Archive for November, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving 2015 – and thanks to you!

Best wishes to all of you for a lovely and restful Thanksgiving.  May you experience the comforts of home, hearth, family, good friends, and a pleasurable repast – and may you never lack those comforts.

On this day when we contemplate the things, tangible and intangible, for which we are thankful, I want to extend special thanks to you:

My wonderful, inimitable friends and family;

My loyal (and often thought-provoking – in the best possible way!) training and consulting clients;

My delightful trainees (who also keep me on my toes);

My colleagues, many of whom are also dear friends;

The folks at the larger training companies who (to my ever-lasting gratitude) continue to provide me with interesting and enjoyable training gigs;

The amazing IT people and in-house trainers who make my work significantly easier – and sometimes send me clients;

Those of you who have bought one or more of my books; and

My faithful blog readers, of course!

(I hope I haven’t forgotten anyone…  if so, it was entirely inadvertent.)

I am incredibly appreciative of your support, assistance, kindness, humor, patience, and constructive criticism over the years.  You are the best!

November 26, 2015 at 10:44 am

Reassigning Ctrl O to “File Open” in Word 2013 and Word 2016

In a recent blog post, I provided instructions for bypassing the so-called Backstage view (i.e., the File tab’s Open screen / menu) when opening a file with Word 2013 or Word 2016.  I suggested using the keyboard shortcut Ctrl F12, which takes you directly to the Open dialog in Windows.  That keyboard shortcut comes in handy because in the latest versions of Word, Ctrl O, the once-standard keyboard shortcut for “Open File,” doesn’t work the same way as in previous versions. Rather than producing the Windows Open dialog, it takes a detour through the Backstage view.  (But note:  If you click File, Options, click the “Save” category, and uncheck “Don’t show the backstage when opening or saving Files,” then click OK, Word automatically reassigns Ctrl O to “Open File.”  That step also changes how the Open icon on the Quick Access Toolbar works so that it, too, goes directly to the Open dialog in Windows.)

I thought it might be useful to write a follow-up post that walks people through the process of reassigning the Ctrl O keyboard shortcut in Word 2013 / Word 2016 so that it behaves as it did (does) in older versions.  Here are the steps:

  • Click the File tabOptions, and when the Word dialog opens, click the Customize Ribbon category at left.
  • Toward the bottom left side of the Word dialog, you’ll see an item labeled “Keyboard shortcuts:  Customize…”  Click the “Customize… button.  The Customize Keyboard dialog will open.
  • At the left side of the Customize Keyboard dialog, under “Categories,” File Tab should be highlighted.
  • Navigate to the right side of the dialog, under “Commands.” Scroll down to FileOpen and click it. [1]   When you click FileOpen, you might notice that some keyboard shortcuts already have been assigned to the command.  (If so, they appear in the “Current keys: box at left.)
  • Click in the “Press new shortcut key” box and press and hold the Ctrl key, then tap the letter O.  (Be careful to press the letter O, not a zero.)
  • Note the message below the “Current keys” box: “Currently assigned to:  FileOpenUsingBackstage.” (This is essentially a warning in case you didn’t realize that the key combination you chose is already assigned to another feature or function.  If you want to retain the original assignment to that other feature or function, you can select a different key combination.)
  • OPTIONAL STEP: Note the “Save changes in” drop-down at the lower left side of the dialog box.  By default, Word will save your keyboard reassignment to the NORMAL template (the one that affects the formatting of a new blank document).  If you have created your own templates and wish to reassign keyboard shortcuts within one of your own templates, you can click the “Save changes in” drop-down and choose a different template.
  • The “Assign” button is now active (no longer grayed out). To proceed with the key reassignment, click the button.
  • Click Close, then be sure to click OK to save your new shortcut.  CAUTION:  If you click the red “X” in the upper right corner to close the Word Options dialog, Word will not save your configuration changes!

Now Ctrl O should bypass the Backstage view and go directly to the Open dialog in Windows.  And now you know how to create your own custom keyboard shortcuts![2]


[1] The item immediately below FileOpen, which is labeled FileOpenUsingBackstage, is the command to which the keyboard shortcut Ctrl O is assigned by default in Word 2013 and 2016.  If you click that command, you will see Ctrl O listed in the “Current keys” box at left.

