Tag Archives for " Microsoft Word "

2 Table of Authorities – The Ultimate Guide

It’s the one legal profession-specific feature in Microsoft Word. And, judging from some of the requests I receive from my newsletter readers, it’s also one of the most intimidating. It’s the dreaded Table of Authorities.

(Cue: Scary music)

In my experience, few things strike more fear into the hearts of legal support staff than having to put out a brief with a Table of Authorities. (Close second: Table of Contents) I suspect the bad rap TOAs get has more to do with how seldom most people have to deal with them (and thus, how unfamiliar they are) than with any real complexity of the feature itself. In other words, you can do this. And I’m going to help you break this down, step-by-step, starting with marking your citations.

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19 Copying vertical columns of text in Word

If you’ve ever had information typed up like this:Information typed in tabbed columns… and only needed to copy the stuff out of one column, you’ll love this tip.

Say, for example, you needed to just get the dollar amounts and copy them someplace else.  If you’ve got a whole list of these, you might think you’ll either have to type this up again, or copy-and-paste each amount separately.

Au contraire. Trust me, you’ll love this trick!

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11 5 Options You’ll Want to Re-Set in Word

A big part of making Word work better for you is molding the way it works to the way you work. Most users don’t know they’ve got options for how certain features perform. Some things you’ll want to get out of your way, some things you’ll want to make easier to access. Here are my suggestions for changing Word’s defaults to work better in a legal environment:

First Step: Going into Options

Most of the default behaviors in Word are set within the Options dialog box. To get there (a necessary prerequisite for all of the exercises below), go to the File tab (if you’re still using Word 2007, click the Office Button) and click Options.

Once you’re in Options, you’re ready to rock.

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Learn how to use email better and fix your Word line spacing

Just because I haven’t posted here in a couple of weeks (longer?) doesn’t mean I haven’t been busy! Here are some tips I’ve posted elsewhere on the interwebs recently:

Declutter Your Inbox — Six experts (and I) share our top tips on keeping your email inbox sane. We each weigh in on Inbox Zero and share our best practices on dealing with the influx of daily messages. Click here to read what Lee Rosen of Divorce Discourse, Heidi Alexander of the Massachusetts Law Office Management Assistance Program (MassLOMAP), Catherine Sanders Reach (Director, Law Practice Management and Technology, for the Chicago Bar Association), Mark Rosch and Carole Levitt of Internet for Lawyers, Nora Regis (Trainer & Coordinator, Law Practice Management and Technology, for the Chicago Bar Association) and I have to say about how we optimize our email.

Fixing Your #@(*$#)$( Single-Spacing in Microsoft Word — Confession: I swear at Microsoft Office occasionally. And one of the things that frustrates me the most is a setting that Microsoft (in its not-so-infinite wisdom) re-set in recent versions of Word. Lawyerist recently re-published this article I wrote for them back in 2013 because, well, people are still wondering why their single-spacing looks a little off. Click here to find out why and how to fix it … permanently.

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: 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.

When a tab is not just a tab, part 3: Center tabs

Okay, show of hands: How many of you remember being taught how to center text in typing class? (Alright, hands down. Those of you who responded with “Typing class? What’s typing class?” have officially made me feel ancient.)

For you youngsters out there, here’s how it went down: All of us typing students rolled a sheet of paper through the platen (look it up, kiddies) of the typewriter and spaced over to the center of the page 4.25″ from each edge (using the tab key and space bar), calculated how many letters and spaces were in whatever phrase we wanted centered, divided by two, then backspaced from the center point by that many spaces.

Years later, it exhausts me just to describe it.

Fortunately, modern word processors like Microsoft Word make exercises like this obsolete. Oh, sure, you already know how to center text, right? But using center justification centers the text between the left and right margins. But what if you want to center text across another point on the page?

Answer: center tabs.

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Weekly Roundup: Double-click shortcuts, the case of the missing ampersand, and more Office for iPad news

This week: Stop wandering around Microsoft Word’s Ribbon looking for commands and do some strategic double-clicking instead, why putting an ampersand in your Excel header or footer yields a weird result (and what to do if you really, really want that “&” to show up in your header or footer), and more news about an exciting iPad application that lets you edit Office documents. That’s right … it’s the Weekly Roundup!

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5 Reader Question: Underlining trailing spaces

Don’t you just hate it when you want Microsoft Word to do something really simple and obvious, like underline blank spaces, and it just refuses to do it? That’s the dilemma faced by reader who recently wrote me, really frustrated over a signature line:

From time to time, I am inserting a line for a signature block or for some other purpose and after clicking underline or using control u I get nothing but blank space. When I check the font dialog box it shows underline and the font color is black, what is the problem?

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Weekly Roundup: Test your typing, frugal speech-to-text alternatives, Gmail in Outlook, and more

In this week’s Roundup of the reading file: a quick (and really fun and challenging) online typing test (how long has it been since you took a typing test?), how to configure Outlook 2010 for your Gmail account, some inexpensive speech-to-text alternatives for those who want to dictate to their PC, yet another reason to use Microsoft Word’s Style feature, and what those little black boxes next to your Microsoft Word text mean, particularly for your document’s pagination.

