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Use Style Separators with Level 3, 4 and 5 Heading Styles

According to the APA style, the body of the paragraph follows directly after level 3, 4 and 5 headings.

However, when using MS Word’s automated Table of Contents (TOC), if a heading style is applied to the heading so that it can automatically populate in the TOC, the text that follows the heading gets the heading style, too.

The reason? Style selections are saved in the paragraph marks that follow the text.

The solution? Insert the InsertStyleSeparator after the heading, then proceed with a different style on the same line.

See the directions below for how to do this.

What Style Separator Tags Can Do for You

Style separator tags allow you to do the following:

  • Apply heading styles to a single word or phrase in a paragraph so that only that word or phrase appears in the TOC.
  • Include two styles in a single paragraph so that the lead-in paragraph appears in the TOC.
  • Apply outline levels to lead-in text so that only the lead-in text appears in the TOC.
  • Apply outline levels to a single word or phrase in a paragraph so that only that word or phrase appears in the TOC.

It does this by inserting a hidden paragraph mark that serves as a delineator between separate styles applied in a document.

Step 1: Make the Style Separator Mark Visible

To make the style separator mark visible, follow these steps:

  1. On the Tools menu, click Options.
  2. On the View tab, click All under Formatting Marks.

Step 2: Add the Style Separator Button to Your Toolbar

Before you can use the Style Separator feature, you must add the Style Separator button to your toolbar:

  1. Click Customize on the Tools menu.
  2. Click the Commands tab, and then click All Commands in the Categories list.
  3. Locate InsertStyleSeparator in the Commands list, and then drag it to the Formatting toolbar. Click Close.

Step 3: Add the Style Separator Button to the Toolbar

To add the Style Separator button to the toolbar in Office Word 2007 or in Word 2010, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Microsoft Office button, and then click Word Options.
  2. Click Customize.
  3. In the Choose commands from list, click All Commands.
  4. In the list of commands, click Sytle Separator, click Add, and then click OK.

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Editor’s Note: This article was originally published December 17, 2015, and last updated for accuracy and completeness June 16, 2022.

Posted in  APA Editing
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