ILNews

Start Page: 3 changes to make next time you open Microsoft Word

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

WilsonMicrosoft Word is an essential tool in any lawyer’s toolbox. But, many of us don’t get the most out of this word processor. This article offers three things to change the next time you open Word to make it work better for you.

Set up your key defaults (fonts and line spacing)

If you have Word 2010, the default font is Calibri (Body), size 11. This tip shows you how to change the default font so that all documents you create from now on have your preferred starting font.

First, some background information. Word stores all its file information in a file called “Normal.dot” or “Normal.dotm” for more recent versions. This is the default file that loads when you open a blank Word document. To tell Word to load something different, you need to change the default font style.

Normally, you would click on the dropdown arrow next to the font name to change the font. Instead, press the Control and D keys at the same time (Ctrl D). This opens the font option box where you can set up your default font options.

In the font option box, select your favorite font, set the font style to regular (not bold or italics), and set the default size (typically 12). Finally, click Set as Default in the lower left-hand side of the font option box.

You will be prompted to choose if you want the changes to apply to the open document or “all documents based on the Normal template.” Choose the “all documents” option since you want your new default font to appear each time you start Word. This will not change anything on your existing documents, just new ones created after you make these changes.

Next, you will want to change the default line spacing. Press “Alt O P” to open the paragraph option box. Set the Spacing to 0 (both before and after) and the Line Spacing to single. Find the Set as Default box and click. Choose the same option as you did above to change the font to apply the changes to all newly created documents.

By the way, this tip will work with any version of Word.

Define your style

Styles are one of the most important, and most underused, options in Word. Most of us format each sentence or paragraph as we go. For example, we type in a heading to an argument section in a brief, and then choose the font size, bold, all caps, etc. Needless to say, this can be a time consuming process to remember what formatting options you applied three pages earlier. Instead, define your styles and let Word do the work for you.

Open Word and look for the “Styles” section of the toolbar. You should see a box that contains the words “Normal,” “No Spacing,” or “Heading 1.” Next, type the word “Argument” in the body of your document. Click on “Heading 1” in the Styles box and watch how the Style automatically changes the word Argument to match the pre-set style Heading 1.

Since you want to make Word work smarter, right click on Heading 1 and choose Modify. The Modify Styles options box appears. There are many options you can change, including adding automatic numbering (great for arguments and sub-arguments). Make a change or two and see what happens when you click OK. Repeat until you have the format the way you like. You can choose to have your changes apply only to the document you are working on or to “New documents based on this template” for future documents.

Teach Word to write for you with AutoText

AutoText in Word is like your smart phone autocorrecting for you. Word has many AutoText entries by default. But, you will want to create your own.

To create your first AutoText entry, type your firm or company name. Select the name with your cursor. Then, on Word’s toolbar, click Insert, Quick Parts, Save Selection to Quick Part Gallery. Write the name of the entry (i.e., what you will type when you want the full phrase to appear) and select any other options.

To use the AutoText entry, start typing the name of the entry you created and Word does the rest, auto-completing the full text of your entry. Alternatively, you can type the short name and press the F3 key to have the full entry appear.

Need more AutoText ideas? Try creating signature lines for pleadings/letters, standard opening paragraphs for pleadings and discovery, or standard response emails. Basically anything that you would normally copy and paste you can add to your AutoText library and have Word type for you with just a few keystrokes.

Word is a powerful tool. Make it work harder for you.•

Seth Wilson is a partner at Hume Smith Geddes Green & Simmons LLP in Indianapolis. In addition to practicing law, he helps manage the day-to-day technology operations of the firm, and frequently speaks and advises on legal technology issues. The opinions expressed are those of the author.

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Indiana State Bar Association

Indianapolis Bar Association

Evansville Bar Association

Allen County Bar Association

Indiana Lawyer on Facebook

facebook
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

ADVERTISEMENT