Lawyers - Are you using these time-saving Word shortcuts? (Part 4)

In this part we discuss how to liven-up your transaction documents, advices or evidence preparation with embedded documents, how to save time (and money!) through better use of Word's autorecover feature and essential keyboard shortcuts all lawyers should know. Make sure to also read: 

1.  Embedding documents within Word

This tip is perfect for any lawyer needing to regularly cross-reference a document. You can include that document inside the one you're working on. Two major use cases include:

  • Litigators preparing evidence or corporate lawyers completing due diligence wanting to incorporate the original source document into their evidence matrix or report.
  • Lawyers with an advisory practice wanting to incorporate previous advices, transaction documents or original source legislation/cases into their current advice.

It's especially handy when your instructor might not have the best document management system. Here's an example - simply double click the document icon in Word and the original will open:

 Positioning for illustrative purposes only. You can move the document to suit your formatting needs like a normal picture within Word.

Positioning for illustrative purposes only. You can move the document to suit your formatting needs like a normal picture within Word.

Embedding a document is relatively straightforward. Follow the steps below:

Embedded 2.png
 Make sure to switch views into "Create from File" and that "Display as Icon" are set before hitting "Ok".

Make sure to switch views into "Create from File" and that "Display as Icon" are set before hitting "Ok".

Lawyers may find their IT department has applied rules to automatically "clean" documents of their metadata when a file is sent externally. An embedded document  usually gets removed by these policies, resulting in the embedded document being non-functional if this policy is being applied. So if your client complains they can't open anything, you know who to complain to!


2.  Autorecover - Your saviour

Every lawyer has a horror story about losing a document to a crash. I'm now a compulsive saver. But there's a simpler way - Word's inbuilt autosave feature.

Word defaults to saving your document every 10 minutes. I've found this isn't frequent enough - especially when recreating 10 minutes of work can easily take another 30 minutes.

Happily the autorecover frequency can be reduced to as little as 1 minute. Perfect for those paranoid about losing their work.

 

 Access this menu from "File" and then "Options" (on the lower left hand side menu). See one of our earlier articles if you need a graphic explaning how to access this menu.

Access this menu from "File" and then "Options" (on the lower left hand side menu). See one of our earlier articles if you need a graphic explaning how to access this menu.

Typically there is a brief "pause" for autosave where no edits can be made. This is barely noticeable on new computers - but lawyers stuck with old computers might find the frequent pauses frustrating. Getting the balance right for you is worthwhile.


3.  Advanced keyboard control

Everything you can do with the mouse in Word you can do with a shortcut. We've listed some of our favourites here.

Drafting must-knows

  • Alt Shift + < or > Arrow-Key:  Change font style. Very handy for formatting text into a different heading level.
  • Alt Shift + Up or Down Arrow-Key: Move highlighted text one paragraph up or down. Perfect for moving entire clauses in your document. 
  • Alt Control + Z: Move the cursor between the previous 4 places in your document. Very helpful to jump back to your previous place in a document and if you're moving entire paragraphs rather than typing new text.

Lawyer-specific shortcuts

  • Control Shift Space: Insert a non-breaking space
  • Control Shift + -  : Insert a non-breaking hyphen.
  • Alt Control + Minus sign (on numpad): Insert an emdash
  • Control Minus sign (on numpad): Insert an endash. 

For copyright, registered trademark, service mark and unregistered trademark notation, see Part 2.

Word processing tips

  • Control Backspace: Delete an entire word at a time.
  • Shift + Arrow-Keys: Highlight individual characters (left or right arrow-keys) or entire lines (up or down arrow-key). 
  • Control Shift Arrow-Keys: Highlight individual words (left or right arrow-keys) or entire paragraphs (up or down arrow-keys).
  • Shift + Home or End: Highlight from cursor position to the beginning or end of the line.
  • Control Shift Home or End: Highlight from cursor position to the beginning or end of the document.
  • Control +or : Increase or decrease font size
  • Control L or E or R: Left, center or right align paragraph.
  • Control M Control Shift M: Increase or decrease margin.
  • Alt Control F: Insert a new footnote
  • Control Enter: Insert a page break. 

 

    Why should you care?

    These shortcuts are all about efficiency. Drawing your hands away from the keyboard to the mouse to complete one of these actions takes time - and draws your focus away from typing.

    Discover shortcuts yourself

    Within a Word document, hold down the Alt key and the following soft-keys will appear inside your document. Press one and new options will appear. The sequence below shows Alt, followed by H. 

    Shortcuts 1.png
     Press 1, for example, to engage the Bold function.

    Press 1, for example, to engage the Bold function.

    When you need it most...

    Have you ever thought about how to close your quotation marks if Word fails to automatically do it?

    • Control + + (again): Will return a ’ even without first having an open ‘.
    • Control Shift ": Will return a ” even without first having an open “.

    Nothing will be printed until you complete one of these sequences.

    Don't forget

    If you'd like to make one of these shortcuts something more logical, Part 2 discusses how to assign your own custom shortcuts within Word.