Archive for May, 2009

John Heckman’s review of my book

I was pleased to learn that John Heckman, a software consultant in the greater New York area, wrote a favorable review of my book a couple of days ago. You can find the review here.

Although I know John slightly — we met at a conference for certified Amicus Attorney consultants in Toronto in 1999 — I had no idea he had bought a copy of my book, let alone that he was planning to review it. John has a stellar reputation in the field, so his praise means a great deal to me.

John’s site contains lots of information of interest to law firms and government agencies: white papers, cheat sheets for various software, blog posts, occasional newsletter articles, and links to articles John has written for several different legal publications. The main page is located here.

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May 30, 2009 at 11:26 pm

QuickWords (WordPerfect, all recent versions)

Today I did a Word 2007 training at a law firm where most of the staff is still using WordPerfect. After the session ended, one of the trainees expressed an interest in learning about WordPerfect’s QuickWords feature, which he never knew about until I mentioned it to him after demonstrating a similar feature in Word (Quick Parts, called AutoText in versions prior to Word 2007).

QuickWords actually has been around for a long time. In early Windows versions of WordPerfect, the feature was known as Abbreviations. Essentially you can set up text and/or graphics that you are likely to reuse — such as boilerplate paragraphs for contracts (including a code for an automatic paragraph number) or interrogatory responses — so that you can invoke them with just a few keystrokes.

To create a QuickWord, type and select the text, including any codes (tabs or indents, automatic numbering, line spacing, etc.). It’s important to select the codes because if you don’t, the item might not be formatted the way you intend. (For instance, if you have a signature block that is indented five tab stops, you need to select in such a way as to incorporate the tab stops, or the signature block won’t be indented properly when you expand the QuickWord.) Once the text (plus codes and any graphics) is selected, click the Tools menu, QuickWords.

When the dialog opens, type an abbreviation that you will use to expand the entry. CAUTION: If you use an abbreviation that is a real word, WordPerfect will insert the entry whenever you type that word and press one of the “trigger” keys (the space bar, the Tab key, or the Enter key). In order to avoid that occurrence, you can put a character such as a backslash or an asterisk ahead of your abbreviation; when you want to insert your QuickWord entry into a document, make sure to type the backslash or asterisk, followed by the abbreviation. So, for example, if your initials are A.N.D., you can use “and” as your abbreviation if you enter it in the “Abbreviated form” field in the QuickWords/QuickCorrect dialog as *and or \and. If you use the word “and” without putting some sort of symbol ahead of it, you’ll end up using your QuickWord much more frequently than you intended.

There are two configuration options you should review before OK-ing out of the dialog. First, you’ll probably want to make sure that “Expand QuickWords as you type them” is checked. That way, your abbreviation will expand automatically when you press one of the trigger keys. If you decide to leave the box unchecked, you can expand all of the QuickWords in your document later on by running the EXPNDALL.wcm macro that comes with WordPerfect. (Tools, Macro, Play.)

Secondly, if you want the expanded abbreviation to incorporate formatting, click the Options button and make sure that “Expand as text with Formatting” is checked. If “Expland as Plain Text” is checked, the formatting will not be included in the expanded entry.

When everything is set up to your satisfaction, click OK.

Now when you type your abbreviation and press either the space bar, the Tab key, or the Enter key, the abbreviation should expand into the full QuickWord entry. (Be careful about your cursor position before you type a QuickWord. Ordinarily you will want the cursor at the left margin — not in the middle of a paragraph or indented in any way.)

Note that QuickWords are not case sensitive. If you set up a signature block and use the abbreviation “vty” (for Very truly yours), VTY and Vty (and all other permutations) will work exactly the same way as the lower-case abbreviation.

May 28, 2009 at 7:12 pm

My book is now available on Amazon!

NOTE: I’m updating the links as of 1/12/2012 to reflect changes in the URL on Amazon (and the fact that I’ve just republished the book). Also, I’ve deleted some portions of the post that no longer apply.

Amazon has just listed my “Formatting Legal Documents With Microsoft Office Word 2007” book. It’s available via this link.

The description hasn’t been posted yet; that should follow shortly. I’m also attempting to add “tags” that people can search on, such as “Word 2007 for law firms.” Apparently it can take a while for Amazon to add tags, so full search functionality might not be available for another week or two.

Also, Lulu is still working out arrangements with Amazon that will allow for display of a preview of the book. [Updated as of 1/12/2012: You can view a preview on Lulu.com — by clicking the “Preview” link on this page — that includes the entire Table of Contents and a few excerpts. The listing for the republished book on Amazon will make use of the “Look Inside!” feature, although that hasn’t been activated just yet.]

Please keep in mind that this is a print-on-demand (POD) book, which means the book must be printed before it can be shipped. Printing typically takes 3-5 days. Be sure to allow for that extra time when you order a copy from Amazon or Lulu.

Thanks for showing your support for my book!

May 27, 2009 at 7:28 pm

Track Changes Options (Word)

In versions of Word prior to Word 2007, the Track Changes options are located under Tools, Options, Track Changes tab. If others will be collaborating on a document with you — inserting and deleting text and/or adding comments — select the “By Author” option for Insertions, Deletions, and Comments. When you do so, each reviewer’s changes will appear in a distinct color, making it easy to discern at a glance who has made which modifications.

In Word 2007, you can find the “Change Tracking Options” by navigating to the Review tab, Tracking group, and opening the Track Changes drop-down.

Will post more about Tracking Changes over the next few weeks.

