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Want that “15th day of August, 2012” to self-update? Here’s how

Want that “15th day of August, 2012” to self-update? Here’s how post image

If your documents are anything like the ones I’ve worked on over the years, there’s at least one section (the “Respectfully submitted” or the Certificate of Service in pleadings or the notary acknowledgement, for example) that has this in it:


Dated this the 15th day of August, 2012


If you start drafting the document on the 15th but don’t actually file (or sign or whatever) until, say, the 21st or the 30th or, heaven forbid, sometime next month or year, you’re either going to have to leave blanks for the day, month and/or year while you’re drafting or remember to update all those dates when you finalize the document.

But what if you didn’t have to do either one? What if your document was smart enough to do its own updating, based on the date you saved it last?

Click here to see this trick –>

The four dates you can embed in your Word documents

The four dates you can embed in your Word documents post image

One of the most fun discoveries new Microsoft Word users make is the self-updating date. You may already know exactly what I’m talking about: you click a couple of times, and suddenly you’ve got today’s date embedded in your document, and it will update itself every time you open the document.

But what if what you want isn’t necessarily today’s date? What if you need the document to reflect the date it was saved, or printed, or created?

The good news is, you can get any of those with a couple more mouse clicks and a little know-how.

Next: how to put in Today’s Date (click here to continue) ->

Bulletproof Paragraph Numbering, Part 5

Early on in our Bulletproof Paragraph Numbering journey, Heather chimed in with this dilemma:

Our office typically uses headings when setting up multi-level lists and links them to styles. Unfortunately, as you know, doing that causes the style type to be linked when you go to modify styles.

Unfortunately, I have some very picky attorneys I work with who have exact specifications to their headings that don’t always work with Words functionality. For instance: ARTICLE 1. They want the text that follows ARTICLE 1. to be on the same line as the heading. They also want ARTICLE 1. to be bolded and underlined, HOWEVER, they don’t want the period bolded and underlined following ARTICLE 1. –> They also don’t want the text underlined and bolded.

As you can imagine, this proves very difficult since the paragraphs and characters are linked due to the fact that it is associated with a heading. With your vast storage of knowledge, can you think of a simpler way for me to set this up? They want headings to show up in and outline, or if necessary a TOC.

I clarified her attorney’s requirements with her, and she followed up with an additional example:

Also, I have one attorney who would prefer:

ARTICLE 1. (ARTICLE Bolded, Underlined but no period underlined and bolded)
ARTICLE 1. DEFINITIONS. Text (Text not underlined)

Another example:
4. (4 is Bolded)
4. Definitions (Definitions is Bolded and Underlined)
4. Definitions. (The Period is Bolded but not underlined)
4. Definitions. Text (The Text is plain no bold or underline)

It makes me want to pull my hair out!

I can completely sympathize! Those are both some pretty exacting specifications. Using Heather’s attorneys’ examples as inspiration, here’s one example of what’s possible:


Notice that:

  • The “Section” headings are on the same line as the remainder of its related paragraph.
  • The “Article” and “Section” headings are in all caps, bold and (at least the Sections) underlined within the text, but not within the Table of Contents.
  • While you can’t really see this above, both “Article” and “Section” can be cross-referenced (as initial caps and with context-appropriate formatting) within another paragraph in the document.

Pulling off distinct formatting of numbering, the lead-in headings, and the rest of the paragraph requires mastery of two techniques: Style Separators and Numbering versus Heading formatting.

Let’s dive in, shall we? –>

Bulletproof Paragraph Numbering, Part 4

Some of you have asked, in the comments to previous installments of this series, how to save your favorite numbering scheme for future use and how to embed paragraph formatting (line spacing, spaces between paragraphs, etc.) into your numbering scheme. Doing either of these things requires that we back up a bit.

While you can save a list numbering scheme like the ones we’ve covered so far in the List Gallery by right-clicking it in the Lists in Current Documents section and choosing Save in List Library:


… that doesn’t allow you to name your list something that you’ll remember, nor does the Define New Multilevel List dialog allow you to directly change paragraph formatting or other settings you may want to embed in a custom numbering scheme.

To do those things, we’ll need to deal with Styles and Define a New List Style.

[click to continue…]

Bulletproof Paragraph Numbering, Part 3

This time, we’re going to deal with multilevel numbering with text that may (or may not) need to eventually be included in a Table of Contents. When I say some of the text “may or may not be included in a Table of Contents”, that’s because (unlike the numbering to covered in the previous tutorials) each level of this numbering will be linked to Heading Styles. This adds a new level of complexity to the proceedings, but it also switches on some pretty cool features and capabilities, such as:

  • Including headings in an automated Table of Contents (mentioned that already)
  • Reviewing the document’s structure within the Navigation View
  • Moving entire sections of a document around without cut-and-paste (again, via the Navigation View)
  • Automatically updating cross-references between paragraphs/sections (for instance, if you renumber Article II to Article III, any related references to Article II get updated including, if you like, noting whether the new Article III is “above” or “below” the reference)
  • Being able to repeat the entire text of a particular numbered heading elsewhere in the document (example: “see Section 3.01 Calculating Allocations”) without having to manually adjust those references when titles change
  • Revising the font/paragraph styling of a particular level heading in one series of steps (rather than going through the entire document and revising each heading manually)

Have I missed any benefits? Probably. Once you start embedding automated fields like paragraph numbering into your documents, you can find all sorts of ways to automatically update and cross-reference. If you’re producing long, complex documents, this comes in really handy.

How is this different from the type of automatic paragraph numbering I covered in the last post? Look at the difference between this:


… and this:


Some of the differences will be obvious; some, not. In the first example, every paragraph is numbered. In the second example, only the headings are numbered, while the related paragraphs underneath are not.

What’s not apparent from casual observation is that the second example actually uses the Heading Styles to create the numbered text. If you’ve been following along with this series, you’ll remember that I’ve very carefully avoided linking any of those numbering levels with a particular Style. In this example, the numbering will be explicitly linked to Heading Styles to create an outline. That’s what’s going to enable a lot of the benefits noted above.

[click to continue…]