Tag Archives for " Microsoft Word "

3 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 or two columns:

... then you'll love this tip.

Say, for example, you needed to just get the dollar amounts and the names 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 piece of text 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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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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How to create your own Pleading Paper template, Part 2

If you completed the first unit in this course, you know that there are two basic formats of Pleading Paper:

  • In the 25-line template, the line numbers are embedded in a Text Box which is placed in the Header, and the vertical lines separating the numbers from the text are graphic objects drawn using the Shapes feature on the Insert tab. While this format is more vulnerable to misalignments between the numbers and the text, it will allow for certain parts of the pleading (such as the style in the signature block) to be single spaced.​
  • In the old 28-line template, the line numbers are placed on the page using the Line Numbering feature in Word, and the vertical lines are drawn using Bar Tabs. The line numbers and the text do not get misaligned in this template, but it will not accommodate single spacing in the style or signature block, nor can you use a Table to insert the case style.

Armed with this knowledge (and your familiarity with your court's particular requirements), you've chosen which template to start with. But it needs adjusting, doesn't it? So here in Part 2, I'm going to show you how to modify the standard template to make your own.

How to modify the standard templates

Using the 25- and 28-line templates as a guide, here's how to make some formatting adjustments to a standard template for your own use.

Adding/removing/moving vertical lines

25-line/26-line/new 28-line/32-line templates

In these templates, the vertical lines are embedded in the Header as a graphic object. To move or delete any of these lines, double-click in the Header area (or go to the Insert tab and click Header | Edit Header), then select the vertical line by clicking on it (you'll know you've selected it correctly if you see an anchor character floating nearby). To remove it, simply click the Delete key. To move it around, simply hold down your left mouse button and drag the line around to wherever you want it.

To add a new vertical line, go to the Insert tab and, under Shapes, find the straight line tool as illustrated below:

Your cursor will change to a cross-hair. Place your cursor where you want to start the line then, holding down your left mouse button, drag the mouse to where you want to line to end. Release the left mouse button to finish the line.

If your line needs adjusting (thickness or horizontal position), see "Extending vertical lines into the header and footer (28-line template only)" below for instructions.

Old (2003) 28-line template

If you have an older (version 2003) 28-line template, the vertical lines are actually bar tabs (which explains why they do not extend into the Header or Footer). The only adjustments you can make here are to either delete the line or move it. To do either, first select all the text in the document with CTRL-A so your new tab settings will be effective for the whole document. Then, click the launcher in the lower right-hand corner of the Paragraph section of the Home tab to get the Paragraph dialog box. Click the Tabs button on the bottom of that dialog box to get the Tabs dialog box:

To remove either of these lines, click on the appropriate one (either the -0.25" or -0.23" setting), then click the Clear button. You can't directly move one of these lines, so you'll have to delete a line first and then reinsert it at whatever vertical point you wish. Just type the new setting under Tab stop position, Select Bar under Alignment, then click Set.

Changing the number of text lines to be numbered

I will tell you this up front: I was an English major in college for a reason. Math is not my strong suit. So it's with great trepidation that I approach the subject of reformatting a 25- or 28-line template to accommodate 24 or 31 or however many lines according to your court's requirements. Because there will be math. (That always sounds vaguely like a threat to me.)

I would recommend that you tackle page margins first. To do that, go to the Page Layout tab and click on Margins:

Put the correct values in the boxes next to Top, Bottom, Left, and Right, then click OK.

Once you have your margins set correctly, then you can reset the number of lines on the template.

25-line/26-line/28-line/32-line templates

In the 25/26/28/23-line templates, you'll have to adjust the Line Spacing for both the line numbers along the left and the actual text of the document:

To change the Line Spacing in the Text Box that contains the line numbers, double-click into the Header, single click into the Text Box, then press CTRL-A to select the entire contents of the Text Box.

Now, click the launcher arrow in the lower right-hand corner of the Paragraph section of the Home tab to get the Paragraph dialog box:

Okay, here's where the math comes in. If, for example, you have an 11 inch long piece of paper and your top margin is 1.5 inches and your bottom margin is 0.7 inches, that leaves you with 8.8 inches of text. Because most of us don't deal with text the way a typesetter or desktop publisher does (in points rather than inches), we don't commonly know that 72 points = 1 inch. (Since there are 2.54 centimeters in an inch, it looks like there are about 28.35 or so points per vertical centimeter ... I think.)

