Archive for March, 2016

$10.00 discount on my Word 2016 book extended thru April 18

Because we all could use a break at this time of year, I’ve extended my offer of a $10.00 discount off the regular price of my new book, Formatting Legal Documents With Microsoft Word 2016, through April 18, 2016.  For information about how to obtain and apply the discount code (and purchase the book directly through CreateSpace,’s publishing unit), see this post.

Thanks in advance for your interest in my book(s)!

March 31, 2016 at 3:17 pm

Safety alert: Microsoft recalls certain Surface Pro power cords

Microsoft has recalled AC power cords for its Surface Pro, Surface Pro 2, and Surface Pro 3 computers sold before March 15, 2015 (last year). According to the May 2016 issue of Consumer Reports, the cords can overheat and cause a fire or an electric shock.

Microsoft will replace your cord for free. For a replacement, call (855) 327-7780 or fill out a form online (see this page on Microsoft’s web site).

Note that the recall affects only the models listed and only those sold before 3/15/2015. Also note that Microsoft advises not to use your current cord while waiting for the replacement.


March 31, 2016 at 1:59 pm

The Line and Paragraph Spacing drop-down menu (Word)

Training clients sometimes ask me about the Line and Paragraph Spacing drop-down in the Paragraph group on the Home tab in Word.  In all candor, I actually hadn’t noticed the drop-down until a client pointed it out to me several years ago.  That’s because I typically open the Paragraph dialog when I want to change the line and/or paragraph spacing of document text.  The Paragraph dialog, which provides access to a full range of configuration options including paragraph alignment, indentation, line spacing, before and after spacing, widow and orphan control, tab settings, and more – it’s sort of a “one-stop shop” for paragraph formatting – comes in very handy in most situations.

However, the Line and Paragraph Spacing drop-down can be useful for a few specific types of formatting.  The options are limited to a few pre-set line spacing choices; a command that opens the Paragraph dialog; and, at the very bottom, context-sensitive commands that alternate among “Remove Spacing Before,” “Add Spacing Before,” “Remove Spacing After,” and “Add Spacing After,” depending on the configuration of the paragraph your cursor is in.  The pre-set line spacing choices – 1.0, 1.15, 1.5, 2.0, 2.5, and 3.0 – aren’t particularly useful for legal documents (and where standard single and double spacing are appropriate, it’s easy to apply those options with the keyboard shortcuts Ctrl 1 and Ctrl 2).  Sometimes, though, it’s convenient to add or remove spacing before or spacing after.  And you can do so for multiple paragraphs simply by selecting / highlighting the paragraphs first.

Let’s quickly review “spacing before” and “spacing after,” since experience has taught me that even long-time Word users aren’t always sure of the meaning of those terms.  In essence, you can configure paragraphs so that they incorporate extra white space – kind of like a buffer – above and/or below them.  It’s really spacing between paragraphs, but it is created as an attribute of a paragraph, not by pressing the Enter key.  Spacing after, which is more commonly used in legal documents than spacing before, is what makes the cursor appear to skip a line when you press the Enter key after typing the text of a paragraph.  It’s as if you pressed Enter twice.

Spacing before and spacing after usually are configured in points (and usually increment by 12 points).  There are 72 points in a vertical inch, and 12 points, while not the same as true single spacing, is approximately one line.  So adding 12 points after a paragraph is like creating a blank line after that paragraph without pressing Enter.

As mentioned earlier, the options at the bottom of the Line and Paragraph Spacing drop-down change depending on the configuration of the paragraph your cursor is in.  If the paragraph already incorporates spacing before, the command in the drop-down changes from “Add Spacing Before Paragraph” to “Remove Spacing Before Paragraph.”  If the paragraph already incorporates spacing after, the command changes from “Add Spacing After Paragraph” to “Remove Spacing After Paragraph.”

When you select / highlight multiple paragraphs and choose “Add Spacing After Paragraph,” Word adds 12 points of spacing after any paragraphs that lack such space, but doesn’t affect any paragraphs that already incorporate 12 points of spacing after.  Interestingly, that option removes extra spacing from any paragraphs previously configured with more than 12 points of spacing after.  In other words, it essentially equalizes the spacing after all of the selected / highlighted paragraphs.  The “Add Spacing Before Paragraph” option works the same way – adding or removing spacing before, depending on how the paragraphs were configured prior to applying the option.

