Note: If you previously purchased The Efficient Lawyer's Guide to Word, you already have access to most of these lessons.

Basic Word Skills for Legal Professionals

Are you:

  • An ex-WordPerfect user coming to Microsoft Word with some trepidation?
  • A solo practitioner running your law practice sans assistant?
  • Just wanting to get some basic Word skills under your belt so you can get daily work done in less time and with less frustration?

Whether you've worked with Microsoft Word for a while or are brand new to it, it could seem as though Word is designed to be intimidating. All those buttons across the top and dialog boxes and menus ... what are you supposed to do with all that?

And if you work in a law office, you probably spend a large percentage of your day sitting in front of a computer, and what time you don't spend sending emails is spent with Microsoft Word. After all, so much of legal practice involves creating and editing documents.

But just because you use something every day doesn’t mean you’re getting the most out of it. And with the way law practice is changing these days, you can’t afford to miss any opportunities to extract the maximum performance and productivity out of the tools you use every day.

Think about the last document you edited. How much time did you spend looking for certain features or struggling with the bad formatting that someone else put there?

Considering how much of your day is spent in front of Microsoft Word, and how important efficiency is becoming in law offices everywhere, doesn’t it make sense to learn how to use this tool well so that you can deal successfully with your ever-increasing workload?

Why most Word training is a waste of time

Oh, you’ve tried to learn Microsoft Word on your own. You took that all-day training class your firm offered, only to be so overwhelmed you forgot most of it by the time you got back to your desk.

Or, you bought a book. But you’re too busy actually working to read a manual. Or maybe you’ve searched for help online, only to find confusing and conflicting instructions.

You’re not the problem – the training is

You see, traditional ways of learning how to use software set you up to fail. Classroom instruction dumps too much information on you all at once. Most software manuals are reference books for experienced users, not instructions for beginners.

And searching for help online? Forget it. Even a simple search brings back screen after screen of confusing (and often outright wrong) instructions.

Where can you get the help you really need?

You know you need to update your skills to do your job better. After all, it’s frustrating (and time-consuming) to struggle with even basic tasks in Microsoft Word. If only someone could take you by the hand and show you, step-by-step, how to make Microsoft Word do your bidding (and maybe even translate your WordPerfect tasks to Microsoft Word).

I've been where you are

Hi, my name is Deborah Savadra (a.k.a. the Legal Office Guru). I’ve worked in and around law firms for over 20 years as a legal secretary, paralegal, and software trainer.

Like a lot of you, I started off with WordPerfect. Back when I began working in a law firm, WordPerfect was still in the DOS version. (Yes, I am that old!)

Geek that I am, I learned all sorts of ways to get the most out of WordPerfect. I had my “WordPerfect Function Key Claw” perfected, I programmed macros right and left, and when I wasn’t doing my own work, I was walking around helping the other staff with their WordPerfect challenges. I made WordPerfect sing!

But then came the day I left the legal field. In the “outside world,” they only used Microsoft Word. I was forced to adapt. I took classes, pored over software manuals, and generally figured it all out (often the hard way).

Fast forward a few years. After moving into software consulting and training, I found myself drawn back to working with law firms. And because I had so much Microsoft Word experience under my belt, I became the “go-to girl” for anyone still having trouble making the transition from WordPerfect (and trust me, a lot of folks are still struggling).

So I’ve seen (and heard) it all: the hair pulling, the fist pounding, and every other variation of “Word Rage.” I’ve been asked every question, seen every formatting foul-up, and performed major surgery on some seriously messed up Microsoft Word documents. (I’ve also stopped several people from throwing their computers out the window!)

I’ve made the leap to Word — and I can help you make it, too!

Of course, being the “Word expert-in-residence” in a law firm, I get a lot of the same questions over and over again. So, to keep from repeating myself, and to save a little time, I started a blog of Microsoft Office tutorials. That way, I could often refer people to a specific blog post (often with video) when they had a question. It made my expertise available when I wasn’t.

But blogs are, well, … disorganized by their very nature. What you need is a systematic, step-by-step way to learn Microsoft Word.

What this course contains

I've started from the absolute beginning with this course, because:

  1. I don't want to make any assumptions about what skill and knowledge level you're currently at; and
  2. You'd be surprised how many time-saving tricks you can pick up by truly understanding how Word works from the ground up

Your first lesson about the ribbon came in very handy when I had a formatting problem and spacing problem. By hitting the little arrow in the lower right corner on Indent and Spacing Section of the Page Layout tab, I discovered that the problem text was centered or justified (I don’t remember which) which caused a line with a few words to be spread out with wide gaps between each word. THANKS!


So here's exactly what you'll be learning in this course:

A complete tour of The Ribbon interface

I'll show you (in 6 lessons) some key things you'll need to know going forward in the course, such as what Microsoft calls certain Ribbon features (e.g., launcher arrows, etc.). Plus, how to hide/unhide the Ribbon, add commands to your Quick Access Toolbar, and navigate quickly through your document with the mouse or keyboard. We'll also cover the Backstage View, where you can not only print your documents but also set up Word to work with you rather than against you. (That's the goal, right?)

Total video lesson time: 35 mins.

Working with Documents: The Basics

These 7 lessons will cover everything from starting with a blank document, beginning with a template, saving your document, opening existing documents, and basic typing and editing. (I wasn't kidding about starting from scratch!) 

I'll also show you how to insert special characters like ¶ or § or ° (and even set up some shortcut keys for future use) and some tricks for copying/moving text around without messing up your existing formatting.

