Lawyers - Are you using these time-saving Word features? (Part 2)

Until lawyers stop drafting contracts the old fashioned way, Word is here to stay. But there are many time-saving tricks in Word that lawyers don't know about. How much time will you save on that next advice or transaction document?

Make sure to look at Part 1 as well, which contains guidance on viewing multiple parts of the same document simultaneously, customised grammar checking, format painter and advanced find and replace matters.

1.  Footnote foibles

Footnotes probably don't get the attention they deserve. Interrupting yourself from reading the substantive advice to look at footnotes is difficult. Happily, there's a technical solution to make sure they're not forgotten again.

Lawyers should consider (temporarily) converting footnotes to endnotes when they have many requiring review. Proofing becomes easier by having all references in a single place, making it very quick to spot inconsistent formatting and to scroll between different footnotes to check they've been cross-referenced correctly. Here's an example:

 Rather than being split over 12 pages, all footnotes were condensed over 3 pages. Helpful when you have over 100 footnotes to review!

Rather than being split over 12 pages, all footnotes were condensed over 3 pages. Helpful when you have over 100 footnotes to review!

Once you're done proofing, reverse the steps to convert your endnotes back to footnotes.

 Step 1 (above), step 2 (right), step 3 (below).

Step 1 (above), step 2 (right), step 3 (below).

Footnotes and Endnotes.png
 Too many steps? Highlighting all of your footnotes and right clicking also brings up the option to convert between footnotes and endnotes.

Too many steps? Highlighting all of your footnotes and right clicking also brings up the option to convert between footnotes and endnotes.

2.  Unstable document? Change your view

Long documents - especially when combined with a lawyer's affection for tables - regularly run slowly, crash and occasionally become corrupted.

Switching to either Outline or Draft view can help. These options are less memory-intensive and more stable as Word is not attempting to render your document into a printable format.

Keep an eye out for Part 3 where some further uses of the Outline/Draft views are discussed.

 If you can adapt to the different formatting of your document, these alternative views can be of enormous help!

If you can adapt to the different formatting of your document, these alternative views can be of enormous help!

3.  Automated line numbering

Litigators struggle to format their documents in accordance with court rules. Pasting a text box containing approximate line numberings onto every page of a brief is regrettably common. That's a ridiculous waste of time - and a horribly inexact method too.

There's enormous flexibility within word to automate this. After following the 3 steps on the right, you'll come to the box below. Here's an example that will print line numbers in multiples of 10 on your document, restarting every page:

Line Numbering 4.png

Perfect for the High Court's penchant for line numbering in multiples of 10.

 Step 1 (above), step 2 (right), step 3 (below)

Step 1 (above), step 2 (right), step 3 (below)

Line Numbering 2.png
Line Numbering 3.png

4.  Assigning custom keyboard shortcuts

Most users of Word will never need to worry about en-dashes (or the more controversial em-dash). Or even copyright, registered trademark, service mark and unregistered trademark notation.

But there is a better way than wistfully wandering through Word's symbols list - create a custom shortcut to insert that symbol. 

Here's an example for banking lawyers. If you have a need to regularly work in GBP and dollar denominated currencies, you can create a custom shortcut for inserting the Pound symbol.

In the example below, I've assigned Control + Shift + 4 (or alternatively Control + $) to insert the Pound symbol:

 Note that this shortcut is currently unassigned. Other combinations you try in the shortcut key box may already be taken. Think twice before overwriting anything!

Note that this shortcut is currently unassigned. Other combinations you try in the shortcut key box may already be taken. Think twice before overwriting anything!

 Step 1 (above), step 2 (right), step 3 (below)

Step 1 (above), step 2 (right), step 3 (below)

Keyboard shortcuts 2.png
 If typing "0163" while holding the ALT key isn't you, you can define your own shortcut through the "Shortcut Key" menu. See example, left.

If typing "0163" while holding the ALT key isn't you, you can define your own shortcut through the "Shortcut Key" menu. See example, left.