Monday, September 9, 2013


Now that you have your table of contents inserted in your document, let's spend this last part considering some common issues and problems that I've experienced myself and seen others have as well.

Occasionally, odd text from other parts of your document might show up in your table of contents. Sometimes, it is whole paragraphs that are simply part of the body and not part of any heading. If this happens, go to that part of your document that is showing up in your table of contents and highlight it. Then, right click on it and choose paragraph. From here, check the outline level. It is probably set at a heading number as opposed to body text. Simply change it to body text. When you next update your table of contents, that errant text should disappear.

Speaking of updating your table of contents, don't forget to do that at the very end or your editing immediately prior to printing or sending your work out. Remember, one of the advantages of using the built in table of contents feature is that it will update your page numbers and even your heading texts when they change. But it doesn't do this automatically; you have to tell it to update.

To update your table of contents, you can either right click in the middle of the table itself and choose "Update field" or go to the reference tab. You will then have the choice of either updating the entire table of contents or just the page numbers. I almost always choose to update the entire table to capture any changes in the text of the headings I may have made.

Lastly, when you are using the built in table of contents function alongside the table of authorities function, odd things can happen. If you have symbols turned on (you clicked on the pilcrow as I previously recommended), then you will notice a long string of text after every one of your cases or statutes that you have marked to be included in your table of authorities. This long text will actually mess with the page layouts, placing your headings later in the document and potentially on a different page on your screen than it will when printed because that extra stuff after the case isn't printed. The table of contents will use the page number that appears on the screen and not the one that prints. So, prior to updating your table of contents, I recommend turning symbols off.

Hopefully these posts have helped demystify how to create and use tables of contents.

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