Total video lesson time: 34 mins.

Formatting Basics

Here's where the rubber really meets the road for most Word (users (especially those coming from WordPerfect): formatting. Within these 8 lessons, we'll cover page formatting (portrait vs. landscape orientation, margins, etc.), paragraph formatting (justification, line spacing, etc.), and character formatting (font, size, italics/bold/underline, etc.). Plus, how to keep certain text on a particular page, how to insert and edit headers and footers, and how to put a watermark behind your text.

Total video lesson time: 53 mins.

Footnotes & Endnotes

Inserting a footnote (or endnote) is pretty straightforward: go to the References tab and click Insert Footnote (or Insert Endnote). But then what? Within these 4 lessons, we'll cover troubleshooting long footnote formatting issues, reformatting the separator line and continuation message, working with converted WordPerfect footnotes, and using the Footnote Text and Footnote Number Styles to globally fix formatting so you'll never have to fix footnotes one-by-one ever again!

Total video lesson time: 8 mins.

Tables & Columns

Sometimes, you have to arrange text side-by-side. For that, word has tables and columns. But which do you use when? I've got 12 lessons  that will show you all the ins and outs of inserting  and modifying tables; adding, deleting, splitting and merging table rows, columns &cells; changing table margins & borders; sorting rows and setting a header row to repeat on all pages, and converting text to table and vice versa. Plus, you'll also learn about configuring side-by-side columns, even in the middle of your document.

Total video lesson time: 40 mins.

Finalizing Documents

Don't hit the Print button yet! You've still got to check spelling and grammar and use Word's Document Inspector to strip out any potentially compromising metadata before you send that document out. Then, you can print or PDF your document, plus produce any envelopes and labels you need for mailing. These 6 lessons will show you how.

Total video lesson time: 31 mins.

Total video instruction time: 3 hrs. 21 mins.*

* Times listed above are rounded to the nearest minute.

Final Exam

Need to demonstrate your proficiency to an employer? The Basic Word Skills for Legal Professionals course ends with a graded final exam to test your knowledge of what's covered in the lessons. Once you've finished the course (yep, that's required!), take it up to five times to get your best score, then print your certificate for your personnel file!

All new videos for Word version 2019

This course has been newly-revised in 2021 to cover the latest version of Microsoft Word. Each lesson has a comprehensive header video covering the entire lesson's contents for those of you who are visual learners. The course now contains three hours and 20 minutes of video instructional content.

Prefer not to watch videos? Below each video is a text-and-screenshot version of the lesson you can scan and find just the tip you're looking for.

Why this beats traditional Word training, hands down

Basic Word Skills for Legal Professionals contains 45 bite-sized lessons perfect for incremental, at-your-own-pace learning. After all, this sort of bit-by-bit instruction mimics the way you naturally learn a new skill. After all, you didn’t start speaking in full sentences as a baby, did you? You started by imitating the sounds you heard your parents make. Then you gradually started forming whole words. Eventually, you strung those words into sentences.

That’s the way most people learn things – step-by-step. And that’s how Basic Word Skills for Legal Professionals works, too. It presents you with one simple building block, then another, then another. With each lesson, you’re building your Microsoft Word skills gradually, naturally, and painlessly.

These lessons are fully illustrated, with short videos strategically placed within each lesson to show you step-by-step how to use the feature(s) being covered. Each lesson covers just one set of skills. No information overload here!

Contrast that with the way most legal professionals receive training. They corral you into a conference room, race through a webinar or in-person training presentation that dumps a ton of information on you, then send you back to your desk with the absurd expectation that that's going to make you more productive!

Listen to what another student has to say about the course:

Very good! Nicely organized and presented. I like your teaching style in your videos as well, and hearing the “clicks” kept me focusing on the screen and seeing where you were headed next. Good job!!!


Compare $67 to the cost of other training

If you've ever looked at the cost of taking a basic Word course at your local community college or at a software training center, you'll probably find that it's over $100. Plus, you're probably going to be required to be in their facility at certain dates or times to take the training.

With this course, you can learn in your own environment, practice at your own pace, and decide exactly what skills you want to learn when.

Try it risk-free!

I don’t want you to pay $67 (US) for this course if you’re not absolutely convinced it will help you.

That’s why I offer a 60-day money-back guarantee. During that time, you could review all 45 lessons from the course. If you decide with 60 days of purchase that this course didn't improve your skill level and make you more productive, all you have to do is email me, and I'll process a refund, no questions asked!

Click the button below to add this course to your cart, then click it again to go to checkout. You'll choose your login user ID and password and give me the email address you want your periodic reminder emails to go to. Your purchase receipt will contain a link to your first lesson and instructions on logging in and navigating around the courseware.

What do you have to lose? Click the Add to Cart button below now!

Basic Word Skills for Legal Professionals

Essential Word skills for anyone working in the legal field



  • Understanding the Word Ribbon interface
  • Using Navigation and Views to customize your Word experience
  • Creating, saving, opening and editing documents
  • Character/font, paragraph, page and document formatting
  • Finishing and printing your document (including getting rid of metadata)
  • Formatting and printing envelopes & labels
  • Dealing with sections, headers, footers, and page numbering
  • Inserting and formatting tables and columns
  • Basic automatic paragraph numbering
  • Checking spelling and grammar
  • Using Document Inspector to strip out metadata
  • Printing and PDFing your document
  • Graded final exam with certificate of completion