So you'll have to take that 8.8 inches and multiply it by 72, then divide it by the number of lines your form requires to come up with the correct point setting to type in next to "Exactly" above (which may require some decimal places, like the aforementioned 22.75 pt setting). You may have to tweak and test little bit (I told you math wasn't my strong suit) to get this exactly right, but the above formula should at least get you in the ballpark. (If you'd rather work strictly in inches or centimeters, you can actually type that value in with "in" or "cm" next to it, and when you click OK, Word will do the conversion for you. Points, however, are going to be a bit more precise.) Use the exact same setting for your document text (and be sure the font sizes match, too), and your numbers and text should align just fine.

If your line spacing settings are the same in both places, but your line numbers and lines are a little askew, you can nudge the Text Box in the Header up or down slightly by dragging it up or down slightly so that the number 1 is aligned with the first line of your text. You can also use the key combination CTRL-UP or CTRL-DOWN to nudge it up or down by small increments (you have to select the Text Box with your mouse so that you see the anchor character appear above it first).

Old (2003) 28-line template

This whole operation is a lot simpler in the old 28-line template. Since the Line Numbering always tracks with the actual text, it simply a matter of adjusting the Line Spacing (see formula above) until you get the correct number of lines between your top and bottom margins.

Inserting a case style

25-line/26-line/28-line/32-line templates

The 25/26/28/32-line templates already have a case style format embedded in them. Those shaded items in brackets are actually fields that are left over from the way Word 2003 and earlier used macro-driven bookmarks. You can simply type over this information with your own, or if you really want to get fancy, click here to find out how you can embed Bookmarks that will enable you to repeat information like a party's name throughout a document.

Notice that the part containing the plaintiff's and defendant's names, etc., is within a Table. I've found that this is a good way to format this kind of information because things tend to stay put. (By the way, if you need to insert a Tab inside of a Table, hit CTRL-Tab rather than just Tab.)

If the format above doesn't meet your particular court's requirements, contact your local court clerk or law librarian to see if a better template is available.

Old (2003) 28-line template

Since the older 28-line template is completely blank, you've got pretty much free reign. Except for one problem: inserting a table (like you can in the 25/26/28/32-line templates) makes the line numbers and vertical line <em>disappear</em>. (Bummer.) But you can still use tab stops to format everything, and if you're not totally wedded to a particular separator character (like * or ) ), then you can use a Bar Tab (just another type of tab stop, like Center Tabs or Right Tabs) to insert a straight line in the middle that never moves, no matter how many parties you enter.

Fixing numbering/text alignment problems

With the old 28-line template, you should never seldom have any alignment problems between the numbering and the text, since this template employs the Line Numbering feature in Word.

Update: H. Scott Leviant over at The Complex Litigator points out that line number/text alignment problems that occur on the first page of pleading paper can be fixed easily with a setting in Word Options. To take advantage of this setting, click on the File Tab (versions 2010 and 2013) or the Office Button (version 2007) and choose Options. In the Advanced section, scroll all the way to the bottom and expand the Layout Options by clicking on the arrow to the left of the phrase "Layout Options". Check the box called "don't center 'exact line height' lines", like so:

But since the 25/26/28/32-line templates have line numbering embedded in a Text Box, misalignments are a frequent hazard, particularly for those who copy text out of other documents.

And to explain this, I have to go to video:

Extending line numbering into the footer (25/26/28/32-line template only)

I seem to remember having had someone ask me this, although I frankly don't know what jurisdiction actually requires this (or why). But never mind that, because this is actually easy to do. Just double-click into the Header, scroll down to the end of the Text Box, then place your cursor after the last number, hit Enter, and just add as many numbers as you need.

Extending vertical lines into the header and footer (old 28-line template only)

See that example above of the case style in a 28-line template? Since that template uses Bar Tabs to put the vertical lines between the line numbers in the text, the vertical lines don't actually extend into the header and footer. I cheated.

To add extra length to those vertical lines, double-click into the header or footer, then go to the Insert tab and click Shapes to find the vertical line tool:

Your cursor will change to a cross-hair. Place your cursor at the end of the existing line created by the Bar Tab, then, holding down your left mouse button, drag the mouse to the top or bottom. Release the left mouse button to finish the line. Rinse and repeat in the Header and Footer for as many lines as you need. If you find your lines are a little thicker than the ones in the template, click on the line to get the Drawing Tools contextual tab, then click Shape Outline, Weight, and choose a thinner line weight.

