Archive for March, 2010

Formatting Legal Documents With MS Word 2010 book coming soon!

Update as of 1/12/2012: The book, which I published at the end of May, 2010, is available on Amazon.com at this URL and on Lulu.com at this URL. Remember that it’s 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.

My new book, Formatting Legal Documents With Microsoft Word 2010, is progressing well and should be available around the time that Microsoft officially releases Office 2010.  (The suite is slated for release to businesses on May 12 and to individuals about a month later; I’m hoping to publish the book sometime around the middle of May, though it could be early June, depending on a variety of circumstances.)  I plan to list the book on both Lulu and Amazon; it might take slightly longer for the book to be available via Amazon.  I’ll keep you-all posted.

Already more than 100 pages longer than the Word 2007 book I published last year, the forthcoming book explores in detail the features that are new in Word 2010 or that have changed in significant respects since Word 2007.   Moreover, I’ve added a substantial amount of material that wasn’t in the first book — including tutorials about creating / printing envelopes and labels — and have expanded on (and, in some cases, clarified) several existing sections.  Based in part on feedback from people who have purchased the Word 2007 book, I have incorporated a number of additional tips and workarounds.  I’ve also inserted more screenshots to make it easier for people who are visually oriented to follow the text instructions.

If you have some constructive suggestions about specific features, shortcuts, workarounds, or tips you’d like me to cover in the Word 2010 book, drop me a note at the compusavvy2 AT earthlink DOT net address.  I’ll take your ideas under advisement, as the saying goes, and will try to implement the best ones.

Keep checking for updates.

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March 31, 2010 at 3:01 pm

Creating an index in WordPerfect (recent versions)

Note: This post outlines the basics of creating an index in WordPerfect. It applies primarily to WordPerfect X3 and X4; I haven’t tested in WP X5, which was just released, but presumably the steps described below work in that version, as well.

There are a couple of different ways to create an index in WordPerfect. One involves automatically generating a separate Concordance file, which is a list of every word in your document (you can limit the Concordance to “major” words, but even so… a Concordance usually is best for shorter documents). The other involves manually searching for, selecting, and marking various “important” words in your document and then defining and generating an Index on a separate page within the document. Although the second method is significantly more tedious and time-consuming than the first method, it gives you much more control over the words that appear in the Index, and it less prone to errors than generating a Concordance file. (This post does not provide instructions for creating a Concordance.)

To create an Index, first set aside a blank page (usually at the end of your document or Master document). After creating any headings you desire for the top of the Index page or pages, position the cursor where you want the first entry to appear. Click Tools > Reference > Index, and click the Define button.

This step, similar to defining a Table of Contents, allows you to tweak the page numbering format of your Index if necessary (i.e., if you want it to use a method that is different from that of the rest of the document). You can also change the style for Headings and Subheadings from this dialog. However, if you don’t do so at this point, never fear – you will have an opportunity to change the styles after you have generated the Index (by double-clicking the codes).

Unless you wish to make any changes, simply click the “OK” button. You should see “[[Index will generate here]]” (ordinarily those words appear within chevrons; the chevrons don’t show up properly in WordPress, so I am using regular brackets instead) at the cursor position. This bracketed phrase is just a placeholder, indicating that you have inserted Definition and Generate codes for the index; be careful not to delete them.

Many people set up Indexes so that they are formatted as columns, rather than stretching across an entire page. If you wish to do so, position the cursor where you want the first entry to appear, then click Format > Columns, select the number of columns you wish (2 or 3), and click OK. Note that you will not change the column style from Newspaper (“snaking”) columns to Parallel, as you do in most legal docs, because in the case of an index, you want the alphabetical entries to wrap around on the same page when you reach the bottom of a column.

Next, you need to go through the document and mark terms you want to appear in the Index. This is the most painstaking part of the entire process. Once you have found a term you want to mark, select the term, click Tools > Reference > Index, and, if the term is a Heading, click the “Mark” button. If the term is a Subheading, you must either select a heading from the Heading drop-down list or type a new one. Once you do, the term should appear in the Subheading box, and you can click the “Mark” button.

If you don’t think the term you’ve selected is quite right for your Heading or Subheading, you can type a different term in the appropriate box. Just be sure to apply that term consistently throughout the document.

After you have marked a Heading or Subheading, press F2 or click Edit > Find and Replace to search for additional instances of the term in your document. When you find them, position the cursor somewhere within the word, click Tools > Reference > Index, use the drop-down list to locate the applicable Heading or Subheading, and click the “Mark” button. This process is similar to the process of marking case and code citations in a pleading for a Table of Authorities.