You can imagine how useful these options are for adding or removing extra space between paragraphs.  Of course you can do the same thing by selecting / highlighting paragraphs, then opening the Paragraph dialog and tweaking the spacing before and/or spacing after settings, but the Line and Paragraph Spacing drop-down on the Home tab makes it a cinch.

There are a couple of other noteworthy options that affect line and paragraph spacing.  For one, you can add or remove spacing before one or more paragraphs by using the keyboard shortcut Ctrl 0 (zero).  The shortcut is a toggle, which means that you can press it once to add space before and press it again to remove space before the paragraph your cursor is in or selected / highlighted paragraphs.  However, keep in mind that this key combination affects only spacing before.  As far as I know, there is no built-in keyboard shortcut to add / remove spacing after.

Also, you can change the spacing before and/or the spacing after directly from the Paragraph group on the Layout tab (aka Page Layout, depending on which version of Word you are using).  That works just fine, but I sometimes forget that the option exists because I usually have the Home tab at the forefront (and it seldom occurs to me to apply paragraph formatting from the tab that mainly affects page formatting).

One final comment:  When you hold the mouse pointer over the Line and Paragraph Spacing drop-down, a pop-up appears.  It describes the functionality of the drop-down and, in Word 2013 and Word 2016, adds:  “To apply the same spacing to your whole document, use the Paragraph Spacing options on the Design tab.”

I don’t recommend doing so, at least not for documents such as pleadings that are subject to stringent formatting requirements.  With the exception of the first option on the Paragraph Spacing drop-down menu on the Design tab (“No Paragraph Space,” which applies single spacing with no spacing before or after), the pre-set choices apply line spacing and/or spacing after settings that are inappropriate for most legal documents.  Those choices are as follows:

  • “Compact” – single spacing with 4 points after;
  • “Tight” – 1.15 spacing (i.e., 1.15 lines) with 6 points after;
  • “Open” – 1.15 spacing with 10 points after;
  • “Relaxed” – 1.5 spacing (i.e., 1.5 lines) with 6 points after; and
  • “Double” – double spacing, but with 8 points after.

If you are working with a document that isn’t subject to strict formatting rules, go ahead and experiment.  You might find that you like some of the options available from that menu.  But for obvious reasons, they won’t work for most California pleadings or similar documents.



March 18, 2016 at 1:19 pm

Attaching recently used files in Outlook 2016

One of my favorite new features of Outlook 2016 is the “Recent Items” drop-down that appears when you click the “Attach File” icon on the Message tab or the Insert tab in a new message window.  The drop-down lists approximately a dozen of your most recently opened and saved files, which makes it easy to attach documents that you’ve been working on within the past day or two without having to browse for them. Moreover, the list isn’t limited to Microsoft file formats (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.). As an example, my current “Recent Items” list includes Word documents, unsurprisingly, but also WordPerfect files, PDFs, and images (.png files).

After you attach a file, the icon / placeholder for the attachment appears in the message screen along with a drop-down arrow that provides access to more options.[1]  If you opened the file from a local computer drive (as opposed to a shared location), the drop-down menu includes options to remove the attachment, to print it, to open it, to save it (presumably with a different name and/or in a different folder), or to copy it.

However, if you opened the file from a shared location such as a network, OneDrive, or SharePoint, the drop-down menu includes three additional options:  “Open file location” (i.e., go to the folder where the file is stored), “Attach as copy” (as opposed to attaching the file as a link, which is the standard option that people use when it’s important that everyone view / work on the most recent version of a document), and “Change Permissions.”  The “Change Permissions” option in turn provides two choices:  “Anyone can edit” and “Anyone can view” (the latter is the equivalent of “Read-Only”).

The bottom of the Recent Items drop-down features a “Browse Web Locations” icon.  If you use OneDrive, SharePoint, or similar cloud-based services, those choices will appear when you hover over the icon.  You might see a list of recently opened folders and/or documents there, as well.

The icon at the very bottom of the Recent Items drop-down, labeled “Browse This PC…,” is a useful option of last resort for attaching one or more documents you haven’t used recently enough for them to appear in the Recent Items list.