If your lines need to be nudged over a bit to be perfectly aligned, select the line with your mouse and use CTRL-Left-Arrow or CTRL-Right-Arrow to move the lines over in small increments. (You may have to zoom your view in really tight to get it just right.)

Removing the line numbering

25/26/28/32-line templates

Easy as pie. Just double-click into the Header, select the Text Box with your mouse, and hit the Delete key. And those numbers are outtahere!

Old (2003) 28-line template

To turn off Line Numbering, go to the Page Layout tab, click line Numbering, and choose None.

And when you're done ... SAVE IT!

I hope you're really not considering going through all this reformatting every single time you create a pleading. Because it's absolutely not necessary. Once you get this thing tweaked to your exacting specifications, take my advice and save it as a template.

To do that, instead of just hitting that little diskette icon to do a regular Save, go up to the Office Button (if you're in version 2007) or to the File tab (if you're using 2010 or later) and click Save As. (Since I don't have version 2007 on this PC, you 2007 users will have to click here for more exact instructions.) If you're a Word 2010, 2013 or 2016 user, you'll see a dialog box like this:

Word 2010

Word 2016

If you want your template to be available as a choice when you click File | New, or if you want to make your template available on your office network for others to use, click here and here to find out what folder you should save your template in.

Ensuring your line numbers appear on every page (not just the first one)

If you've created your own pleading paper template, but you only see your line numbers on the first page, It's probably because your headers/footers are set to have a different first page header/footer (commonly used in letters):

  1. Double-click into the first page’s header or footer area.
  2. Press CTRL-A to select everything in the header/footer area.
  3. Press CTRL-C to copy it.
  4. Uncheck the box next to Different First Page on the Header and Footer Tools contextual tab shown below.
  5. If you find that the numbering scheme you worked so hard on has vanished, don’t panic – you just copied it! Use CTRL-V to paste it back into the header/footer area.

Your line numbering, etc. should now appear on all pages.

Questions, anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

If 3,000+ words in this course didn't answer your particular question (hey, it could happen), give me a shout in the survey below.

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 the latest Microsoft templates (the 24-line template, the 25-line template, the 26-line template, the old 28-line template, the 2013 28-line template, or the 32-line template) 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 end, and I'll add the answer.

Update: Apparently, not so "musty and old" anymore! It looks like Microsoft has updated the pleading templates for versions 2007 and 2013. They also have 26-line and 32-line versions. I've updated the links above so they point to the new versions (the old ones no longer exist).

And Another Update: What Microsoft giveth, Microsoft also taketh away. It seems they don't supply these templates anymore. Fortunately, I had downloaded some of them the last time I encountered them, so the links should work now. Thanks to an eagle-eyed reader for alerting me to the change.

Pleading Paper Templates - An Introduction

Since I don't work in California or any other jurisdiction that requires Pleading Paper formats, I'm not exactly an expert on all the ins and outs of the formatting requirements. However, some common themes are evident:

  • Most have line numbering down the left margin​
  • Some have one (and occasionally two) vertical lines down the left margin just to the right of any line numbers​
  • Some also have a vertical line down the right margin as well​
  • Some of these vertical lines extend the full height of the page; some only to the height of the main text (excluding headers and footers)​
  • The number of lines that are numbered varies​
  • Some formats have line numbers that extend into the footer; most do not​
  • The line spacing is almost invariably funky (like, it can't just be double-spaced, it has to be 22.75 points or something)

In short, every time I look at Pleading Paper, I have a bad flashback of my one experience back in the late 1980s of formatting a U.S. Supreme Court brief. (And, for those of you who may be asking: yes, I did it in WordPerfect.)

How pleading paper templates work

The Microsoft Word pleading paper templates</a> that seem to be available mostly date back to the 2003 version of Word. (There's one 2007 version with 24 lines.) Clearly, nobody at Microsoft thinks these are worth updating, and Even though Microsoft has updated the pleading paper templates to 2007 and 2013 versions, they've apparently ditched the previous pleading creation wizard. So we are going to learn how to update these ourselves. (And by "we," I mean you. Because I already have.)

Of course, the 28- and 25-line/26-line/32-line templates work in different ways. (We wouldn't want to be consistent, now, would we?) The line numbers in the 25-line version (as well as the 26- and 32-line templates) are actually embedded in a Text Box placed in the Header. The vertical lines are also placed in the Header. The line spacing in the template is designed to match the line spacing in the Text Box so that the lines of text will align with the line numbers. (Try saying that last part three times fast.)

