In this article we look at some advanced formatting features in Word to help make working in lengthy documents slightly easier.
Make sure to read Part 1 on viewing multiple parts of a document simultaneously, customised grammar checking, format painter and advanced find and replace and Part 2 on salvaging unstable documents, creating custom keyboard shortcuts, automatic line numbering and footnoting tips.
1. Discover formatting mistakes - Draft and Outline View
We've previously discussed draft and outline views as a method of salvaging unstable Word documents.
But there's another fantastic use - getting a quick visual overview of font which has been formatted differently (usually inadvertently). It's especially handy when dealing with unfamiliar formatting and styles in documents received from clients, opponents or court/regulatory forms on the internet. We've set out examples of this below.
Combined with Format Painter, which we've previously discussed, you can quickly fix any formatting errors in your next document.
Image 1 shows text formatted in Word's default "Print Layout" view. Image 2 contains the "Style Area Pane" on the left.
The Style Inspector and Reveal Formatting options below are excellent additional formatting choices.
"Style Area Pane" is, unfortunately, rarely turned on by default. If you've switched into either Draft or Outline view and can't see it, follow the steps below.
2. Style inspector - Easily fix formatting
Sometimes text just won't format properly. Reapplying quick styles or using format painter won't do anything to fix the problematic text
This can be due to a mismatch between the paragraph level formatting and Word's specific text level formatting. Did you know these were separate things?
Here are two examples:
Want to return the font back to its default setting? Click the Eraser button to the right of the box or "Clear All".
To open the Style Inspector pane, follow these steps:
The information in the Style Inspector is based upon cursor position - highlight text or click a different part of your document to see its formatting.
3. Reveal formatting - One for the obsessive lawyer
Want to see and change every setting which has been applied to a particular part of your document? The Reveal Formatting tool is essential for lawyers to master.
Every hyperlink in the example below can be clicked on to individually change that setting:
To turn on Reveal Formatting, open Style Inspector (see steps in the previous section). Then:
The options able to controlled through the Reveal Formatting tab is impressive. Even information about page margins and paper size can be controlled!
Want to quickly and easily reset every setting back to default? There's a shortcut for that too:
4. Fields - Amazing, but complicated
Lawyers unknowingly use fields within firm precedents daily. Page numbers and author information are simple examples. But how is it your document title or subject line gets transferred into the header of every subsequent page? Fields.
Fields don't have any value by themselves. They must be defined first - otherwise they stay blank. The field being created below will extract the nearest sentence of text formatted as "Heading 2":
You could use this example to extract the current section of your advice, letter of transaction document at the top of every page of your document by placing a single field in the header. Inserting a second field and selecting "Header 3" would result in the next level heading also being extracted - great for sub-clauses!
Inserting a field is relatively straightforward:
There are many different "Field" options to choose from. Not all are relevant to lawyers. The most relevant fields in the list for lawyers to be aware of include:
- Style Reference (See example, left)
- TOC (Create a customised table of contents)
- Ref (Relevant for cross-references and bookmarks)
- Page Number
We'll be releasing Part 4 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