3 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:

word-2016-paranum-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.

Keep reading →

12 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:

word-2016-paranum-ex-2

… and this:

word-2016-paranum-ex-3

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.

Keep reading →

23 Bulletproof Paragraph Numbering, Part 2

In the previous post in this series, we went through the basics of setting up a multilevel paragraph numbering scheme for inline numbering (“inline” meaning that the number appears at the beginning of the paragraph and that each paragraph has a separate number). This is the kind of numbering that Word automatically applies (once you start the numbering scheme) whenever you press the Enter key to start a new paragraph.

So, to refresh your memory from the last post, here’s what kind of numbering we’re covering today:

word-2016-paranum-ex-2

Keep reading →

19 Bulletproof Paragraph Numbering, Part 1

Nearly every week, I get an email like this:

When using several different Styles in a document, I sometimes (TOO often) find that the formatting of a paragraph has reverted to an odd-size line or paragraph indent or the numbering doesn’t change back to 1, notwithstanding that I’ve selected “Restart list after …” in the Define new Multilevel list box. It seems that something is corrupted. Can you explain?

Or like this:

Hi! My biggest headache is paragraph numbering, I never know how to set it up to do it automatically and end up putting the paragraph numbers in manually. Also, how to get back to the main heading (e.g. no. 2, Communication & Procedures) then back to the sub-headings e.g. 2.1.

Which boils down to this:

Multilevel list numbering is my biggest frustration!

Even though I’ve included some paragraph numbering training in my basic Word course and have published articles elsewhere dealing with paragraph numbering specifically and various types of automatic numbering generally, it seems multi-level numbering is enough of an irritation to a sufficient number of people that I need to deal with this subject head-on.

Part of the problem with Microsoft Word’s paragraph numbering feature (single- or multi-level) is that it’s a twisted combination of Styles and Fields, so twisted it’s nearly impossible to separate them. Word has a lot of paragraph numbering Styles already built in, but following the advice of some genuine Microsoft Word experts (Ben SchorrJan Berinstein and the late Shauna Kelly), I’m going to show you how to create your own multi-level paragraph numbering List Styles you can save into your Normal (or other) template and use forever after.

The questions I’ve gotten are usually asking about one of three different types of multi-level numbering:

Inline multi-level numbering. This is paragraph numbering that looks like this:

word-2016-paranum-ex-1

Inline multi-level numbering with text. This paragraph numbering differs slightly from the above in that there is some text before and/or after the number which may or may not need to be included in a Table of Contents, like this:

word-2016-paranum-ex-2

Numbered headings. This numbering is embedded in headings that float above its related text, like so:

word-2016-paranum-ex-3

Given that we’re talking about three different types of multi-level paragraph numbering, I’ll deal with each type in a separate post. This post deals with the first type listed above, inline multi-level numbering.

(If you’ve never used Word’s built-in multi-level paragraph numbering and want a primer on how to use it, click here.)

But first, let’s talk about the basic methodology I’m going to use on all three types: creating your own list definitions to control the numbering. Because, let’s face it, the built-in ones are too hard for most people to control.

Keep reading →

1 How to Keep Obscure (but Useful) Word Commands in Easy Reach

Believe it or not, even with as many commands as are on the Microsoft Word Ribbon, there are some features that are nowhere to be found. Rather than dig through layers of dialog boxes or try to remember obscure shortcut keys, why not add a few essential (for you) commands to the Ribbon or Quick Access Toolbar? I’ll show you one example, but you can use this technique for any Word function.

Example Command: Adjust List Indents

Most legal users aren’t really happy with the default indentation of the paragraph numbering feature. Short of configuring your own paragraph numbering scheme, though, there doesn’t seem to be much of a way around it.

You can adjust the default List Paragraph Style’s indents on-the-fly by right-clicking on the paragraph number and choosing Adjust List Indents. But you’d have to know that feature’s there to use it.

Keep reading →

11 5 Options You’ll Want to Re-Set in Word

A big part of making Word work better for you is molding the way it works to the way you work. Most users don’t know they’ve got options for how certain features perform. Some things you’ll want to get out of your way, some things you’ll want to make easier to access. Here are my suggestions for changing Word’s defaults to work better in a legal environment:

First Step: Going into Options

Most of the default behaviors in Word are set within the Options dialog box. To get there (a necessary prerequisite for all of the exercises below), go to the File tab (if you’re still using Word 2007, click the Office Button) and click Options.

Once you’re in Options, you’re ready to rock.

Keep reading →

6 How To Add a Style to Quick Styles

Even those who have used Quick Styles frequently don’t know that there are lots more Styles available in Word. Getting one-click access to a Style, though, really requires that it be listed in the Quick Styles gallery (that list on the right-hand side of the Home tab).

If there’s a particular Style that you always want to be available within the Quick Styles gallery (especially one you just created for a particular purpose), here’s how to designate a Style as a Quick Style. Keep reading →

6 Creating new Styles in Microsoft Word

Microsoft Word Styles are the most basic building blocks in Word. One of the first things you’ll need to learn after you master the interface and basic formatting is using the Quick Styles listed on the Home tab. Often, though, the Quick Styles don’t contain a particular Style your document needs.