The old 2003 28-line version (assuming you saved it when it was available) uses Word's Line Numbering feature to place the numbers. And those vertical lines? They're Bar Tabs. (Insert your favorite alcohol-related joke here.)

If you use the template in the way that Microsoft seems to think you should (by simply opening a new document based on the template and then typing into it) the text will align with the numbers just fine. But, as we all know, lawyers love to cut-and-paste from old pleadings, and this is quite often where the formatting fun begins, particularly if the old text is coming from WordPerfect.

And if the court you're practicing in requires something other than those formats, then heaven help you.

First, let's take a look at the typical formatting of the standard templates:

So, to summarize:

  • If your entire document including the case style and your signature block will be spaced identically (no switching to single space for any section of your document), then you can start with the old 28-line template and modify according to your needs.
  • However, if in your jurisdiction the case style and/or signature block (or anything else) require single spacing, start with the 25-line template, since the numbering on the left side is embedded in a Text Box and therefore independent of the line spacing of the actual document text.

(And for those of you who are interested in using the Bookmarks feature of the 25 line template, click here for a tutorial.)

It's also worthwhile to note that, in some states, law schools and law libraries make templates available online. (See https://saclaw.org/wp-content/uploads/form-pleading-paper.rtf as an example.) Those might give you a better start than the standard Microsoft templates.

Where to go from here?

Now that you've:

  • Learned the two different ways these templates are constructed, and what implications those design decisions have on line spacing; and​
  • Decided which of the two templates would give you the best starting place​

... you're ready to learn how to alter the existing templates to your court's specifications.

In the next lesson in this course, we'll cover:

  • Adding/moving/removing vertical lines​
  • Changing the number of numbered lines (in case your court requires something other than 25 or 28 lines)​
  • Inserting a case style (here's where choosing the correct template to start with becomes really important!)​
  • Preventing and/or fixing numbering/text alignment problems​
  • Extending line numbering into the footer​
  • Removing line numbering altogether

If you've been just getting by with your current template (or, as one reader noted above, "just reus[ing] old documents to keep the pleading paper formatting"), then click the Next Unit button below to go to the next lesson!

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.

Keep reading →

Opening Microsoft Word Documents

Microsoft Word's really not very different from most word processors in the way it retrieves current documents, and most common editing tasks will be familiar to anyone who's worked with a word processor in Microsoft Windows. Let's go over some of the basics.

Opening an existing document with File > Open

There are several ways to open the document already saved in Microsoft Word. You might remember the File tab and the Quick Access Toolbar from the previous lesson. Either of those can be used to retrieve a document:

Word 2010

In Word 2010, you'll be taken to the familiar Windows Explorer to find the file you're looking for. Simply navigate to the correct drive and folder, double-click on the file name, and you're in.

In Word 2016, here's what you'll get when you click on the File tab:

Word 2016

The default view shows your most recent documents (convenient!). But you can navigate to your OneDrive cloud account or a local or network drive to find any document you need.

Using a shortcut key to open documents

For those of you who prefer to use the keyboard over the mouse, here's a quick shortcut key to take you directly to the File > Open area: CTRL-O (hold down the Control key and type the letter "O" for Open).

Opening an Existing Document via the Quick Access Toolbar

The Quick Access Toolbar works just like File > Open. Simply click on the open folder icon:

... then navigate to the correct folder in Windows Explorer (either on your PC or on your network and double-click on the file name to retrieve it.

The Open File icon should be in your Quick Access Toolbar by default. If it is not, just click on the drop-down arrow at the end of the QAT and make sure Open is checked in the list:

Here, the "new document" button is enabled in the Quick Access Toolbar

Click here for a more detailed demonstration of how to customize your Quick Access Toolbar.

Let's Review

Here's what we've covered in this tutorial:

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    Opening an existing document using the File tab
  • check
    Opening a document with a shortcut key
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    Opening an existing document using the Quick Access Toolbar

The next tutorial in this series will cover ...

Next time, we'll cover basic keyboard commands you can use while typing, Insert versus Overtype mode, and multiple ways you can select text for formatting or copying/moving. See you in the next lesson!

