Modifying a TOC style (Word 2007 / Word 2010)

April 10, 2011 at 10:40 pm 5 comments

After you have generated a Table of Contents in Word, you might notice that the TOC entries appear in the wrong font, that they are indented more (or less) than you want, that there is too much (or not enough) white space between the entries, and/or that something else doesn’t look quite right. These elements of the TOC—the font face and size, the tab settings, the line spacing, the before and after spacing, and so forth—are determined by TOC styles that come with the program. In other words, they were designed by programmers at Microsoft whose ideas about how a TOC should look aren’t necessarily well suited for the legal profession.

Fortunately, you can modify any one or more of these styles and save your modifications—either in the particular document open on your screen or, better yet, in the template on which your document is based. If you save the style changes to the underlying template, all documents you create in the future that are based on that template will reflect those changes.

There are nine distinct TOC styles, each representing a different heading “level.” The TOC 1 style (which affects level 1 headings) positions the generated headings flush with the left margin; the TOC 2 style positions level 2 headings one tab stop in from the left margin; the TOC 3 style positions level 3 headings two tab stops in from the left margin; and so on. In many other respects, the nine built-in styles share similar formatting. However, modifying the formatting of one TOC style doesn’t affect the other eight styles, so don’t be surprised if you make some changes to the TOC 1 style and the generated TOC still doesn’t entirely meet your expectations. You might need to alter three (or more) of the styles in order to get precisely the look you want.

There are two ways to modify TOC heading styles. The first way is to use the Styles Pane, as follows:

1. First, insert the cursor into a heading in the generated TOC whose style you wish to modify.

2. Launch the Styles Pane (using either the dialog launcher or the keyboard shortcut Ctrl Alt Shift S).

3. Scroll down and look to see which TOC style is active — that is, which one appears within a thick blue border. That is the one you will modify.

4. If you can’t see the TOC style in the Styles Pane, click the Options… button at the lower right side of the pane and make sure that the Select styles to show drop-down displays “All styles.” To make it easier to find styles, also make sure that the Select how list is sorted drop-down is set to “Alphabetical.”

5. Click the “New documents based on this template” radio button—otherwise, your choices about the way that styles are displayed in the Styles Pane will be saved only in the current document—and click OK to save your settings.

6. When you locate the TOC style in the Styles Pane, right-click the name, then click Modify. That will open the Modify Style dialog.

7. Click the Format button and then click the appropriate button for the setting you want to change (e.g., Font, Paragraph, Tabs, etc.), and make all desired changes. (To modify the line spacing, the before spacing, and/or the after spacing, click the Paragraph button.)

8. Remember to click (enable) the New documents based on this template radio button if you want your changes saved to the template (for use in other documents), as opposed to saving them just in the current document.

(CAUTION: Even though Microsoft configures the TOC styles so that by default, the “Automatically update” box is checked, that option can cause problems, so it’s a good idea to uncheck it. When “Automatically update” is enabled, any manual / direct change you make to the formatting of a paragraph to which the style has been applied actually redefines the style, which can produce unexpected results.)

9. After you click the New documents radio button, click OK.

10. All instances of the style in your document should change to reflect the modifications you have made.[1]

The second method you can use to modify TOC styles is to click the References tab, navigate to the Table of Contents group, and then:

1. Click the Table of Contents drop-down, Insert Table of Contents, Modify.

2. Select the TOC style you wish to change and click Modify again.

3. When the Modify Style dialog box opens, follow steps 7 through 9, above.

Table of Authorities Styles

There are two styles that determine the appearance of the generated Table of Authorities (TOA): (1) a TOA Heading style, which affects the formatting of the TOA section headings (Cases, Statutes, Miscellaneous, and so on); and (2) a Table of Authorities style, which affects the formatting of the various TOA entries themselves.

To modify one or both such styles, you can use either of the methods outlined above for modifying a TOC style. Specifically, you can:

(1) right-click the style name in the Styles Pane, click Modify, and then follow steps 7 through 9 in the section about modifying TOC styles, or, alternatively,

(2) navigate to the References tab, Table of Authorities group, and then:

(a) click the Insert Table of Authorities button;

(b) click Modify;

(c) click to select either the Table of Authorities style or the TOA Heading style;

(d) click Modify again; and

(e) follow steps 7 through 9 above.

[1] If for some reason the style doesn’t update, you can click Ctrl Shift S to open the Apply Styles box and click Reapply. Word should offer you two choices: (1) Update the style to reflect recent changes and (2) Reapply the formatting of the style to the selection. To ensure that the document reflects the modifications you’ve made, choose (1).

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