Category Archives for "Uncategorized"

1 How to index a USB drive in 10 seconds

Now that we're in the age of digitized documents, you've probably gotten one of those CDs, DVDs, or USB drives containing what would otherwise be reams upon reams of paper. While the digital versions certainly take up less space in your office, there's no obvious physical structure to what's been produced. And if you've gotten the disk from an adverse party, there's probably no folder or file list available, either.

So how you get a handle on all that (virtual) paper?

Obviously, printing the whole disk and organizing everything into physical folders is too cost-prohibitive and space-intensive (although I have seen it done). And I was a little shocked when one of our firm's paralegals decided that the only way to get a definitive list of an expert deponent's voluminous document production was to take a bajillion screenshots of his USB drives and directories and paste them into a Microsoft Word document for her boss, a task she said would take her all day.

"Oh no," I said. "There's a much easier way to do that."

Keep reading →

Table of Contents: Manually marking TOC entries

While I'm a big proponent of using Styles to create Tables of Contents (so easy!), that's not the only way to do it. You can mark individual headings (and even paragraph text) to include in your TOC, designating the TOC level for each.

There are two methods for doing this. Which one you choose will depend on what result you're after.

Method 1: Designating TOC Entries with Outline Levels

If your document isn't using Heading Styles to control headings, or the heading levels don't match the hierarchy you want in your Table of Contents, you can apply an outline level to each heading.

First, click your cursor into the heading you want to designate for your TOC (assuming that the heading is in its own paragraph) and right-click:

As you can see, you're going to the Paragraph dialog box, where you can set the outline level.

(If the heading is already using Heading Styles, the Outline Level field will have a pre-assigned value and will be greyed out.)

Repeat this maneuver for all of the headings you want to mark.

Speed tip: Mark the first heading of a particular level, then double-click the Format Painter button (looks like a paintbrush) in the Clipboard/Paste area of the Home tab. That makes Format Painter "persistent", meaning that every paragraph you click afterward will have the same settings applied to it, including your newly-chosen outline level. To turn Format Painter off, hit the Escape key in the upper left-hand corner of your keyboard. You can repeat this process for each level of heading you want to including in your TOC outline.

Method 2: Marking TOC entries with TOC codes

In situations where (a) the entries you want in your Table of Contents aren't in their own paragraphs (e.g., a few words boldfaced at the beginning of a paragraph) or (b) the text you want to point to isn't what you want the TOC entry to say (i.e., you want a shortened version of that text to appear in the TOC), then you're faced with marking each entry with a TOC code. Granted, this method does give you more flexibility, but with options comes a bit of complexity. It's a trade-off.

Let's go back to our sample contract and begin marking the first entry, by selecting the text with the mouse or keyboard like so:

Be sure that you're not picking up any extra codes (like the line break illustrated above). It's a good idea to turn on Show/Hide (click the paragraph symbol in the middle of the Home tab) to display all that hidden formatting and other codes during this step. You'll want to turn off Show/Hide when you generate your TOC, but for now it'll come in handy.

Once you've got your entry correctly marked, press ALT-SHIFT-O (hold down the ALT and SHIFT keys and press the letter "O") to bring up the Mark Table of Contents Entry dialog box.

Be sure to designate which level you want this entry to appear in (1-9); the Table Identifier should always be "C" for Table of Contents.

Repeat this maneuver for each entry you want to appear in your Table of Contents. Unfortunately, the Format Painter trick won't work here, since Word is embedding a unique code behind each entry that looks like this (assuming you have Show/Hide turned on — remember?).

Here's where you get all kinds of flexibility if you know how to break down this code. For example:

  • If you want the entry in your TOC table to say something other than "Definitions", you can change the text within the quotation marks behind the code "TC".
  • If you decide later that this entry needs to appear at another level, you can change the number that appears in quotes after the "/l" code.
  • If you decide to remove this entry from your TOC altogether, you can simply delete this entire code.

Let's Review

Here's what we've covered in this tutorial:

  • check
    How to mark TOC entries using outline levels
  • check
    How to mark TOC entries using TOC codes
  • check
    Which situations call for each marking method

The next tutorial in this series will cover ...

No matter which method you've used to mark your TOC entries, it's time to insert your Table of Contents into your document. Click Next to get started!

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:


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)

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Hey, this blog is all about you!  If you’ve looked all around and don’t see something that addresses your problem or tickles your curiosity, by all means, tell the Guru!

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P.P.S.: Sometimes, it’s a little difficult to describe the problem you’re having, isn’t it? Show me, then! Try taking a video of it with Screenr ( and send me the link to it!

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About Legal Office Guru

So, how does Legal Office Guru help you?

If you're a legal professional - attorney, paralegal, legal assistant, secretary, anyone who works in a law office - this is the place to get your most critical questions about Microsoft Office answered ... without taking up huge chunks of the day with formal training.

And this isn't just "list a bunch of steps like a textbook and expect you to figure it out" training -- many posts feature video training to show you exactly how to perform tasks in Word, Excel, Outlook, and other Microsoft Office applications.

I'm constantly looking to improve Legal Office Guru's content, so be on the lookout for features like:

(Because law firms are not traditionally "first adopters," selected tutorials that include information on versions 2002 (a.k.a. XP) and 2003 will remain available.  However, because reader surveys have shown that most readers have moved to the ribbon-based versions (2007-2016), newer tutorials will focus on those versions. Since Microsoft has discontinued general support for versions 2007 and 2010, tutorials published starting January 1, 2016 will only include instruction for versions 2013, 2016 and Office 365.)

I hope you'll frequent this site for our brief, to-the-point tutorials on how to perform critical tasks, enabling you to be the most productive legal professional you can be!

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One of my frustrations in Word has been how to copy just the text in a specific column in a multi-column layout in Word. I am frustrated no longer: I came across the Legal Office Guru blog and a great tip on Copying vertical columns of text in Word. ... Legal Office Guru has a short and simple video tutorial on [this feature]. Simple, quick and easy – this is my kind of tip and it is one that will save me time and angst in the future.


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Kudos for focusing on exactly the right questions on using Word in a law practice, and thank you for such simple explanations.

Who is this "Legal Office Guru"?

Hi, my name's Deborah Savadra, and over the course of my career (which has been more like a careen), I've worked in law offices as a legal secretary, paralegal, and technology "fixer upper."  I left the legal field in the 1990s to work as an ERP analyst in the Information Technology department of a large restaurant chain, eventually moving into software implementation and training as a traveling consultant for a national computer consulting firm during the run-up to Y2K.

I started my own consulting firm in 2000 and have spent considerable time since then providing training for local law firms, including those who are transitioning from WordPerfect to Word as well as those simply looking to improve their staff's current skills with the Microsoft Office suite.

This blog is my attempt to educate legal professionals everywhere, doing what I can to improve efficiency, reduce stress, and generally make life in a law office easier!