Continue marking terms for the Index. When you are ready to Generate, you can click Tools > Reference > Index, Generate or simply press Alt Shift F5, either of which will generate all of the tables in your document simultaneously.

If, after the Index generates, you want to change the style for the Headings or Subheadings, simply press Alt F3 to turn on Reveal Codes, then navigate to and double-click the appropriate code in the document. That will open the Styles Editor. When it appears, you can make changes (for instance, clicking Italics or Bold so that Headings are italicized or bolded and stand out from the rest of the text). After you tweak the style, remember to click “OK” to save your changes.

If you haven’t set up the Index in columns, you can do so at this point. Just be sure to position the cursor at the top of the page, ahead of the other codes, before configuring the columns.

It’s pretty simple, once you’ve got the hang of the basics. The hardest part is combing through the document to find and mark the terms you want to appear in the Index.

March 28, 2010 at 3:00 pm

Preventing / Cleaning Up Document Corruption (WP Users)

Note: This article primarily addresses WordPerfect users, although some of the advice applies regardless of which word processing program you use. Sometime in the next few weeks, I will add a post with similar tips specifically for Word users.

Document corruption is an inevitable fact of technological life. It can result from problems with Windows, a faulty hard drive or other hardware, defective computer memory, power surges, errors during the “Save” process, improper shutdown of the computer, and other glitches and malfunctions.

Although you can’t necessarily avoid corruption entirely, there are a number of ways to minimize its likelihood — and its impact. I’ve provided a few pointers below (including a couple that might seem obvious, but bear repeating), along with some fairly reliable methods for cleaning up corrupted documents. I can’t guarantee that they will work in all cases, but they could prove invaluable.

PREVENTION

The old saying rings true: It’s always preferable to take a few small, pro-active steps to keep things from breaking than to have to try to figure out how to put them back together after they’ve broken. Most of these preventive measures require very little effort, time, or money.

1. Back up / save files frequently and keep copies off site.

2. Save sequential versions of files (draft 1, draft 2, draft 3, etc.). Make copies and keep them off site and/or on at least one other machine (possibly a laptop computer owned by the firm) as well as an external hard drive, USB drive, etc.

3. Avoid “round-tripping” documents between WordPerfect and Word, a well-known cause of corruption.

4. Break long documents into master- and sub-documents (long documents tend to corrupt more easily than shorter ones, especially if they are also complex and contain lots of graphics, styles, tables, etc.).[1]

5. Use an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) to help keep voltage stable.

6. Avoid (disable) write-caching, also known as write-behind and write-back caching.[2]

CLEANUP / SALVAGING CORRUPTED FILES

Before attempting any of the methods listed here, be sure to back up the problematic file by saving it under a new name.

1. Download and run the WPLOOK.EXE utility, which is designed to strip out corruption from WordPerfect documents. You can obtain WPLOOK from the WordPerfect 10 FTP site.

For detailed instructions on how to use WPLOOK, see Laura Acklen’s first-rate article, which you can find by clicking this link.

Note that the utility, while designed for WP 10, can be used with documents created in all recent versions of WordPerfect. It is important to run the utility at least three times, even if it reports no corruption.

You can run WPLOOK on a corrupted default template, too. Be sure to make a backup copy of the template first and also be sure to exit out of WordPerfect before running the template through WPLOOK.

2. Try the “X-retrieve” method, which removes corruption from file “prefixes” (a hidden portion of the document containing instructions about formatting). Inserting the file into a document that contains one character normally strips the file prefix, which often remedies the problem.

• First, make sure the affected file is not open. Then, in a blank document screen, type an “X” (or any character).

• Next, click the Insert menu, File, and browse to the problem file. Click Insert.

• With the file open, backspace over the X.

• Click File, Save As, and give the file a new name.

• Test to see if the corruption is still present.

3. If you can navigate through the file (perhaps up to a certain portion of the document where corruption causes the cursor to skip), copy as much as possible, then use Edit, Paste Special, Unformatted Text to paste the uncorrupted parts of the document into a blank document screen. You could also try selecting the entire document and using Paste Special to try to paste into a blank document. You might end up having to re-create part of the original document, but you should be able to salvage at least a good chunk of it.

4. Try opening the file (either with File > Open or with Insert > File) in QuattroPro, a spreadsheet program that comes with most versions of WordPerfect Office.

5. If the default template is corrupted, close out of WordPerfect, search for the default template, rename it (don’t delete it – in case you have made any customizations to toolbars and/or keyboards, which are stored in the default template). Then re-launch WordPerfect. The program will generate a new default template, which could solve the problem(s).

RESOURCES

There is an extensive discussion of the WPLOOK utility on the WordPerfect Universe site.

