Lawyers - Are you using these time-saving Word shortcuts? (Part 3)

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.

Outline 1.png
 Note the last sentence (and sentences continued from this point) will each be formatted as "Normal Indent" rather than Normal.

Note the last sentence (and sentences continued from this point) will each be formatted as "Normal Indent" rather than Normal.

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.

 Select "File" to begin. Savvy readers will notice the Format Painter button which was discussed in Part 1.

Select "File" to begin. Savvy readers will notice the Format Painter button which was discussed in Part 1.

Outline 5.PNG
 The critical step is to increase the size of the pane - currently set to 4.99 cm. Typically 0 cm is set by default, effectively hiding the style area pane.

The critical step is to increase the size of the pane - currently set to 4.99 cm. Typically 0 cm is set by default, effectively hiding the style area pane.

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:

 Note the paragraph formatting is in Arial but the default text level formatting is in Calibri.

Note the paragraph formatting is in Arial but the default text level formatting is in Calibri.

 A more complex example - both the paragraph and text level formatting has been significantly changed from the default style.

A more complex example - both the paragraph and text level formatting has been significantly changed from the default style.

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:

Style Inspector 3.png
 Clicking the box will open the Style Inspector pane, left.

Clicking the box will open the Style Inspector pane, left.

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:

 Look at that scrollbar!

Look at that scrollbar!

To turn on Reveal Formatting, open Style Inspector (see steps in the previous section). Then:

 Clicking this button will open the Reveal Formatting pane, left.

Clicking this button will open the Reveal Formatting pane, left.

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:

Reveal Formatting 3.png

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":

Fields 3.png

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:

Fields 1.png
Fields 2.png

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)
  • Author
  • Date
  • Ref (Relevant for cross-references and bookmarks)
  • Page Number
  • Title
  • Subject