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Microsoft Word for Dissertations

Describes many of the special features of Microsoft Word you can use to make formatting your dissertation easier. While it's focused on dissertations, this information is useful for any long document.

How to Handle Appendices

There are several scenarios around Appendices and how to handle them. Here they are:

If you have no appendices and you're using our template, then go ahead and delete the List of Appendices and the Appendices sections. For each section, be sure you've deleted the title, any content after the title, and the Section Break found at the end.

If you only have one Appendix, you don't need to bother doing anything fancy.  With our template, just rename the "Appendices" section heading with the name of your appendix (double-checking it is still formatted with the Heading 1 style) and ensure that there's a "Section Break (Next Page)" just before the title so it's given the required 2-inch top margin. Then it will appear in your Table of Contents as it should.

If you have more than one Appendix, they should not appear in the Table of Contents. Instead, Rackham requires that you have a List of Appendices listing them all, and only the "Appendices" section heading should appear in the Table of Contents. If you're using our template, see the instructions in there for how all of this works.

** Note: If each of your Appendices is only relevant to a particular chapter, consider making "Appendix" a section (Heading 2) within those chapters. This will save you the trouble of creating a List of Appendices, as they will instead appear under each chapter in the Table of Contents. **

If you have multiple Appendices, but each of them is only relevant to a particular chapter, check out our suggestion in the last section at the bottom of this page.


If you are not using our template, we explain below how to set up your Appendices to number themselves automatically (like we've done with Chapters).  It's even a little more complicated than it looks, and of course, we've already set this up in the ScholarSpace dissertation template, so please consider this another reason to use our template.

Setting up Appendices if you're not using our template

Here's the rough outline of what we suggest you do for Appendices, if you're comfortable modifying styles and want to set it up yourself. Please note that while using the Heading 7 style is not ideal when creating accessible digital documents (screen readers may interpret them as sub-sub-sub-sub-sub-sections, rather than “appendices”), we have found it’s the most reliable way to proceed.

  • Modify the Heading 7 numbering to automatically add "Appendix " and the letter or number to the title.
  • Modify Heading 7 to reflect the font settings that match your chapter headings (perhaps Times New Roman, Bold, 12-point, centered).
  • Modify the paragraph spacing for Heading 7 to add 72 pt (or 1 in) of space BEFORE, and 24 pt AFTER.  This helps give you the two-inch margin Rackham requires for the first page of each Appendix
  • Apply Heading 7 to the titles of each of your appendices
  • If you don't see a two-inch margin at the top of each Appendix page, place your cursor just before the title and insert a Section Break (Next Page). 
  • For the List of Appendices, we insert a new Table of Contents, and set that Table of Contents to be built only from the Heading 7 style.
    • When you first create this, it will ask if you want to replace the (real) Table of Contents, so you can reply No to that. You're creating a 2nd, custom, Table of Contents that just includes Heading 7s.



See our Appendix Figures & Tables section to learn how to handle those.

Are each of your Appendices only relevant to a particular chapter?

First off, be sure to check to see if your Style Guide (or your advisor) has requirements about how to handle Appendices. That takes precedence over anything we say below.

If each of your appendices is relevant only to a particular chapter, then here's something to consider which will make things much easier. We see a lot of people who will create a section (Heading 2) at the end of each chapter called something like, "Appendix for Chapter X", or "Supplemental Materials", or merely "Appendix". And so each appendix just goes there at the end of the particular chapter it supports.

The benefit to doing this is that – since each appendix is a section in the chapter – they show up appropriately in the ToC, and there's no need for a List of Appendices.  Additionally, you can continue to use the regular Figure and Table numbering scheme, and don't have to set up new labels or do anything tricky.