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

 

ATTENTION: Electronic submission of manuscripts is REQUIRED beginning with Fall 2014. Not all web pages have been completely updated and may have contradictory information. Please contact the Thesis and Dissertation Office if you have any questions or concerns about the submission process.

 

You can force the ‘automated’ (Inserted) MS 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 our Table of Contents.  All of these instructions are based on MS Word for PCs not Macs.  Students using Macs should be able to get the general idea and then utilize the MS 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 1.5 inch Left Margin

  3. Delete any Periods you may have used to create a ‘dot leader’

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

    Example:  INTRODUCTION15

    Example:  Statement of the Problem34

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

  6. Clear the formats (Edit Menu, Clear, Format; or Home tab, Font Group, top right corner is the Clear Format command button).

  7. Set to Single-Space (MS Word 97-2003: Format Menu, Paragraph Dialog Box;  MS Word 2007:  Home tab, Paragraph Group Dialog Box Launcher.  Review the Tabs dialog box for MS Word 2007 instructions.).

To find the Tabs Dialog Box:

In MS Word 97-2003, click on the FORMAT Menu, then click on TABs.

For MS Word 2007, on the Home or Page Layout tab, click on the Paragraph Dialog Box Launcher (the dialog box launcher is the tiny square command button located in the bottom right-hand corner of the Paragraph Group).  This will bring up the Paragraph dialog box.  Then click on the Tab command button in the bottom left-hand corner.  This will bring up the Tab dialog box.

Once in the Tab Dialog Box:

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

Left = 1.5 inches

Right = 1.0 inch

Bottom = 1.0 inches

Top = 2.0 inch (1st page only; subsequent pages in section have a 1 inch top margin)

Footer (from edge) = 1.0 inch

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

  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. NOTE: You must include all of your Chapter and 1st Level Subhead Titles on the Table of Contents.  You are not required to include your 2nd or 3rd Level Subhead Titles, but if you do include your 2nd Level Subhead Titles and have any 3rd Level, you must include them also.

  4. If you are listing only the 1st Level Subhead Titles then DO NOT set the tabs for 2nd and 3rd levels.

  5. 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 to the left of the Zoom button on the Standard Toolbar in MS Word 97-2003 (if you do not find this symbol use the Word Help feature to Add this command button to the Toolbar).  In MS Word 2007, you should find this command button on the Home tab within the Paragraph Group.

Setting the TABs:

Tab (1):  Chapter Titles (indent for entire line, including the chapter number)

Tab stop position = 0.25”

Alignment = Left

Leader = NONE

Click the Set command button.

Tab (2):  1st Level Subheads

Tab stop position = 0.75”

Alignment = Left

Leader = NONE

Click the Set command button.

Tab (3):  2nd Level Subheads.

Do not set this tab if you do not have or will not be including 2nd and 3rd Level Subheads.

Tab stop position = 1.0”

Alignment = Left

Leader = NONE

Click the Set command button.

Tab (4):  3rd Level Subheads.

Set this only on the line(s) needed.  Do not set this tab at all if you do have or will not be including 2nd and 3rd Level Subheads.

Tab stop position = 1.25”

Alignment = Left

Leader = NONE

Click the Set command button.

Tab (5):  Dot Leader. 

Tab stop position = 5.6”

Alignment = Right

Leader = 2.....

Click the Set command button.

Tab (6):  Page #.

Tab stop position = 5.95”

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, Hit the tab key once.  This will indent the line 0.25 inch.  Type your chapter number and the title.

For the First Level Subhead, Hit the tab key twice.  This will indent the line 0.75 inch. Type your subhead title.

For the Second Level Subhead, you must hit the tab key three times and type your subhead title.  For the Third Level Subhead, you must hit the tab key four times and type your subhead title.

Once you have indented your lines appropriately, you are ready to add the Dot Leaders.



