Reader Question: Getting rid of hard line breaks in pasted text

Reader Benjamin e-mailed me recently from my Ask the Guru page with this request:

“I’ve got text (imported badly – I don’t have access to the original source) which is spaced badly in Microsoft Word 2010 — meaning I have to manually cursor + delete then space-bar to put it back together without the green wiggles. It’s time consuming and I would like to know if there is an automated alternative. I’m sure I’m one of millions who are suffering with this. Can you help us?”

Click through to read how we worked this problem out together.

How to create your own Pleading Paper template, Part 1

I’ve gotten a fair number of questions from readers about how to format pleadings with line numbers down the left, commonly known as Pleading Paper. Typically, they sound something like this:

“My text never quite lines up exactly with the numbers on the pleading paper. What’s the trick??”

“PLEASE work on the pleadings template! I’m sure I and many others would pay bonuses for your guidance.”

“Pleading paper instructions would be fantastic! I mostly work in California state and federal courts, and our office just reuses old documents to keep the pleading paper formatting. Unfortunately this brings along a host of other formatting issues, and while I’d love to be able to start from scratch I don’t know how. Any help you could give would be terrific, thank you!!”

“I am not sure of the technical name for it, but years ago law firms had stationery with double lines on left side of a page and one line on the right. I know Word can duplicate it, but I don’t how to add them or what it is called. I will try the [pleading paper] template, but is there a way to remove the page numbering on the side?”

“I wish WORD was like WordPerfect in that we could just add the pleading format into the document after the document is completed. Anyway, if you could help me figure this out it would be great. I recently added [a plug-in] to Word/Office which provides a host of automated functions, like cite checking, quote check, and table of authorities, which would make finalizing a brief a breeze. However, if I can’t get out of the WordPerfect format for my brief writing, I don’t see where all these extra functions will benefit me.”

Okay, okay, I get it, I get it! Clearly, my standard reply (which I used so often that I actually created an entry in Quick Parts in Outlook for it) isn’t getting the job done. So, while I would love to create a custom template (like I did for that last person above) for each and every one of you, there just aren’t enough hours in the day!

So, in lieu of becoming a template factory, I’m going to show you how to make some common adjustments to those musty old Microsoft templates (either the 25-line one or the 28-line one) all by yourself. And if you don’t see your particular question addressed in this series, by all means leave it in the comments at the bottom, and I’ll add the answer.

Save those trees! Printing compressed copies of large documents

If you’re not anywhere close to having a paperless office, but you still want to save room in those bulging files of yours, here’s an option you might not have considered before: condensed printing. Think “travel transcript,” like those 4-up duplex printed deposition mini-transcripts you get. If some of your hard copies could just as easily be printed in “mini” form for your file, then click Read More to learn this trick in Microsoft Word, Adobe Acrobat, your default Windows photo printer, and virtually any other application you have.

Reader Question: Incrementing numbers in headers

A reader wrote me recently with an interesting dilemma: She needed to be able to automatically increment numbers in a Microsoft Word footer. But she’d found that the otherwise trusty AutoNum field doesn’t work in headers or footers. So how was she going to put the correct “Exhibit [X]” at the bottom of her documents? Here’s the solution I came up with for her. Click the “Read More” link to see the demonstration video.

Reader Question: Type Once, Repeat Many?

A Legal Office Guru reader wrote in, asking for help with some forms she’d been asked to create to . “Is there a way to autopopulate a field?” she asked. “I’d like it to work similar to Adobe [Acrobat], where if you give the fields the same name, the text in one will automatically fill up in all of the others. I’ve read something about making each field an REF field, but I don’t understand how to do it, and I’ve tried tons of Google search results. Can you help?”

To achieve that Adobe-like effect, I’d choose Word’s Bookmarks feature. Click the “Read More” link below for the full illustrated tutorial.

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