If the default Microsoft Word Styles don’t fully meet your needs (for example, you need one for block quotes), you can create a new one. There are a couple of different ways to do this. I’ll start with what I think is the easiest one first. Keep reading →

1 Using the Clipboard to Multi-Paste

When you’re drafting a pleading (particularly an answer to a complaint or discovery) you probably find yourself using a few of the same phrases over and over. Rather than going back and recopying those snippets repeatedly (or worse, retyping them), use the Microsoft Word Clipboard to quickly access and paste them again and again. Keep reading →

10 Cutting and pasting from WordPerfect (or elsewhere)

We’ve all done it — there’s already a WordPerfect (or even Word) document that you need some text out of (a letter addressee, a section out of a brief, whatever), so you decide to cut-and-paste from WordPerfect into your current Word document.

And the formatting in your Word document goes totally … WAAAAAAHHHH!

Here’s how to avoid that:

Keep reading →

2 Reader Question: How to double indent faster

It was one of those emails that I knew I’d get sooner or later:

When indenting a paragraph for a quote in a motion for instance, is there a way to indent both the left and right margins of the paragraph using a keyboard shortcut? I seem to recall Ctrl+M in WordPerfect, but don’t know of a built-in shortcut for MS Word.

Yeah, I’ve kind of been bummed about that, too.

The short answer is, no. Word didn’t considerately offer up a built-in shortcut key that’ll automatically indent both the right and left margins for an extended quote. I do not know why. It is a mystery for the ages. (Okay, maybe not quite that dramatic.)

But where Microsoft has failed, you can succeed. Here are three suggestions I had:

Keep reading →

Easier date entry in Excel

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. Keep reading →

5 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.

Keep reading →

3 How to keep Track Changes from broadcasting your confidential data

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. Keep reading →

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

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)

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

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? Keep reading →

8 Why using Microsoft Word’s Normal template is like matching socks

My brother’s a pretty frugal guy. While I’m the sort of person who just walks in the store and buys something, he comparison shops, uses coupons, haggles with sellers, and just basically gets a better deal than I do. (He’s the family accountant. I’m the writer. It makes sense.)

So when he told me he’d thrown out all his socks and bought all new ones, I thought he’d lost his mind. Until he told me why.

Basically, he spent money to save time.

You see, he’d gotten frustrated with one part of his morning routine: matching socks. He’d sift through his sock drawer, one sock in hand, looking for another one just like it. Morning after morning, looking for a sock with the same color, same markings, same brand.

Until he just got fed up, threw the whole lot of them out, and bought a bunch of new ones, all the same brand. (He still got a good deal.) Now he just goes to the drawer, grabs two blue (or two black) socks out, and he’s done.

What the blazes do socks have to do with Microsoft Word? Keep reading →

Learn how to use email better and fix your Word line spacing

Just because I haven’t posted here in a couple of weeks (longer?) doesn’t mean I haven’t been busy! Here are some tips I’ve posted elsewhere on the interwebs recently:

Declutter Your Inbox — Six experts (and I) share our top tips on keeping your email inbox sane. We each weigh in on Inbox Zero and share our best practices on dealing with the influx of daily messages. Click here to read what Lee Rosen of Divorce Discourse, Heidi Alexander of the Massachusetts Law Office Management Assistance Program (MassLOMAP), Catherine Sanders Reach (Director, Law Practice Management and Technology, for the Chicago Bar Association), Mark Rosch and Carole Levitt of Internet for Lawyers, Nora Regis (Trainer & Coordinator, Law Practice Management and Technology, for the Chicago Bar Association) and I have to say about how we optimize our email.

Fixing Your #@(*$#)$( Single-Spacing in Microsoft Word — Confession: I swear at Microsoft Office occasionally. And one of the things that frustrates me the most is a setting that Microsoft (in its not-so-infinite wisdom) re-set in recent versions of Word. Lawyerist recently re-published this article I wrote for them back in 2013 because, well, people are still wondering why their single-spacing looks a little off. Click here to find out why and how to fix it … permanently.

The “I’m SO not a computer person” guide to computer security

Computer security used to be something you left up to professionals. You know, you hire an IT guy or gal, and they take care of securing everything for you.

That was back in the day when your boss provided all your technology. You used a computer someone else owned hooked up to someone else’s network, then went home to watch a TV that had a tube in it. Those days are over.

They’re over because you’re bringing your own smartphone and/or tablet to work and toting a laptop home and using the now ubiquitous “cloud”. Welcome to the age of BYOD.

All this means you need to take more responsibility for securing your data, especially if you have an ethical responsibility for client data (which, if you’re a legal professional, you do).

Fortunately, data security is not as daunting as it sounds, especially when someone like Sam Glover at Lawyerist breaks it down for you in his new guide, 4-Step Security Upgrade.

And when I say Sam “breaks it down”, I mean it. This 35-page guide shows you how to do the essential stuff in under an hour, including:

  • Encrypting the files on your hard drive (I didn’t know it was that easy)
  • Surfing safely on wi-fi (if you don’t know what “sniffing packets” is, then I suggest you don’t go to Starbucks again until you do)
  • Using two-factor identification for logging into key accounts (these days, you need more than a password to be safe)
  • Managing your passwords (that’s plural, people — do NOT use one password all over the flippin’ Internet!)

Lawyerist’s 4-Step Security Upgrade is a critical investment in peace of mind — yours and your clients’. Click here to check it out.
(No, I don’t make any money off this. Sam’s a friend, and this is a good resource. I did, however, get a free review copy.)