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.
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
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
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:
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):
- Double-click into the first page’s header or footer area.
- Press CTRL-A to select everything in the header/footer area.
- Press CTRL-C to copy it.
- Uncheck the box next to Different First Page on the Header and Footer Tools contextual tab shown below.
- 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.