of Authorities

Place your cursor at the point in your document where you want the TOA to begin (usually just under the heading “Table of Authorities”), go to the References tab, and click the Insert Table of Authorities button in the upper right-hand corner:

You’ll get the Table of Authorities dialog box:



See that checkbox just below the Print Preview called “Use passim”? If any of your cases are cited five or more times in your brief (which might make for an awkward-looking TOA), Word will insert “passim” for the second and subsequent citations to save room. Not every court allows it, so check your local rules or call the court clerk. At this point it appears SCOTUS does not want passim used

Keep Original Formatting

If, for example, your case names are italicized within the body of the brief, checking this box will carry that same character formatting into the TOA.

Tab Leader

This is the string of characters that separates the end of each citation from its page numbers. For example, this citation has a dot leader (the default):
You can also choose a dashed line, a solid line, or no leader at all.


Generally, you’ll want to use the format “from template,” meaning that the formatting of the category heading and citation styles are inherited from the fonts being used in the brief’s template. Also available, however, are some predefined formats should you wish to use those.


If for some reason you only want to include the citations from a single category in your TOA, you can choose from the list in the Category scroll box. Usually, though, you’ll want to choose “All” to include all categories in order.

Updating your TOA

Update/refresh all fields and make a final check

Now that your pagination has returned to normal, you need to refresh your TOA. To force all codes in the document to update, press CTRL-A (selects all text except headers/footers and footnotes), then press F9 (updates fields). Or, highlight the tale of authorities, click References tab, go to Table of Authorities and click Update Table.

Creating TOA on a Mac

This helpful LibGuide can be of assistance in you are using an Apple Mac (Word 2011).

Further Reading

Consider reading this excellent blog by Deborah Savadra on Legal Office Guru. 

Appellate Brief Example