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Reader Question: How to automatically number your discovery requests … in 5 keystrokes

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If your law firm does litigation work, you’ve probably prepared lots of discovery. And you may have wondered if there’s any way you can (a) avoid typing the phrase “Interrogatory No. X” in Microsoft Word over and over again and (b) get that X to be an automatically incrementing number.

If so, the answer is, yes, you can!

One of the reasons I love reader questions is that the best ones get me flipping through my reference books, scouring the Internet, and testing, testing, testing, trying to find a solution to a problem I’ve been wondering about myself (but never got around to examining).

Such was the case with this reader question:

I’ve been searching for the best way to create auto numbering for discovery requests: dare I say in WordPerfect I had the most amazing macros that used “counter” and creating a set of discovery was a snap. I’ve struggled to find something workable in Word. Some people use Discovery Request No. X – Interrogatory; others use Interrogatories No. X, Requests for Production No. X, Requests for Admission No. X throughout a set of discovery. There has to be a way to do this in Word, and I’ve tried several different approaches, none of which worked out that well. Would you please steer me in the right direction? Thanks very, very much.

I tossed back a rather glib answer about using the AutoNumLgl field code to number the discovery requests, and she threw in this little wrinkle: her attorneys like to play mix-and-match with their discovery. In other words, they may put in a couple of interrogatories, then throw in a related request for production, then another interrogatory, then a request for admission that’s related to that interrogatory.

Um. Okay. So they’re going to need three numbering sequences operating independently. Back to the drawing board.

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

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

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) ->

How to start an autonumber sequence at >1

Recently, I’ve gotten several questions from users who love the paragraph autonumbering technique illustrated at my post “How to automatically number your discovery requests … in 5 keystrokes,” but they need to start the numbering sequence above “1”.

So, I’ve updated my original post at the bottom to show everyone how to use the “/r” switch to start the numbering sequence at 2, 3, or whatever number you need.

Click here, then scroll all the way down to the bottom of the post to check out this new trick!

Reader Question: Incrementing numbers in headers

I received an interesting email from a reader last week, and it was a variation on a theme I’d covered on this blog quite a while back: how to use autonumbering for court exhibits.

I say “variation” because, unlike my original post, this reader wanted to embed the automatic exhibit number in a footer rather than in the main document:

I am able to enter sequential exhibit numbers on the main parts of each page of my document by inserting the AutoNum category in Field codes. Is there a way to do the same in a footer/header?

If you’ve never actually tried to use certain field codes like AutoNum in a header or footer, you’ve probably never found out (the hard way) that not all of field codes work in the header/footer. Certain field codes will throw an error if you try to use them in headers and footers:

Oops.

So, if you can’t use the automatically incrementing AutoNum field, what can you use?

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