Creating New Microsoft Word Documents

Creating a new, blank document in Microsoft Word is easy. That said, there's always more than one way to do something in Word, and I want you to see several of them so you can pick your favorite. Let's look at three ways you can start a new document.

Creating a blank document

If you simply want a completely blank document with no pre-existing content and with just standard formatting, there are three ways you can create a new document based on what Microsoft Word calls the Normal template:

File Tab

Click on the File tab on the left-hand side of the Ribbon, then click on New:

You'll be asked which document type you want. Choose "Blank Document" ...

Word 2010

Word 2013

Word 2016

Word 365

... and a new blank document will appear in the editing window.

Quick Access Toolbar

This method is even quicker. Floating above the tabs on the Ribbon is something called the Quick Access Toolbar. While that's covered in more detail elsewhere, your Quick Access Toolbar (QAT) gives you one-click access to your most frequently used commands. By default, you'll have at least the New Document, Open Document, and Save Document icons on the QAT. The New Document icon looks like a blank sheet of paper. Click it, and up pops a new document.

If for some reason you don't see that icon on your QAT, it's easy to add. Just click the drop-down arrow at the end of your Quick Access Toolbar and make sure that New has a check mark next to it:

Keyboard Shortcut

Look above at the illustration of the Quick Access Toolbar. See what's written next to the word New? That key combination, <strong>CTRL-N</strong>, is the default keyboard shortcut for starting a new document. (If you find that doesn't work for you, it may be that someone else using your PC has designated that shortcut for another function. To learn how to restore it to its original function, click here.)

Let's Review

Here's what we've covered in this tutorial:

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    Creating a new document using the File tab
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    Creating a new document using the Quick Access Toolbar
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    Creating a new document using the keyboard shortcut CTRL-N

The next tutorial in this series will cover ...

Creating a new document using a template other than the Normal template.

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?

Keep reading →

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:

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

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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?"

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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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13 Document Cleanup Clinic: The Case of the Stretched-Out Line

I love nice, neat, fully-justified text in documents (really, who doesn't?). It's one of the great advantages word processing has over the ancient typewriter. But it can introduce some problems into your documents when the spacing between words (or even within words) isn't quite right. Calculating that extra spacing is apparently still a real challenge for Microsoft Word. Sometimes, however, we as users unwittingly introduce problems that make it even more of a challenge.

For instance, if you've been known to copy text from your old documents into your new ones, you've probably seen this happen:

What on earth is going on with that last line? You know there aren't really a bunch of extra spaces between the words. What else could be causing this, though?

Before you resign yourself to setting all your paragraphs to be left-justified, let me show you a little tip that'll save you the trouble.

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20 Reader Question: Type Once, Repeat Many?

Ever had one of those forms that repeats someone’s name or some other piece of information, um, repeatedly? Say, a will or a power of attorney or something similar?

If you’ve tried to make yourself a homegrown forms database, knowing that you’ll have to go in each time and fill in the variable information (name, he/she, his/her, son/daughter/children, etc.) in all (and I do mean all) the right places, then you can appreciate this reader’s dilemma:

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When just the page number won’t do

A friend of mine is working on an 11th Circuit Court of Appeals (U.S.) brief, and she's run up on an interesting problem, one not already addressed in my post about sections in appellate briefs.

One of the requirements is that the Certificate of Interested Persons section should have page footers like this:

So, the number immediately after the "C-" is the current page number, and the number on the right-hand side is the total number of pages that section has.

Now, if you're not familiar with how to put sections into a brief to control pagination, then I'm going to refer you here for the complete video tutorial. (My friend's already seen this one, so she's got this down pat.)

The part she's having trouble with, though, is inserting the "C-1", "of" and the last number. So here's how to do that:

Word 2010

Word 2013-2016

This content is part of a course

What you've learned here is just a small part of my Brief Builder's Workshop course, where you can learn all sorts of skills for building better briefs, such as creating a Table of Authorities and configuring a Table of Contents (two ways). Click here for more information.

21 How to modify a Table of Contents in Microsoft Word

You've built a Table of Contents in Microsoft Word using the Styles feature to mark the TOC entries or by marking them manually. And just when you're about to pat yourself on the back for having an automatic Table of Contents in your document, you notice something's a little ... off. Maybe the font's not quite right. Perhaps the font's okay but the spacing's not. Or the indentation. It could be you want/don't want the dot leaders running up to the page numbers.

Suffice it to say you just want to alter the format of it. But how?

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