Archive for July, 2010

Changing the default document settings in WordPerfect

Some of you might recall that in WordPerfect for DOS, there is a code at the very top of each document known as “Initial Codes.” That code contains all of the formatting instructions for the document: margins, line spacing, font, justification, and so forth. You could edit the Initial Codes and choose to apply the changes (1) only to the current document or (2) to all future documents. Applying the changes to all future documents made those settings the new defaults — i.e., it modified WordPerfect’s default template (the equivalent of the NORMAL template in MS Word).

This capability also exists in Windows versions of WordPerfect, but what was once known as “Initial Codes” is now called the “Open Style: Document Style” code. It’s easy to edit. Just turn on Reveal Codes, either by pressing Alt F3 or by clicking the View menu, Reveal Codes; navigate to the top of the document; and then double-click the code. Doing so will open the Styles Editor. From within the Styles Editor, you can use menu commands, drop-downs for the font face and font size, and toolbar buttons to change various formatting options. (Note, incidentally, that there are “spinner” arrows at the right side of the Styles Editor toolbar; clicking the Down arrow produces a second row of commands.)

An alternate way to open the Styles Editor is by clicking the File menu, Document, Current Document Style.

Changing the Formatting of the Current Document or of All Future Documents

As with Initial Codes, you can use the Styles Editor to make changes only to the current document or to all future documents. After you’ve tweaked the settings, if you simply click “OK” without doing anything else, the new settings will take effect only in the current document. However, if you click the “Save as default” checkbox at the lower right-hand side of the Styles Editor dialog before clicking “OK,” your formatting changes will affect all new documents. In other words, checking the box is a quick way to modify your default template.[1]

Either way, the settings you tweak from within the Styles Editor are stored in the OpenStyle: DefaultStyle code.

Settings in the OpenStyle: Default Style Code Affect Both the Document and Its “Substructures”

An important point about how the OpenStyle: DefaultStyle code works. The settings stored there, such as document margins, affect the entire document, including “substructures” (headers, footers, and footnotes). For example, if you use the Styles Editor to make the left and right margins .5″, the left and right margins of the document text — as well as of any headers, footers, and footnotes in the document — will be .5″.

Manual Formatting Changes Within the Document Affect Only the Document, Not the Substructures

When you manually change formatting, such as margin settings, within the document, those additional codes will override some, but not all, of the settings in the OpenStyle: DefaultStyle code. For instance, the codes you insert into the document — let’s say you change the left and right margins to 1″ — will affect the margins of the body of the document from the cursor position forward, but will not affect the margins of the substructures (headers, footers, and footnotes).

Which Codes Take Precedence?

In general, manual formatting codes that affect the body of the document take precedence over codes in the OpenStyle: DocumentStyle code. Codes you insert manually at the cursor position typically become operational from that point on (until you insert new, countervailing codes). So, for instance, you can use the Format menu, Margins to change the left and right margins for a small portion of the document, then change them back, and those changes will affect the text in that specific part of the document, overriding the settings in the OpenStyle: DocumentStyle code.

However, there are exceptions to this rule. Specifically, the settings in the OpenStyle: DocumentStyle still govern the substructures, which means that the margins of the headers, footers, and footnotes (if any) will remain the same as before, regardless of any margin changes you make manually within the document. The same is true of other formatting attributes such as line spacing, font face, font size, etc.

NOTE: The formatting of substructures such as headers, footers, and footnotes is determined by the underlying styles for each of those elements. If you modify the style of one of the substructures in a way that conflicts with the settings in the OpenStyle:DocumentStyle code, the modified style takes precedence.

This idea — that every new document contains certain formatting defaults that you can override manually at any point in the document (and other defaults that are determined by the OpenStyle: Document Style code or by styles, and therefore are not affected by manually applied codes) — makes sense when you think about it. And, in fact, it’s how Word works, too, though Word’s terminology is somewhat different and you can’t modify settings in Word by double-clicking hidden codes.

Summary

To sum up:

Most document formatting defaults are stored in the OpenStyle: DocumentStyle code at the top of the document. These defaults derive from the underlying default template. They affect both the body of the document and its “substructures” (headers, footers, and footnotes).

You can override some of the codes in the OpenStyle: DocumentStyle code — mainly those that affect the document itself, not those that affect the substructures — by inserting formatting codes in the document.

