Category Archives for "Word 2010"

Easy-to-read file folder labels for trial exhibits using Mail Merge

One firm I’ve been working with has been in “trial mode” for a couple of weeks now. Thankfully, I wasn’t directly involved (I’ve seen the looks on the faces of the people who are, and I don’t want that), but I did pitch in where necessary. And “where necessary” included helping a secretary with making file folders for 100+ trial exhibits. The one requirement the paralegal had was the trial exhibit numbers had to be large and easy to read.

Thankfully, the trial exhibit list that was e-filed with the court was done in the form of a table. So that made it easy to use Mail Merge to create the labels, because we had a ready-to-use data source.

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How to recycle your [legal] briefs safely

In my observation, if there’s one thing you lawyers love, it’s repeating yourselves. No, not when you speak (except when you walk around the office repeating the same war story about your latest court appearance to anyone who’ll listen); it’s when you write. Y’all recycle so much old material from briefs and other documents, it puts Ed Begley, Jr. to shame.

Some of the problems with all that cutting and pasting are pretty obvious—another client’s name being left in (oops) or funky formatting that doesn’t match the new document. But others aren’t. What sort of evil stuff lurks in that text you just pasted over from your last magnum opus? And how’s it going to undermine your next court filing?

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This post won LitigationWorld’s Pick of the Week Award 7/15/2014!
Click the image above for more details.

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Keeping Word Commands at Your Fingertips

When Microsoft Word 2007 came out, users lamented the introduction of the Ribbon. Replacing the familiar menu system of Word 2003 with a newfangled, visually-oriented system of buttons and drop-downs went over like the proverbial lead balloon. It all came down to one thing: "How am I ever going to find anything on here?"

Nobody wants to waste time scrolling through a menu system looking for commands or functions they use frequently. Here, I'll show you three methods for keeping your most common commands within easy reach so you can create documents faster and with less frustration.

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2 From the Comments: A Better Way to Embed Paragraph Numbers

Recently, I wrote about a technique that I’d stumbled across for embedding the current paragraph number within the text of a paragraph, like so:

Word-StyleRef-paranum

However, one reader popped up in the comments with what looks like an easier solution:

There’s an easier way to do this! At least in Word 2007 and later. Rather than messing with fields, on the Ribbon you go to References>Cross-reference, select the paragraph you want, and voila! Instant reference. You can even have it insert the full context for your subparagraphs (e.g. para. 7(c)), rather than having to have 2 fields.bking

What do you think? Will this help you in your work? Let me know in the comments below.

5 How to create numbered headings using Styles

I seem to make my best discoveries about Microsoft Office when I’m annoyed. (See my last post, for example.) It’s that kind of annoyance that says, “There’s got to be a better way to do this.” For some reason or another, this time it was paragraph numbering. But not the normal kind where you have the paragraph number indented about half an inch on the same line with the start of the paragraph. The document I was working on (a will) had the paragraph number floating centered above the paragraph. While I was drafting the document, I just knew the attorney I was working for would be moving paragraphs all over the place, and I didn’t want to stop to renumber them when he did.

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This post won BlawgWorld’s Pick of the Week Award 3/10/14!
Click the image above for more details.

I remembered one of the paralegals I work with telling me that it was possible to embed numbers in Styles. So I went nosing around in Styles, looking to modify my Heading 1 so that it had an automatically incrementing Arabic numeral and a period, like so:

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16 In praise of text expansion (or, how to keep from typing the same thing 100 times)

Here in the last several weeks, I’ve been busy. And when I say “busy”, I’m not talking your run-of-the-mill “I have a nice steady flow of work” level of busy. I’m talking “so overloaded I’m farming out scut work to other people”, “oh my gosh, I just had that piece of paper in my hand a moment ago”, “I wonder if I can still get that Xanax prescription filled” level of busy. It was insane.

So naturally, I was looking for every time saver I could get my hands on. If something could save me even a few seconds (especially on a repetitive task), it was worth it.

One of the things I found myself doing was typing the same long complicated phrases over and over and over again. I don’t know about you, but I don’t exactly love typing. (As proof of that, I’m using Dragon NaturallySpeaking to write this article. I’m all for letting the computer do the work.) And when my brain gets a little overloaded and the pace starts getting on my nerves, my already sketchy typing skills go to pot. So I have no patience whatsoever for typing the same long complicated phrase 100 times.

