Table of Contents

Toc Tabs Tab video Second-Line-Indent



The Table of Contents (TOC) is a mandatory and vital section of your thesis/dissertation.
It is not recommended that you use templates or tools to set up the TOC. While Microsoft Word has some tools to assist with the creation of a TOC, the formatting settings can be extremely difficult to change, so we strongly suggest setting up your TOC from scratch.

The use of Tab Stops is required.
The YouTube video provided on this page shows how to set up the TOC manually using Tabs. We recommend watching it once and then following along.

Each order of heading should be indented 0.5" from the left to clearly show the hierarchy.

RECOMMENDED: View the Example pages above before starting.

Consistency in the Format

  • Set the entire page to Single-Spaced

  • Level One (1st-order) headings represent the Main Sections of the manuscript: Table of Contents, The Lists, Chapters, References, Appendices

  • Add a single line of space before each Main Section (List of Tables, Abstract, References, Appendices) and each Chapter Title (all 1st order headings)

  • The style of the headings/subheadings in the TOC does not have to match the style used in the body.

  • Do not use bold, underline, or italics in the TOC. Do not use ALL CAPS. Use Capitalization Scheme Sentence case or Title Case, even if it appears in ALL CAPS or italics in the Body.

  • Page Numbers must be flush with the right margin (You must use Tabs).

  • Multi-line headings must wrap (line break) 0.5" from the right margin.

  • Headings that are more than one line must indent and additional .25” on the second and subsequent lines.

  • Use of leader dots is optional. Use of Tab Stops is not.

HOW TO: Formatting with Tab Stops

🎦Video: Setting Tab Stops

  1. Create the "Table of Contents" heading (2" from the top of the page, styled as a 1st level heading).
  2. Set page spacing to single-spaced. Make sure it is truly single-spaced.
  3. Click on the bottom right arrow of the Paragraph box to open the Paragraph Settings window.
  4. Click on the Tabs button at the bottom left of the window.
  5. Set the first Tab stop: Type 0.5" in the "Tab stop position" box. (Align LEFT; Leader NONE) Click "Set."
  6. Enter the second tab as 1.0" (Align LEFT; Leader NONE) Click "Set."
  7. Continue adding tabs 0.5" further in for additional heading orders that your ETD contains.
  8. Set a final indent to 6.5" (Align RIGHT; Leader DOTTED - if you want to have a dotted leader line). Click "Set" then "Ok."

NOTE: You may have to highlight your level 1 heading and clear the Tabs that indent for subheadings to reduce the space between the word and the leader dots on some level one headings, if you set all of your tabs in advance. It is still quicker to set all Tabs in advance and then clear the level one headings of the indent tabs as you go.


General Formatting
  • Line Spacing: Single-spaced (with mock double-space between Main Sections)
  • Page Number: Lowercase Roman numeral (Begin with 'i')
Section Heading Formatting
  • All 1st-order headings must be 2" from the top edge of the page and must be styled consistently.
Content Formatting
  • All headings must match verbatim (word-for-word) those used in the body of manuscript.
  • Each order of heading should be indented 0.5" from the left to clearly show the hierarchy.
  • Lengthy Headings should break 0.5" before the right margin to prevent overcrowding of page numbers.
  • Lines of text that wrap to more than one line: the 2nd line indents an additional 0.25" from the left margin. 🎦VIDEO: How to Indent Heading's Second Line 0.25"
  • All page numbers associated with a given heading must correspond to the correct location in the body of the manuscript.
  • All page numbers must be right-aligned and flush with the 1" right margin.
  • About the Author section (Optional) is the last item listed in the TOC and is designated by "End Page" instead of a page number.

Appendices/Appendix in the Table of Contents
Depending on how you choose to format your Appendices, you have two options on how they are listed in the TOC:

Option A: Appendices as a Single Chapter

  • "Appendices" is listed as a 1st-order heading.
  • All subsections of the Appendices (Appendix A: Title, Appendix 1: Title or Appendix I: Title) are listed as 2nd-order headings.

          Appendix A: Title.......100
          Appendix B: Title.......100

Option B: Appendices as Separate Chapters

  • Each Appendix and its corresponding title (Appendix A: Title, Appendix 1: Title or Appendix I: Title) is listed as a 1st-order heading.
  • There is a line of space between each entry, because each entry is considered a Main Section/1st Level.

Appendix A: Title..........99

Appendix B: Title........100