The Trail of Dots in a Table of Contents

For years, I’ve tried to figure out how to get the “proper” trail of dots into a Table of Contents (TOC).  The problem?  I didn’t know how to google it properly.  Apparently, you need to use the phrase “leader dots” in your query (because that is officially what they are called).

dot_leader0

It turns out to be pretty easy to do, once you understand that a typical TOC with leader dots is set up with two TABS.

dot_leader1

The first tab sets the END of the leader dots.  We use a right-justified setting for the tab to do this, and click on the “Leader dots” option.

dot_leader2

The second tab sets the BEGINNING of the page numbers, so it is left-justified and placed just to the right of the first tab.  For example, if you set the first tab for 5.375″, you might set the second tab for 5.5″.

dot_leader3

Of course, it’s easier to just generate a TOC automatically from the Document Map, but that isn’t always an option (i.e. APA or MLA documents are tricky).   Here’s my quick 2-minute tutorial for setting the tabs for leader dots in Word 2007.

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