Once you’ve pretty much mastered the basics of Word—you can create and open documents, you can format text, etc.—you may be wondering, “What’s next?” Oh, sure, there are features you can’t quite get your head around, tasks you wish Word could do (I’m looking at you, former WordPerfect users), things you wish were easier.
But surely there’s more benefit to using a word processor than being able to directly edit the text after your first draft, right?
And yet that’s how so many people use word processors in general and Microsoft Word in particular. Like a glorified typewriter.
Even if your document is pretty well-formatted (and doesn’t commit some heinous sin like using the Tab key to force a hanging indent), it is possible to move beyond simply viewing a word processing document as a convenient way to edit something later.
Want proof? Here’s a scenario for you: You’re in the middle of creating a document, maybe some discovery answers (forgive me; I work in litigation, so that’s where my brain goes automatically), and you know you’re going to need a notarized acknowledgement for your client to swear that the answers are true and correct, blah, blah, blah, and to have his/her signature witnessed and sealed by an authority.
What do you do now? If you’re like most of the people I’ve encountered in law offices, you start racking your brain for the last time you did one of these. Let’s see, did we have to do one of these in that Jones v. Smith matter? Oh, yeah. So now you start combing through the document management system to find that prior example. You pull that document up, scroll down 20 pages to find the notary acknowledgement block, select it with your mouse, copy it, switch over to your document-in-progress, paste it, oops that messed up the formatting so you have to fix that, make sure you’ve pulled out the client-specific information and substituted the correct names, updated the date …
How long did THAT exercise take you? Contrast that … with this:
Now, if you can honestly tell me that you wouldn’t rather click three times than have to go through that whole string of steps I described earlier, then stop reading now. I can’t help you.
But if that three-click demonstration piqued your interest, then stay with me.
Let’s take another scenario: You’ve answering some discovery, and you’re basically repeating the same set of objections over and over. In fact, they’re pretty much the same objections you give to a lot of discovery of this type. (Again, a litigation example, but you can apply this to other practice areas.)
So, what do you do? Do you scroll back and forth in your document, copying-and-pasting like mad (or, worse, retyping the same thing over and over)?
OR do you do this:
That time, you didn’t even have to reach for your mouse. You typed four characters, and Word offered to fill in the entire phrase/sentence for you.
Techniques like these are:
- Beyond the basic document formatting and editing skills everyone has to learn; and
- Something you wouldn’t stumble across just by clicking around. In other words, someone would have to show you.
I’m offering to show you these two tricks, and others, in a free public workshop called Assemble Documents Faster that begins April 21, 2022. There’ll be a series of four videos (each approximately 15 minutes long, give or take) that’ll step you through the process of using these features to help you, well, assemble documents faster.
When I did this workshop in November, 2017, the comments I received during the series proved to me that the time I spent working on this material was well worth it:
Thanks for the video series! I never really paid that much attention to Quick Parts. After watching your first video, I created a couple of new Quick Parts in Outlook, which has saved me a lot of time in drafting emails. Looking forward to applying to Word as well. You have given me a lot to think about. I also read your article Sharing AutoText and Quick Parts with others and am looking forward to setting up templates that can be utilized by our entire office!Donna, in response to Assemble Documents Faster Video #3
Thank-you Deborah for all of the great videos! I work for an equipment leasing company and support our legal/documentation department. Thanks to you, my Word skills have significantly improved and saved me a LOT of time and frustration. I now use Auto Text for Company name, address, and managers names and will be on the lookout for more!Michelle Coe, in response to Assemble Documents Faster Video #2
I am so glad that I took the time to watch this video. I will use Quick Parts for: Certificates of Service, Subpoenas, Deferred Prosecution Agreements, Notary inserts, Rule 803 notifications, standard cover letters, and on and on. I am so grateful to learn this valuable tool. Thank you.Diane, in response to Assemble Documents Faster Video #1
I will use them for Notary inserts. In estate planning, we may have the client take documents and have them notarized and returned to us, or we sign by subscribing witness. I have the various acknowledgements saved as one document and up til now have to open that document, go to the particular acknowledgment and copy and paste. No more, looking forward to next video. I knew [Quick Parts] existed but never took the time to figure it out.Gina, in response to Assemble Documents Faster Video #1
Thank you!!! Fifteen minutes to learn a new skill that will save me hours. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate you doing all the work and picking out the jewels of wisdom. I am always digging looking through old docs for notary jurat, not anymore! Looking forward to the rest of the series.Tammy in response to Assemble Documents Faster Video #1
Thank you for the great video. Immediately useful for discovery objections; discovery definitions; discovery instructions; standard interrogatories and document requests. Also for inserting standard language in commonly utilized fee agreements.Michael Boli in response to Assemble Documents Faster Video #1
Every single video you’ve made has improved my productivity. I did not even know that quick parts existed! Thank you!Don in response to Assemble Documents Faster Video #1
Oh my gosh – I’m going to be so much smarter than my attorneys! Thank you! You are a genius with these videos. Keep them coming!Jayme in response to Assemble Documents Faster Video #1