[2] The trickiest aspect of customizing keyboard shortcuts in Word is figuring out the command names that Microsoft uses for features and functions.  “FileOpen” is pretty straightforward, but for many other commands, intensive brainstorming and/or the patience for seemingly endless scrolling will be required.

November 26, 2015 at 1:23 am 1 comment

Word: What are “points,” anyway?

One of the line spacing options in Word is “Exactly” line spacing, which almost always is configured in points.  In my experience, although many people have heard the term “points,” few have a clear understanding of what it means.

In typography, a point (abbreviated “pt”) is a fixed unit of measurement representing the height of the characters.  (Some of you might know that the term “pitch” represents the width of the characters.)

There are 72 points in an inch.  Twelve (12) points – 1/6 of an inch – is approximately one line.  However, text to which Exactly 12 points line spacing has been applied is more compressed vertically (i.e., more “squished”) than single-spaced text created with the same font.  Likewise, text to which Exactly 24 points line spacing has been applied is more compressed vertically than double-spaced text created with the same font.[1]

You can test for yourself.  Type two short paragraphs that are at least two lines long.  Apply single spacing to one of the paragraphs and Exactly 12 spacing to the other.  Can you see a difference in terms of the height of the characters and how much white space exists between the lines of the paragraphs?  It is even more noticeable if you apply double spacing to one of the paragraphs and Exactly 24 to the other.

When should you use points (i.e., “Exactly” line spacing)?  Typically, you’ll use points only in pleadings (litigation documents) where the text is supposed to align with line numbers embedded in the left margin.  This is a standard requirement for California pleadings (including documents filed in Federal District Court in California), as well as for pleadings in certain other jurisdictions.

For letters, contracts, estate documents, and the like, simple single and double spacing usually work fine.  (However, if you are comfortable working with styles, you might want to create a style that uses single line spacing plus 12 points of After spacing.  Or you can change the default line spacing to single spacing plus 12 points of After spacing.[2]  The 12 points After spacing adds a line of white space after the text of a paragraph so that you can press Enter once, rather than twice, to start a new paragraph two lines below.)

NOTE:  The ideal setup for a California pleading template, in my opinion, involves line numbers that use Exactly 24 point line spacing.  When Exactly 24 point line spacing has been applied to the line numbers, you need to use Exactly 24 points – not actual Double Spacing – for  any “pleading double spaced” paragraphs (my term) and Exactly 12 points – not actual Single Spacing – for any “pleading single spaced” paragraphs (again, my term).

Don’t assume that Exactly 24 points / Exactly 12 points will always work; the spacing of the pleading line numbers can vary from document to document, especially if you are working with pleadings obtained from different organizations.  To determine the correct setting for line spacing (in points) in a specific pleading, you must go into the document’s header, right-click within the pleading line numbers, choose “Paragraph,” and make note of the line spacing – that is, the number of points displayed under Spacing, Line spacing, Exactly.  Your “pleading double spacing” must match that figure; your “pleading single spacing” must be half of the figure.  (Word usually rounds up to the first decimal place, so if your pleading line numbers are set at Exactly 22.75 points and you configure your “pleading single spacing” to be 11.375 points, Word probably will change that figure to 11.4.)

See my blog post, Aligning text with pleading line numbers, for a fuller discussion of this issue.


[1]  For a more in-depth discussion about points, line spacing, and paragraph spacing, see my blog post “Understanding line and paragraph spacing in Word”.  Note that even that post provides a somewhat simplified overview of typographical concepts, which are highly complex.

[2] To do so, open the Paragraph dialog, set the line spacing to Single and the After spacing to 12 pt – making sure that the Before spacing is set to 0 (zero) – and then click the “Set As Default” button at the bottom of the Paragraph dialog.  Word will prompt you to make the setting the default only in the current document or in the template that the document is based on.  Do think twice before changing the default setting in the underlying template.  That might or might not be a desirable outcome.

November 16, 2015 at 4:50 pm 1 comment

© 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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