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4 Save those trees! Printing compressed copies of large documents

If your law office is like most of the ones I’ve seen, you’ve got a lot of paper. A ton of paper. Probably more paper than you know what to do with.

Even with all that document digitizing we’ve all been doing in recent years – scanning, e-filing, case management databases, etc. – law firms still do an awful lot of printing. Even so, all those calls for firms to “go paperless” are starting to gain traction.

That said, it’s still true: we do so love our paper. And even the most digital-savvy among us has to admit that hard copies have their advantages. It’s tough to choose.

But what if I said you could have your cake and eat it too? Print as many pages as you want and still use less paper? Keep reading →

4 Reader Question: Incrementing numbers in headers

I received an interesting email from a reader last week, and it was a variation on a theme I’d covered on this blog quite a while back: how to use autonumbering for court exhibits.

I say “variation” because, unlike my original post, this reader wanted to embed the automatic exhibit number in a footer rather than in the main document:

I am able to enter sequential exhibit numbers on the main parts of each page of my document by inserting the AutoNum category in Field codes. Is there a way to do the same in a footer/header?

If you’ve never actually tried to use certain field codes like AutoNum in a header or footer, you’ve probably never found out (the hard way) that not all of field codes work in the header/footer. Certain field codes will throw an error if you try to use them in headers and footers:

Oops.

So, if you can’t use the automatically incrementing AutoNum field, what can you use?

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Weekly Roundup: Paste text your way, troubleshoot Outlook, AutoCorrect secrets

From this week’s reading file: Vivian Manning shows us what that little blue line underneath some of your text in Microsoft Word really means, DIY IT Guy shows us how to re-start Microsoft Outlook in troubleshooting mode to save your data (and possibly your sanity), and Susan Harkins has several ways to paste text in Microsoft Word to ensure the least amount of post-paste cleanup (always a good thing, especially when you’re pressed for time editing).

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63 Printing Envelopes and Labels, Part 1: Envelopes

One of the most basic functions in Microsoft Word is printing envelopes and labels. You’d think that such a basic function would be pretty intuitive. It’s not. One of the most frequent questions I get from longtime WordPerfect users is, “Where on earth are the envelopes (or labels) in Word?”

But even for those who worked in Microsoft Word for years, this feature can be a little hard to find. Some of the problem stems from Microsoft’s habit of moving this feature around between versions of Word. (I think I even remember it being under the Format menu in one long-ago version. It’s moved twice since then!) So we’re going to look at the process in both the Ribbon-based version and the “classic” menu-based versions.

Along the way, I’m going to show you not only the “textbook” way of doing envelopes, but my own preferred method, which I think makes creating an on-the-fly envelope (on pre-printed letterhead) a lot easier (but that’s for you to judge).

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Weekly Roundup: More Word, Excel and Outlook Tips

This week’s Roundup of the reading file is an embarrassment of riches from the usual suspects: TechRepublic’s take on the most important Microsoft Word skills, how to put time values into Microsoft Excel, Vivian Manning tackles Microsoft Word’s mail merge feature, making it easier to switch between Word documents, and how to share your Microsoft Outlook calendar. Click the “Read More” link for the details. Keep reading →

Guest Post @ Attorney at Work: Four Microsoft Office Settings to Tweak

The editors at Attorney at Work reached out to me for some quick tech tips for their blog this week, and I was happy to oblige. Ranging across the most popular Microsoft Office suite applications, this guest post will show you how to:

  1. Set up your Status Bar to maximize its usefulness in every Microsoft Office application
  2. Improve the full-justification of text in Microsoft Word
  3. Make sure your Microsoft Excel sheets auto-calculate
  4. Start your Microsoft Outlook each day in the folder of your choice: Inbox, Calendar, Tasks, or even the Outlook Today overview

Click here to read these four useful tips.

Weekly Roundup: More shortcut keys, faster Word page setup, Quick Print

From this week’s Roundup of the reading file: some more shortcut keys you need to know about (particularly if you’re an avid Outlook user), a faster way to reach the Page Setup dialog in Microsoft Word, and how to add a Quick Print button to enable one-click printing from Word.

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63 The case of the shrunken comment balloon

And now for a dispatch from the “Well, I’ve never seen this before” Department … Just when I thought I had seen it all, my boss threw me a curve ball, courtesy of his new-found affection for Microsoft Word’s Track Changes feature.

He’s been using Track Changes a lot lately, and it’s turned out to be a pretty handy feature for him, since he’s been doing a lot of contract work. Marked-up documents have been flying back and forth via e-mail, and the Microsoft Word Track Changes feature has made life a lot easier for him.

Until last week, that is. He was getting ready to send out another reviewed document, when he opened it up from his outgoing e-mail and saw something like this:

Yikes! Who could possibly read that? That comment balloon is way too small!

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