See also this FAQ on the WPUniverse site that deals with repairing corrupted files.

Barry MacDonnell has written an excellent (and logically organized)–if quite lengthy–article about repairing WordPerfect files.

Another article on Barry’s site deals with repairing bad program files, rather than individual corrupted documents.

And yet another article discusses the two different types of backups available in WordPerfect and provides links to a couple of macros that make automatic backups a trivial matter.

__________________________________________________________________
[1] For step-by-step instructions on creating master- and sub-documents, see Laura Acklen’s tutorial on that topic on the Corel web site.

[2] For a useful, if somewhat disorganized, discussion of document corruption – including instructions on disabling write caching – see this thread on WordPerfect Universe. Special thanks to WPU superstars (and WP gurus) Barry MacDonnell, Roy Lewis (aka “lemoto”), and Charles Rossiter for compiling most of the tips in this thread.

March 21, 2010 at 4:01 pm

My book is still available

**UPDATE as of 1:30 p.m. PST: The book is again listed as “Available,” thanks to Lulu’s quick intervention. At this point, you should be able to purchase it directly from Amazon (via this link), as usual.**

Not sure why Amazon periodically states that my book, Formatting Legal Documents With Microsoft Office Word 2007, isn’t available. It’s a print-on-demand publication, which means that it’s always available. I’ve contacted Lulu (the printer) to get them to correct the Amazon listing ASAP.

In the meantime, you can buy the book directly from Lulu by visiting the book’s Lulu page.

I apologize for the inconvenience.

Meanwhile, I am busy working on a similar book that covers Word 2010, which should be out around the middle or end of May (or possibly early June). I’m adding lots of fresh material, including extensive information about the new features in Word 2010 (the Backstage View, the Navigation Pane, Co-Authoring, new paste options, and more), as well as sections on features I didn’t cover in the Word 2007 book (for instance, how to set up / create mailing labels and print envelopes). In addition, I’m expanding various existing portions of the book to include more detailed step-by-step explanations.

Lots of good stuff to come.

And by the way, thanks again to all of you who have bought the Word 2007 book and have given me such great reviews on Amazon and in private e-mails. I appreciate both your patronage and your kindness.

March 11, 2010 at 10:33 am

Promoting or Demoting Numbered Paragraphs (Word 2007 and Word 2010)

When you are using either an outline-numbered list or a simple list, you can change the level of a numbered paragraph in several different ways. All involve increasing or decreasing the indent of the paragraph.

Note that increasing the indent of a numbered paragraph often is referred to as “demoting” a paragraph level (since it creates a subordinate paragraph), while decreasing the indent of a numbered paragraph often is referred to as “promoting” a paragraph level (since it creates a superordinate paragraph).

One easy way to promote or demote a numbered paragraph is by using the “Decrease Indentbutton or the “Increase Indentbutton in the top row of the Paragraph group in the Home tab. Assuming you are using automatic paragraph numbering of some sort, that method should work 100% of the time. Each time you press the button, Word promotes or demotes the paragraph your cursor is in one more level.

Another method to change a paragraph’s level is by using the Tab key (to demote the paragraph) or Shift Tab (to promote it). Note, however, that this method won’t work unless your copy of Word is configured so that the Tab key sets indents. This feature can be enabled or disabled in Word 2007 by clicking the Office button, Word Options, Proofing, AutoCorrect Options…, AutoFormat As You Type, and either checking or unchecking the box next to “Set left- and first-indent with tabs and backspaces,” then clicking OK to save your changes. (In Word 2010, click the File tab, Options, Proofing, AutoCorrect Options…, AutoFormat As You Type, and then check or uncheck “Set left- and first-indent with tabs and backspaces.” Be sure to click OK to save your changes.)

CAUTION: When this option is enabled, pressing the Tab key turns a regular left tab into an automatic first-line indent. When that happens, you can’t simply get rid of the tab by pressing the Backspace key. Rather, you need to go into the Paragraph dialog, navigate to “Special,” change “First line indent” to “(none)” (i.e., no indent), and OK out of the dialog. If you would rather that the Tab key work as it does in other programs, don’t enable this option.

If you choose not to enable “Set left and first indents with tabs and backspaces,” you can use a different keyboard shortcut to promote and demote numbered paragraphs: Alt Shift ← (left arrow key) to promote or Alt Shift → (right arrow key) to demote.

There’s a fourth method: Right-click in or near the automatic number code for the paragraph you wish to promote or demote, then click the “Decrease Indent” or “Increase Indent” command. This method can be somewhat tricky; occasionally, Word changes the indents of all paragraphs that are the same level as the one you are attempting to promote or demote.

March 7, 2010 at 8:19 pm


© 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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