So if you find yourself stuck typing “Brief in Support of American Amalgamated Consolidated Widget Corporation’s Second Amended Motion for Leave of Court to Conduct On-site Inspection” for the umpteenth time, I’m going to show you how to get out of all that repetitive typing. It’s a concept called “text expansion”, and you don’t even need extra software to do it (although there is software that will do that).

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2 Reader Question: How to embed the current paragraph number in your text

One reader who works in insurance defense law (a woman after my own heart — so do I) asked me this question recently:

In a case where I am automatically numbering the beginning of each paragraph (sometimes up to 100)...and then have to refer to the same paragraph number in the text (e.g., 1. Deny the allegations contained in paragraph "1"), how can I get the number in the text to match the corresponding number of each specific paragraph so that if I have to delete a paragraph, I will not have to go into every paragraph to change the text to say responding to paragraph"2" to correspond with the actual numbered paragraph? I know it has something to do with using fields in the text.

Again, a woman after my own heart. She's trying to automate something to minimize the amount of repetitive editing she'll have to do as the document changes. I like people who think ahead like that.

And she's right: it does have "something to do with fields in the text." But which one is appropriate here? The answer may surprise you ... and you might find a use for it in your own documents, too.

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Guest Post @ Lawyerist: How to Format an Appellate Brief

If you’ve never had to tackle an appellate court brief, I envy you. (If you’ve ever had to do a U.S. Supreme Court brief, you have my sympathies.) As one commenter on my latest post on Lawyerist notes, sometimes formatting the stupid thing takes as much time as writing the substance of it.

But armed with my guide to formatting an appellate court brief, you can master the common elements that tend to pop up in most appellate courts’ requirements and spend less time formatting and more time writing.

Click here to read the full illustrated tutorial (including two short videos to show you how to do two of the most complex tasks: controlling page numbering and creating a template for future use) and learn why one commenter said she’s going to make this  “required reading” for all her 2Ls.

Reader Question: Copying WordPerfect footnotes to Microsoft Word

You know how I’m always telling you that the best way to get your old WordPerfect text into a new Microsoft Word document is to just copy it over? Well, that’s not always the case. Sometimes Microsoft Word doesn’t “translate” WordPerfect text into just the right Microsoft Word equivalent.

Take, for example, the problem posed by this reader:

When using footnotes in a document, if I copy footnotes from WordPerfect and insert them into a Word document, the numbers do not change. Is there any way to make the numbers follow the number sequence in the document. Sometimes there are as many a 100 footnotes with dozens of different numbers — which need to be dealt with individually. Is there any way to make the numbers change and follow sequence at one time? I’ve tried everything including Ctrl-A (in the footnote draft, in the body of the document), but nothing works.

It took me a few minutes of experimenting, but I came up (I think) with the perfect solution. It’s one you’ll need in your toolbox if you ever have to copy footnoted content from old briefs, etc.

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2 Why hanging indents are beautiful things

Okay, The Guru has a confession to make: I used to be afraid of hanging indents.

This, of course, is silly. Of all the things in the world there are to be afraid of — snakes, heights, public speaking, thermonuclear war, global economic meltdowns — hanging indents are pretty innocuous. But I did, until fairly recently, go through a period where I avoided doing hanging indents because I kept getting confused by them. (More on that later.)

Some of you are asking, “What is a hanging indent?” It’s a style of paragraph indentation that has the first line flush with the left margin but indents all of the subsequent lines in the paragraph, like so:

Word-hanging-indent-citation

(If you had to write term papers in APA Style in college, you recognize the format.)

Now you’re asking, “So what’s so scary about a hanging indent?” and “Why should I care about ’em?” Let me explain.

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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!

Guest Post @ Lawyerist: Don’t let Track Changes trip you up

If you’ve tried to use Microsoft Word’s Track Changes feature without someone to show you the ins and outs, you probably had a pretty frustrating experience. But what you might not know is that Track Changes can even be a bit dangerous in the wrong hands.

To keep from tripping over Track Change’s stumbling blocks, head over to Lawyerist (after 11 am CT) and check out Don’t Let Track Changes Trip You Up, where I show you what settings you need to be aware of to keep your document safe.

Click here for the full illustrated article.

