Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Ensuring Proper Page Numbers for a Table of Authorities.

Ensuring Proper Page Numbers for a Table of Authorities

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated July 29, 2022)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365

Russ works with documents that require the creation of a Table of Authorities. In preparing a Table of Authorities, as you mark each citation in your document using Alt+Shift+I, Word inserts the resulting TA field code at the end of the citation, not the beginning. Since the location of each TA field code determines the page number that appears in the Table of Authorities, any citation that begins on one page and ends on the next has the second page number in the table. Russ notes that this is incorrect, since the page number where the citation begins is the page number that should appear in the TOA. He manually moves each TA field code to the beginning of each citation as he marks it, but it would be nice not to have to do this. Russ wonders if there is any way to tell Word to place the TA field codes at the beginning of the citations as they are marked.

Actually, Word should do more than just reference the page number where the TA field is located. If you select the full text of the citation before adding the TA field using Alt+Shift+I, then the Table of Authorities should reference a page range if the citation breaks across two pages. In other words, it should say something like 14-15 if the citation spans the boundary between pages 14 and 15.

If you prefer to simply have the beginning page number, there are a couple of things that can be tried. First, you could change how you are adding the TA field to your citations. Instead of using Alt+Shift+I, paste your TA field where you want it. For instance, let's say that you have a correct TA field set up at the beginning of a citation. Select the field and copy it to the Clipboard (Ctrl+C). Now, position the insertion point at the beginning of the next instance of this citation and press Ctrl+V to paste the field in the proper location. Pressing Ctrl+V is just as easy as pressing Alt+Shift+I, and you end up with the TA field in the proper location.

Another thing you can try has to do with paragraph formatting. If the paragraphs in your document are not terribly long, you can set the formatting for the style used for the paragraphs so that a paragraph won't beak across pages. (You want to set the Keep Lines Together attribute for the style.) In this way, no paragraph will go across a page boundary and you will end up with your TA fields on the proper page all the time.

You may have also noticed that one of the optional switches for the TA field is the \r switch. This switch causes the field to reference a bookmark as the source of the page number used. You can use this \r switch as a potential solution, but the steps you go through might be just as painful as moving the TA field manually. How would you use the \r switch? If you place a bookmark at the beginning of the citation, you can reference the bookmark in the \r switch. The upshot is that regardless of where the TA field is physically located, it always refers to the location of the bookmark for the page number, and that bookmark is at the beginning of the citation.

Of course, what makes this approach painful is that the \r switch has to be added to the TA field manually, and you need to add the bookmark that the switch references. (See—I told you this could be painful.)

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (11743) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Ensuring Proper Page Numbers for a Table of Authorities.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...


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