From my experiments, I don’t think it’s possible to attach multiple documents at once from the Recent Items list.  Nevertheless, it’s a quick and easy way to attach one or more recently used or saved documents to an e-mail message. _______________________________________________________________

[1]  Another way to open the Recent Items menu is by right-clicking the icon for any document you’ve attached.

March 9, 2016 at 1:14 pm

Discount code for $10.00 off my Word 2016 book

When I first published my new book, Formatting Legal Documents With Microsoft Word 2016, Amazon imposed a 10% discount off the regular price of $41.95 – resulting in a final price of $37.76.  Within the last couple of days, Amazon removed the discount (with no notice to me).   In case the sudden change in price discouraged people from buying the book, I thought I would offer a $10.00 discount (i.e., more than 20% off the regular price) – at least through the end of March.  That brings the price down to $31.95!

In order to use the code (which I’ll provide momentarily), you’ll need to buy the book directly from CreateSpace, Amazon’s publishing unit, rather than from  The CreateSpace page for the book is located here: Formatting Legal Documents With Microsoft Word 2016 on CreateSpace

To apply the discount, first click the “Add to Cart” button.  Then enter the code in the box marked “Apply Discount,” click the “Apply Discount” button, and then click “Check Out.”  But before you check out, calculate the total cost – including the shipping fees – to determine whether it’s a better deal than buying the book through, where you sometimes can make purchases without paying shipping fees.  (I have no control over the shipping fees that CreateSpace and Amazon charge.)  If you’re buying more than one copy of the book, it’s probably more economical through CreateSpace.  Still, run the math just to make sure.

Here’s the discount code:  FXSVRGP6

I don’t believe it’s case-sensitive, but I’m not 100% certain.  If you copy the code from this post and paste it into the “Apply Discount” box, it should work fine.

Again, I’ll probably make the discount available at least through the end of March.

Thanks in advance for your support!

March 8, 2016 at 9:57 am 1 comment

Restoring the pleading paper if it disappears when you use “Different First Page” (Word)

In order to “suppress” the page number on the caption page of a pleading, people commonly open the footer editing screen and apply the “Different First Page” option from the Header & Footer Tools tab.  That option makes it easy to create a footer (or header) on the first page that is substantively different from the footer (or header) in the rest of the document – in this case, one that lacks a page number code.

However, choosing the “Different First Page” option can cause the pleading lines and numbers to disappear. That is because the coding for the pleading paper is contained in the paragraph mark within the header, which gets wiped out (replaced with a different paragraph mark that doesn’t contain such coding) when “Different First Page” is enabled.

If that happens to you, immediately click “Undo” (or press Ctrl Z, the keyboard shortcut for Undo) and then do as follows:

  1. Go into the header editing screen on the first page of your document by either double-clicking in the white space near the top of the page or right-clicking, then choosing “Edit Header.”
  2. Display the non-printing characters (Show / Hide) by clicking the Paragraph icon in the Paragraph group on the Home tab or by pressing Ctrl Shift * [asterisk].
  3. Select and copy the first paragraph mark (pilcrow) in the header. That paragraph mark contains the formatting codes for the header, including the graphics (pleading lines and numbering).  If you have difficulty grabbing the paragraph mark with your mouse, press Ctrl A to select the entire header, then press Ctrl C to copy.
  4. Next, click to check (enable) the “Different First Page” option.
  5. Don’t panic if the pleading paper disappears. Instead, simply paste the paragraph mark back into the header. Be sure to use a standard paste – using Ctrl V or “Keep Source Formatting” – rather than “Paste and Keep Text Only.” Although I generally advise people to use “Paste and Keep Text Only” in order to avoid bringing unwanted formatting into your document, in this situation you want to retain the formatting of the pleading paper (the vertical lines and line numbers). Pasting the paragraph mark should restore the pleading paper, at least on that page. If there is another paragraph mark in the header, delete it.
  6. Scroll through the rest of the pleading to see if the pleading paper disappeared anywhere else when you applied the “Different First Page” option. If so, go into the header at the top of any page that doesn’t have pleading paper and paste the paragraph mark.

When you’ve finished, you can proceed to “suppress” the page number on the first page of your pleading – by deleting the page number code – and use a separate footer that displays the page number in the remainder of the document.


Adapted from my book, Formatting Legal Documents With Microsoft Word 2016 (click the link to go to the book’s page on Amazon).

March 2, 2016 at 10:41 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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