Guest Post @ Lawyerist: Get Reveal Codes in Microsoft Word with CrossEyes

Hands-down, the number one complaint I get from former WordPerfect users is, “But Word doesn’t have Reveal Codes!” And, to a point, that’s true.

But as my ongoing (really, never-ending) research in the wonderful world of Microsoft Office plug-ins (a.k.a. add-ins or extensions) has shown me, it’s often a case of “seek and ye shall find.” Because there are a lot of enterprising programmers out there adding heretofore unavailable features to Microsoft Office.

Specifically, for Reveal Codes, there’s CrossEyes. And if you want to get a gander at what this plug-in can do, click here to read my review on Lawyerist.

Guest Post @ Lawyerist: How to Customize Your Microsoft Office Ribbon

Hate the Ribbon? You’re not alone. Lots of folks screamed in agony when Microsoft replaced Office’s familiar 2003 menu system with the Ribbon, effective with version 2007. So many people screamed, in fact, that someone even created a plug-in to switch it back.

But not many users know you can actually modify the Ribbon (at least in version 2010 – Ribbon modification in 2007 requires mucho programming). Click here to learn how.

Great Resource Alert: Guide to all Word Options settings

Sooner or later, every Microsoft Word user finds him/herself wondering if some setting or function could be changed. (Take, for example, the way line justification is calculated. Didn’t know that could be re-set, did you?)

The challenge is finding where that darn setting is!

So I was really pleased to learn that the encyclopedically knowledgeable and frighteningly prolific Vivian Manning over at Small City Law Firm Tech has compiled her famous Trouble and Solutions Start Here – Word 2010 Options posts into one easy-to-use pdf book. Yay!!!

Click here to access this free (and incredibly valuable) resource.

P.S.: Sadly, Vivian has discontinued her blog, so the resource being linked is the copy I saved and stashed in my cloud account. Enjoy!

15 Printing Envelopes and Labels, Part 2: Labels

As I mentioned in the previous post on Envelopes, even though formatting and printing envelopes and labels is a really basic word processing function, Microsoft Word inexplicably hides it from users on the Mailings tab.

Fortunately, if you're using labels from a major label vendor like Avery, you don't have to bust out the ruler and define the label format from scratch. But knowing how to choose which label format to use can be a bit tricky.

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Guest Post @ Lawyerist: Taming Microsoft Word’s Autoformat As You Type

While I’m a big fan of smart software, I don’t like when software tries to out-think me (and does a bad job of it). That’s why I’m not an especially big fan of Microsoft Word’s AutoFormat As You Type feature.

If you’re not familiar with this feature, it’s the one that turns “1/2” into “½” and does various other “oh, let me re-do that for you” functions that can get in the way, particularly if you’re a speed typist and not exactly the world’s best proofreader.

In my latest guest post at Lawyerist, I show you how to find this feature’s control panel and disable any part of it you’re having problems with.

Click here to read the full post.

Guest Post @ Lawyerist: Using Microsoft Word’s Table of Authorities

I received a special request from a reader for my latest post on Lawyerist for a post on how to do a Table of Authorities in Microsoft Word. Although I’d covered the subject in depth with a post on marking citations here and generating the Table of Authorities here (with another post based on a suggestion from a reader here), I was happy to write up a more concise set of instructions for the Lawyerist crowd. One subject I address there that I did not in my own blog is the plugins that are available to make Microsoft Word’s Table of Authorities feature a lot easier to deal with, since it’s one of the most problematic features in Word.

Click here to read the full post.

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

Reader Benjamin e-mailed me recently 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?

He attached a video demonstrating his problem, which immediately made clear what he was up against:

When he says he's "one of millions who are suffering with this," I believe him. Because I'm one of them, too. And between the two of us, we might've come up with a good solution.

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Guest Post @ Lawyerist: Using Microsoft Word to Edit by Committee

Ever experienced “death by redlining”? You know what I mean. It’s that headache-inducing series of emails in which you and your colleagues send seemingly endless drafts of the document  du jour back-and-forth, ad infinitum.

While I can’t do anything about those unreasonable people who don’t like the way you phrased something or other, I can help you make up for their lack of skill with Microsoft Word. Click here to read the full article before your next “editing by committee” session, and you’ll be prepared to deal with other people’s bad formatting without tearing your own hair out.