Your cursor should be place after the last word of the title (chapter or subhead), hit the tab key once.  This will produce the Dot Leader.  Then hit the tab key once more to move your cursor over to the Page Number position.  This will leave a blank area between the Dot Leader and the Page Number.

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 on the assumed decimal point.

If you have already typed your titles and page numbers:

For the Chapter Title, place your cursor in front of the chapter number, then hit the tab key once.  This will indent the line 0.25 inch.

For the First Level Subhead, place your cursor in front of the first word of the title and hit the tab key twice.  This will indent the line 0.75 inch.



For the Second Level Subhead, place your cursor in front of the first word of the title and hit the tab key three times.  For the Third Level Subhead, place your cursor in front of the first word of the title and hit the tab key four times.

Once you have indented your lines appropriately, you are ready to add the Dot Leaders.



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 Leader.

Now hit the tab key once more.  This will move your page number over, leaving a blank area between the Dot Leader and the Page Number.  The Page Number will be Right Aligned, this means that your page numbers will always align correctly on the assumed decimal point.

Troubleshooting:

Q1: I have blank areas after some of my titles and before the Dot Leader.

A1: When you hit the Tab key, the program will go to the first tab stop that it sees.  You cannot ‘skip’ over a stop.  The program will only ‘skip’ a tab stop position if you have typed text (i.e., your title) beyond a tab stop.  For Example, if you have set the tabs for 2nd and 3rd Level Subheads, but the title you typed was not long enough to go beyond those tabs stop positions on the ruler, this will leave a blank space before your Dot Leader.  To get rid of this space, place your cursor on the line you want to correct.  Then go back into the Tab dialog box and click and highlight the tab you wish to delete (typically the 1.0 inch or 1.25 inches tab) and then click the Clear command button.  This will delete that tab from the list.  Click OK and go back to your Table of Contents.  You should find that the blank area has disappeared.

Q2: There is no blank space between the Dot Leader and the Page Number.

A2: Click on the Show/Hide command button (refer to Item 5 under “Once in the Tab Dialog Box:”).  This will reveal the formatting for you.  You may have forgotten to hit the tab key a second time.  If there are not two right-facing arrows (one will be over the Dot Leader) then you have forgotten to hit the tab key a second time.  Place your cursor directly after the Dot Leader and hit the tab key once.  This should move your Page Numbers over.  If this does not work refer to Question 3 (Q3).

Q3: I have just hit the tab key to produce the Dot Leader.  But when I hit the tab key once more it sends my page number or cursor far to the right/to the next line.  What happened?

A3: Check your ruler bar.  You should find two tab markers on the right-hand side of the ruler (Two tiny backwards ‘L’ shapes should be here.  This is a Right Aligned tab symbol.  A Left Aligned tab symbol is a tiny ‘L’ shape).  If you only find one tab marker on the right-hand side of the ruler then you either did not set the Page Number tab stop or you did not hit the Set key when creating the tab stop.  Stop now and select all of your Table of Contents text.  Now repeat the above instructions to create the Page Number tab stop position.  Remember to click the Set command button.  Then click OK.  Look at your ruler.  There should now be two tab markers on the far right-hand side of the ruler.  Now place your cursor after the Dot Leader and hit the tab key.  This should move your page numbers over correctly.

Q4: I don’t seem to have enough tabs to indent all of my titles properly.

A4: You may have forgotten to hit the set key after creating each tab.  Look up to the ruler.  There should be four tab markers (refer to the explanation in A3), if you will not be listing 2nd and 3rd Level Subheads.  There should be five to six tab markers if you will be listing 2nd and 3rd Level Subheads.  If you do not find these tab markers then you will need to set your tabs again.  Highlight all of your Table of Contents text, then go back into the Tabs dialog box.  Click the Clear All command button, then proceed with the above instructions on Setting the Tabs.  Remember to click the Set command button after creating each tab.  The number should appear in the list (field) below the tab stop position.  Lastly, click OK.  Now try using the tabs.