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How to Format an Appellate Brief: MAC - Preparing Your Document

This guide was developed by Cynthia Condit for the University of Montana School of Law William J. Jameson Law Library. Used with permission.



The 3 basic steps to preparing your document:

  • Create a page before main body of your brief
  • Divide your brief into sections
  • Paginate your brief

First: create a page before the main body of your brief

  1. Place cursor at top left of body of brief > go to Document Elements tab > Insert Pages > Blank
  2. At the top of the blank page type on three separate lines:  Cover Page, Table of Contents, and Table of Authorities.

Note: In Word 2011 for MAC, the default font is Cambria.  If you typed your brief in Cambria (or other font) and wish to change it, you can do so now.

  • Command-A will highlight entire document
  • Home Tab > select font (e.g., Times New Roman) > adjust font size also at this time if you wish

Next: divide your brief into sections as follows:

  1. Section 1 = Cover Page
  2. Section 2 = both the TOC and TOA
  3. Section 3 = rest of the brief

To divide your brief into sections insert section page breaks into your document:

  1. First, go to the page where you typed Cover Page, TOC, and TOA
  2. Put cursor at left of the T of "Table of Contents"
  3. Go to Layout tab > Break > click arrow > opens dialog box > Section Breaks (NOT Page Breaks) > Next Page
  4. That is one section done.
  5. Next, put cursor at left of the first heading in the body of your brief (this should be the first word of your brief)
  6. Go to Layout > Break > Section Breaks > Next Page
  7. Your brief is now divided into 3 sections (Cover Page; TOC & TOA; Body of Brief)

Last: insert pagination as follows:

  1. Cover Page (section 1) is NOT paginated
  2. TOC & TOA (section 2) is paginated using small Roman numerals (i, ii, iii...)
  3. Body of Brief (section 3) is paginated using regular Arabic numbers (1, 2, 3...)

How to insert pagination > TOC &TOA (section 2):

  1. Put cursor somewhere in Section 2 > Document Elements tab > Header & Footer subtab > click Page # > select a Position > select an Alignment > check "Show on first page"
  2. Click Format > at Number Format drop down select "i, ii, iii..." > Start at > OK > OK

How to insert pagination > Body of Brief (section 3):

  1. Process is same as for Section 2 except you want to use regular Arabic numbers
  2. Put cursor somewhere in section 3 > Document Elements tab > Header and Footer subtab > Page # > select a Position > select an Alignment > check "Show on first page"
  3. Click Format > Number Format drop down > select "1, 2, 3..." > Start at > OK > OK

Note:  If a page number appears on the Cover Page, place cursor somewhere on the Cover Page > Header & Footer subtab > click Page # > de-select "Show number on first page" > page number should disappear


You are done with preparing your document!