Skip to Local Navigation
Skip to Content
California State University, Long Beach
CSULB Library
Print this pageAdd this page to your favoritesSelect a font sizeSelect a small fontSelect a medium fontSelect a large font
 

Thesis and Dissertation Office - How to Set Up Table of Contents Tabs

 

You can force the "automated" (inserted) Microsoft Word Table of Contents into our University format requirements; however, it can take considerably more time than using tabs if you do not already know how to modify an inserted table of contents.

Below you will find the basic instructions on setting up the tabs required for creating a table of contents. All of these instructions are based on Microsoft Word for PCs not Macs. Students using Macs should be able to get the general idea and then utilize the Microsoft Word Help feature to find the commands needed for this version.

If your document is a new document, without text or formatting of any kind, proceed straight to “To find the Tabs Dialog Box” instructions.

If you already have text and formatting:

  1. Remove all formatting (this includes any tabs you have manually entered and any line indentation).

  2. Bring all lines back to the 1 inch left margin

  3. Delete any periods (or dots) you may have used to create "dot leaders" from the words of a listing to the page number

  4. The last word of each title and its page number should be joined as one.

    Example:  LIST OF TABLESv

    Example:  3. METHODOLOGY34

  5. Select all text and leave selected through steps 6 and 7 and throughout the tab setting process.

  6. Clear the format settings: In the HOME tab, under the Font Group, the top right icon is the Clear Format command button (looks like the letter A partially covered by a red eraser).

  7. Set to single-line spacing: In the HOME tab or the PAGE LAYOUT tab, click on the small box to the right of the word "Paragraph" to bring up a dialog box. In the "Spacing" section near the middle of the Paragraph Dialog Box, set line spacing to "Single" and line spacing boxes (marked "Before and "After") to "0 pt"

To find the Tabs Dialog Box:

Bring up the Paragraph Dialog Box as described in step 7. Then click on the Tabs command button in the bottom left-hand corner. This will bring up the Tabs Dialog Box.

Once in the Tabs Dialog Box:

All of the following instructions are based on the following margins:

Left = 1.0 inch

Right = 1.0 inch

Bottom = 1.0 inch

Top = 1.0 inch

Footer (from bottom edge) = 0.8 inch

  1. Click on the Clear All command button. This will clear all tabs that may still be in your table of contents.

  2. Basic Instructions:  Place your cursor in the Tab stop position field and enter the first tab stop position.  Next, click on the needed Alignment and the needed LeaderClick the Set command button (you must complete this step for each tab you want to create).  Then enter the next tab stop position (repeat process for each new tab). 

  3. It is advisable to click on the Show/Hide command button which has this symbol, ¶ . This will reveal where you have hit tabs, enters, and spaces. Tabs will appear as a single right-facing arrow. Paragraph returns or enters will appear as the ¶ symbol. Spaces will appear as a tiny solid dot in the middle of the line.

The Show/Hide command button typically appears under the HOME tab.

Setting the Tabs:

Tab (1):  Chapter titles or appendix titles (indent for entire line, including the chapter number or appendix letter)

Tab stop position = 0.25”

Alignment = Left

Leader = NONE

Click the Set command button.

Tab (2): Extra indentation for chapter titles or appendix titles that are longer than one line

Tab stop position = 0.75”

Alignment = Left

Leader = NONE

Click the Set command button.

Tab (3):  Dot leaders 

Tab stop position = 6.32”

Alignment = Right

Leader = 2.....

Click the Set command button.

Tab (4):  Page number

Tab stop position = 6.45”

Alignment = Right

Leader = NONE

Click the Set command button.

To finish and go back to your document click OK.

Using the Tabs:

If you have not yet typed your titles or pages numbers:

For the chapter title or appendix title, hit the Tab key once. This will indent the line 0.25 inch. Type your chapter number and the title.

If chapter title or appendix title is longer than one line, hit Enter key where needed to force words to the next line (do not extend words into column of page numbers) and then hit Tab key twice. This will indent the line 0.75 inch.

Once you have indented your lines appropriately, you are ready to add the dot leaders (row of dots leading from words of title to page number).

 

With our cursor placed after the last word of the title (chapter or section title), hit the Tab key once. This will produce the dot leaders. Then hit the Tab key once more to move your cursor over to the page number position. 

Now type your page number. Because this tab was right aligned, when you type you will notice that as you type the numbers are moving left instead of moving right (i.e., you are typing right to left).  This means that your page numbers will always align correctly.

If you have already typed your titles and page numbers:

For the chapter title or appendix title, place your cursor in front of the chapter number or appendix letter, then hit the Tab key once. This will indent the line 0.25 inch.

If chapter title or appendix title is longer than one line, hit Enter key where needed to force words to the next line (do not extend words into column of page numbers) and then hit Tab key twice. This will indent the line 0.75 inch.

Once you have indented your lines appropriately, you are ready to add the dot leaders (dots leading from words of title to page number).



If you have already typed your page numbers and they are adjoined to the last word of your titles as instructed (refer to the instructions under “If you already have text and formatting”), then place your cursor between the last word of your title and the page number and hit the Tab key once. This will produce the dot leaders.

Now hit the Tab key once more. This will move your page number over. The page number will be right aligned; this means that your page numbers will always align correctly.