To change the formatting of the substructures, you need to do one of two things: either (1) tweak the settings from within the Styles Editor; or (2) modify the underlying style(s) for one or more of those substructures.

I’ll explain how to modify an existing WordPerfect style in a future post.

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[1] There are other ways to modify the default template in WordPerfect, which I won’t go into here. For the time being, I’ll just mention that the default template in WordPerfect goes by the name WPNNXX.WPT, where “NN” stands for the WordPerfect version number, such as 9, 12, or 15, and “XX” stands for the country or language code, such as US, UK, OZ (Australia), CE (Canadian English), FR, etc. For a lengthy discussion about the default template (and other templates), visit the Templates page on Barry MacDonnell’s WP Toolbox site, located here.

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July 25, 2010 at 11:56 am

Generating pleading paper with the pleading macro in WordPerfect

All versions of WordPerfect since 1992 have included a pleading paper macro. It is very easy to use.

The simplest way to run the macro is via the Legal Toolbar.[1] If you don’t display that toolbar as a matter of course, you can open it by clicking the View menu, Toolbars, checking “Legal” (you might have to scroll down to locate it in the list), and clicking “OK.” The icon for the pleading macro is the first one at the left side of the Legal Toolbar — unless you are using a very old version of WordPerfect, in which case it might be the second icon from the left.

Clicking the icon invokes the “Pleading Paper” dialog. You can tinker with the margins and other formatting from this dialog before running the macro; you also have the option of changing the formatting after you generate the pleading paper. Typically, the only formatting options I tweak prior to running the macro are the settings for left and right margins (both are set by default to 1″). To change the margins, click the “Margins” button, then use measurements appropriate for your jurisdiction. For California, I set the left margin at 1.5″ and the right margin at .5″; your state and local rules might dictate different settings.

Note as well the “Stop number,” which is the last line number that will appear at the left side of each page of the pleading paper. The default is 28. Because California uses 28 numbered lines, I never change that number, but again, you might need to use a different setting depending on your jurisdiction.

Even though I often have to change the bottom margin (i.e., make it smaller) to accommodate the pleading footer that is required by the Judicial Council, I don’t change the margin before running the macro. The reason is that doing so could alter the distance between the line numbers when the pleading paper generates, possibly making it difficult to align the text with the line numbers. By contrast, if I leave the top and bottom margins set at the default of 1″, the text usually aligns perfectly with the line numbers — requiring only slight manipulation if I need to switch between single-spaced quotes and double-spaced body text.

Once you have changed the left and right margins, click “OK” to save your settings, then click “OK” a second time to generate the pleading paper. In recent versions of WP, the line spacing in the body of the generated pleading is set at double. To change that to single spacing for the attorney name, firm information, and case caption, leave the cursor at the very top of the document and simply press Ctrl 1 (if you use the Windows keyboard; Ctrl 1 doesn’t work with the DOS-compatible keyboard) or click Format, Line, Spacing, 1, OK.

At this point, you might be wondering, “Why not just change the line spacing to 1 before running the pleading macro?” Good question! The answer is that if you do so, the line numbers in the left margin of the pleading paper, as well as the text of the pleading, will end up single-spaced. Thus it’s better to adjust the line spacing (and the bottom margin) after generating the pleading paper.

If you prefer, you can run the pleading macro by clicking the Tools menu, Macro, Play, and, when the Play Macro dialog appears, double-clicking the macro labeled “Pleading.” Then follow the steps outlined above for configuring and running the macro.

Note that you can re-run the pleading macro — and modify the settings — at any time. So if you inadvertently change, or fail to change, a particular setting the first time you invoke the macro, just run it a second time, using your preferred settings. The newly generated paper will overwrite the previous draft.

Recent versions of WordPerfect also come with a utility called the “Pleading Expert Designer,” which you can use to fill in the court information, set up a case caption, and insert a document name and other such details. (It works something like Word’s Pleading Wizard.) I’ll explain how to use the Pleading Expert Designer in a subsequent post.

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[1] The Legal Toolbar is a handy device. It also displays icons for working with a Table of Contents and a Table of Authorities, for inserting redlining and/or strikeout marks, for comparing document drafts, for adding a watermark, for applying an outline or automatic paragraph numbering, and for saving a document without metadata. In addition, there’s a button for saving in EDGAR format (I haven’t used this feature, so I’m not sure how — or how well — it works).

July 18, 2010 at 1:21 pm


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