Legal Office Guru header image

Legal Office Guru

≡ Menu

Get the "Best of Legal Office Guru"!

I’ll drop the most popular Legal Office Guru posts into your inbox to help you do your job faster and easier. Like these:

  • Fixing funky text spacing in Word
  • Making your Outlook emails un-ignorable
  • Autonumbering discovery requests … in five keystrokes!
  • Using and formatting a Table of Authorities or Table of Contents
  • Setting tabs without tearing your hair out
  • Using Sections to customize headers, footers and page numbers

Subscribe TODAY and I’ll send you my free 22-page Fast Formatting Fixes report with my top tips on fixing funky formatting in Word!

Easier date entry in Excel

woman holding question mark

A local law office manager contacted me recently with this dilemma:

If I format the column as a date column so that my dates look like 05/12/16, all is well as long as I put in the slashes. I’ve got tons of dates to input and if I could simply put in 051216 and let IT put in the slashes, that would be wonderful – but when I do enter 051216, Excel changes it to 03/21/40. What’s it doing and how can I fix this?

Normally, speedy data entry isn’t a problem in Excel. As long as you set up the “where the cursor goes after you hit Enter” setting correctly, you can just type away.

Dates, however, are a bit of a pain in the … neck. As our hapless office manager has noted. Oh, no! Can this spreadsheet be saved? Click to find out –>

Want your next raise? You’ll have to test for it

I was having lunch with a friend of mine recently, and she was telling me about the new staff bonus plan they just announced at the megalawfirm where she works. It seems legal assistants and other staff members have an opportunity to earn $1,000 by scoring 90% or above on a series of tests on tech skills including proficiency in Microsoft Word.

Oh, I’m sorry, did I say “bonus”? My bad. I meant “salary adjustment”. You see, the $1,000 isn’t on top of whatever annual raise they get. It IS their annual raise.

Excuse me? Yeah, you read that right. Click here to read more –>

How to keep Track Changes from broadcasting your confidential data

Child looking through a magnifying glass

If you frequently edit documents in “group” mode (exchanging drafts of a release with opposing counsel, for example), you’ve probably used Word’s Track Changes feature to stay on top of the edits.

Track Changes, however, has its problems. Sometimes it’s tricky to even tell if Track Changes is turned on. That becomes particularly important when you’re exchanging documents with people outside the office (and critical when it’s opposing counsel you’re dealing with). After all, if you don’t know that your own edits are being tracked and recorded, you may be inadvertently revealing confidential information.

Fortunately, you can tweak certain settings in Microsoft Word to ensure that you don’t get tripped up by hidden tracked changes. Here are my suggestions for features you should turn on so Track Changes is always open and obvious and under your complete control. [click to continue…]

How one Legal Office Guru reader is using my SEQ autonumbering technique

Work smarter not harder

I’m always gratified when a solution I’ve come up with (and published) is helping people in the “real world” (as opposed to … what? ?). Sometimes, I find out about it when readers email me to tell me how they’re using a solution in their office. But occasionally, I see increased traffic “click over” from another site and follow the referring link to see what’s going on.

It was the latter scenario that brought this blog post to my attention:

http:\www.remedialactionlawblog.com\making-numbering-interrogatories-and-requests-for-productionadmission-easy-with-video\

I especially liked three things about this person’s deployment of my “how to autonumber interrogatories using the SEQ field” technique:

  • It updates the technique for Word 2013 users (the original tutorial was published in 2012);
  • The blogger has deployed this throughout his firm using a customized Building Blocks file; and
  • It has video!

So head on over to Remedial Action Law to check it out!

(Post image: © Iqoncept | Dreamstime.comWork Smarter Not Harder Arrow Target Goal Effective Efficient Pr Photo)

Reader Question: Getting changes to the Normal template to “stick”

woman holding question mark

In response to my last post, I got this comment from a reader:

I am so tired of having to fix [settings] with every document. I also clicked on “new documents based on this template” and it did not stick on future documents. I was able to change my default font and that ridiculous 1.15 line spacing. I work in academia and they still always want 1″ margins all the way around and I got so frustrated with Word’s default left and right margins of 1.25. I finally fixed that but I cannot remember how I did it.

Dolores hits on an important point: clicking the radio button next to “new documents based on this template” in the Modify Styles dialog box doesn’t always make the change “stick” to the Normal template, so you’re sometimes stuck revising settings like default paragraph spacing and margins repeatedly. (I say “sometimes” because whether or not a setting sticks seems to be pretty random.)

So why does this happen, and what can you do about it? [click to continue…]