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:
Once you're done proofing, reverse the steps to convert your endnotes back to footnotes.
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.
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:
Perfect for the High Court's penchant for line numbering in multiples of 10.
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:
We'll be releasing Part 3 of our time-saving tips for lawyers soon. But until then there are a range of excellent resources for entrenched users of Word:
- Flavio Morgado, Microsoft Word Secrets: The Why and How of Getting Word to do What You Want, 2017
- F. Mark Schiavone, Building Complex Documents: Using Microsoft Word 2010 & 2013, 2014
- Ben M Schorr, The Lawyer's Guide to Microsoft Word 2013, or for Word 2010
- Jack M Lyon, Macro Cookbook for Microsoft Word, 2011 and Jack M Lyon, Wildcard Cookbook for Microsoft Word, 2015
- Jacques Raubenheimer, Doing your Dissertation in Microsoft Word, 2013
- Steven Roman, Writing Word Macros, 1999