May 24, 2009 at 11:53 am

Line Breaks (Word and WordPerfect)

A line break is a way of moving the cursor down to the next line in a document without actually ending one paragraph and beginning another one.

It’s a rather strange concept, perhaps best illustrated by an example. Imagine that you are typing a series of sequentially numbered paragraphs — perhaps in a contract — and you want to insert a non-numbered paragraph in between. Pressing the Enter key creates a new paragraph and adds the next number. Of course, you can press the Enter key a second time to stop the automatic numbering, but then it can be cumbersome to resume numbering in the following paragraph (particularly in Word, where pressing the numbering button often produces either the wrong number in sequence or a correctly numbered paragraph that is indented differently from all the other paragraphs).

The line break gives you the best of both worlds: It allows you to place text sans numbering below a numbered paragraph and then, simply by pressing the Enter key, resume consecutive numbering. That is because the line break merely extends the paragraph, rather than severing it. It moves the cursor down, allowing you to separate the text visually from the numbered paragraph, while retaining the same line spacing and indentation of the paragraph.

Another common use for line breaks is to start a new line that isn’t governed by any “spacing after paragraph” setting in WordPerfect or “before spacing” or “after spacing” in Word. So, for instance, if you have a single-spaced paragraph in WP that is set up to add 1.5 lines of space between paragraphs, inserting a line break will continue the single spacing, rather than inserting 1.5 lines. Similarly, if you are working with single-spaced paragraphs in Word that have been configured to add 12 points after, inserting a line break will allow you to type on the very next line, without any blank space between the lines of text.

In WordPerfect, the key combination Ctrl Shift L inserts a line break.

In Word, Shift Enter creates a line break.

A little experimentation will make it clearer how line breaks work. Soon you’ll wonder how you lived without them.

May 23, 2009 at 10:50 pm

Double-click codes to change settings (WordPerfect)

In WordPerfect, double-clicking most codes opens a dialog box that allows you to change the settings for the related feature. For instance, if you double-click a font code, the Font Properties dialog opens. If you double-click a margin code, the page setup dialog opens.

Perhaps the most useful code to double-click is the OpenStyle:DocumentStyle code at the beginning of every WordPerfect document. Comparable to the “Initial Styles” code in legacy versions of the program, the OpenStyle:DocumentStyle code determines the default settings (font, justification, line spacing, etc.) for the document. When you double-click that code, the Styles Editor opens, letting you make changes to the underlying format of the document.

Tip: If the margins of your headers and footers (or footnotes) differ from the document margins, and you want them to be the same, set the margins from within the Styles Editor rather than from within the document itself. The advantage of doing so is that the codes in the Styles Editor will affect the entire document, including “substructures” such as headers, footers, and footnotes.

But watch out: Any margin settings you insert into the document will override those in the Styles Editor.

To view the codes in order to double-click them, you’ll need to turn on Reveal Codes. The key combination to toggle Reveal Codes on and off is Alt F3. If you prefer, you can click the View menu and check (or uncheck) Reveal Codes.

More soon about manipulating the all-powerful codes in WordPerfect.

May 20, 2009 at 7:58 am

The Mighty Pilcrow (Word, All Versions)

The paragraph symbol — or, more formally, the pilcrow — is a familiar character to Word users. It stands vigilantly at the end of every paragraph like a solitary soldier keeping watch (against document corruption, perhaps?). But the pilcrow is not merely another pretty non-printing character, along with arrows that indicate tabs, dots that indicate spaces inserted with the spacebar, and funny little sun-like circles that indicate end-of-cell markers in tables. Indeed, it holds the key to understanding, and troubleshooting, document formatting in Word.

What makes the paragraph symbol so powerful is its role in Word as the keeper of the codes. Unlike in WordPerfect, the pilcrow actually contains all of the formatting instructions for the paragraph that precedes it: alignment, indents, line spacing, before and after spacing, tab settings, automatic numbering, and so on. That mysterious concept is particularly difficult for WordPerfect users to fathom, since Word has no single feature comparable to WP’s much-beloved Reveal Codes and it’s impossible to tell simply by looking at the paragraph symbol exactly what specifications it is imposing on the text. (There are several other ways to obtain that information in Word, which I will discuss later on. For now, I just want to make the point that the pilcrow has an important function. Understanding that function can help you troubleshoot and fix problem documents.)

The fact that the pilcrow stores the configuration codes for the attached paragraph has significant implications. For one thing, if you are having difficulty getting a particular paragraph to behave — let’s say its automatic numbering isn’t working like the numbering in the previous paragraph — you might be able to save the day by copying the paragraph symbol from the end of the “good” paragraph and pasting it at the end of the “bad” paragraph. (Doing so is somewhat akin to using the Format Painter, but in my experience it tends to work somewhat more reliably than the little paintbrush for unknown reasons.)

I will write more about the mighty pilcrow in the days to come.

May 17, 2009 at 4:54 pm

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© Jan Berinstein 2009-present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of one or more articles posted on this blog -- i.e., without express written permission from the blog’s author -- is strictly prohibited. You may use brief excerpts and/or links, provided that you give full, accurate, and prominent credit to Jan Berinstein, with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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To buy my first book, Formatting Legal Documents With Microsoft Office Word 2007 on Amazon.com, click this link. There is no preview of the Word 2007 book on Amazon. However, you can see a preview - or buy a slightly older version of the book - on Lulu.com by clicking the blue "Buy Now - Lulu" button.
Support independent publishing: buy this book on Lulu.

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