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The Spike: It’s more than plain cut-and-paste

Unless otherwise noted, all instructions and screenshots are from Microsoft Office for Windows.

No, I’m not talking about a medieval torture instrument (sorry to those of you who are disappointed) — I’m talking about a cool “undocumented” feature in Microsoft Word.

The Spike allows you to gather up several different pieces of text into a holding area and paste them as a block into a document.

This could come in handy if you have, say, discovery requests you want to pick-and-choose from prior cases.  Just start going through your various old files, save each block of text into the Spike with CNTRL-F3, and assemble away!  Or use it to ease the editing of a document when the attorney is moving large blocks of text around.

So what’s the difference between this and the Clipboard?  The Spike allows you to work with multiple pieces of copied text at once, while the Clipboard only allows you to paste in the last piece of text you copied.

A caution, though: the Spike cuts text from your originating document instead of copying it and leaving the original text intact.  As long as you don’t save the altered original document, though, no harm done, right?

According to Lori Kaufman of HelpDeskGeek.com, “The Spike is a useful feature if you need to quickly and easily rearrange and move non-contiguous text or create a new document from pieces of another document.”

Use the Spike or just open up a new document window to assemble text?  It’s up to you.  But do head over to HelpDeskGeek.com and check out their tutorial before you decide.

(Hat tip to HelpDeskGeek.com via the ever-popular LifeHacker blog for the heads-up on this feature.)

by Deborah Savadra

I spend an inordinate amount of my time playing with computers and attempting to explain technology to lawyers and law office staff. It's not always easy, but someone's got to do it.

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  1. I am sorry… But how can I paste the text I cutted using the spike feature? CTRL + V is not working!!!

    1. Use Ctrl + Shift + F3