Office 2016 Preview

Interested in what the next version of Office has to offer?  Feeling a bit daring? Microsoft is offering a free preview of Office 2016 to all users.

What’s New in Office 2016

Check out this post from CRN highlighting 10 New Features That Will Turn Partners’ Heads:

  1. Enhanced document sharing, with prompts that discourage attachments and encourage links to content stored in SharePoint or OneDrive.  [Benefit: protects recipients from attachments that could be infected; ensures that recipients are accessing the latest version of a document.]
  2. Google Docs co-editing comes to Word. [Benefit: allows remote teams to collaborate real-time.]
  3. Improved help with “Tell Me.”  [Benefit:  any time you need help type your question in natural language into the “Tell Me” box and get answers immediately.]
  4. Create Work Groups within Outlook.  [Benefit:  “keep tabs on group activity, access conversation history, and manage files and group notes stored on OneDrive.”]
  5. Sway – a new alternative to PowerPoint [Benefit: supports drag and drop of Web content – including YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook, into a browser/smart device app.]
  6. Excel on steroids, now with Power Query [Benefit: allows users to import and aggregate data from multiple public sources like Wikipedia and data.gov and create data visualizations – think infographics.]
  7. Improved menus across Office – open, close, save, browse, and add attachments in fewer steps [Benefit: more straightforward navigation, less hassle.]
  8. A new way to tame your inbox?  Microsoft’s Office 2016 Clutter tool analyzes inbox workflow and automatically moves messages you are most likely to ignore into a clutter folder [Benefit: ignore email faster than before!]
  9. Upgraded security features allowing IT personnel and administrators to set “data loss protection policies.”  [Benefit: adds file-level encryption; permits IT staff to restrict delivery of files, prevent manipulation of content, or store data in a “Customer Lockbox.”]
  10. Improved click-to-run.  [Benefit: strictly about making life easier for IT personnel in network environments.]

Bypassing the “Backstage view” When Launching Word 2013

beverlym:

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Customize your view in Word 2013 in a few easy steps – more good tips from CompuSavvy.

Originally posted on CompuSavvy's Word & WordPerfect Tips:

Whether you are upgrading from an earlier version of Word or moving straight from WordPerfect to Word 2013, you’ll notice fairly quickly the rather unusual way the program handles basic tasks, including common file-management functions such as opening and saving documents.[1]  But even before you open or save a document, you’ll experience a dramatic difference from the way most Windows programs work.  Indeed, the very first time you launch Word 2013, you’ll encounter what Microsoft refers to as the “Backstage view” (and what I like to call “the File menu on steroids”), the screen that ordinarily appears when you click the File tab in modern versions of Microsoft Office.  That is because unlike most Windows programs, Word 2013 typically opens not to a new blank document but to the Backstage view.[2]

Even long-term users of Word might be perplexed by the Word 2013 “start screen.”  How do you…

View original 1,105 more words

Adobe Acrobat DC

It is no secret to followers that I consider Acrobat to be the gold standard for PDF conversion and manipulation. I use it on a daily basis to insert, move, bookmark, and delete pages; edit and insert text and objects; remove metadata; redact; OCR; and much more.  


Since eCourt became mandatory in circuit court last year, the need for quality, comprehensive PDF software is more critical. (Mandatory appellate eFiling begins June 1.)


The New Kid on the Block 


Recently Adobe launched Adobe Acrobat DC, referring to “Document Cloud.”  This was a bit startling, as the name led some to believe that Adobe had switched to a cloud-only version of Acrobat.  Let’s set the record straight.


DC refers to a set of optional cloud services attached to Acrobat.  Here is an explanation of DC from Rick Borstein, author of the Acrobat for Legal Professionals blog:


Read more here.


eSigning

There is at least one reason you might want to consider using the DC part of Adobe Acrobat DC:

 

Learn more about electronic signatures here.

[All rights reserved 2015 Beverly Michaelis]

60 Sites in 60 Minutes – 2015 TECHSHOW

Yesterday I presented a compilation of the popular 60 Apps in 60 Minutes (iOS edition).  Today’s post is dedicated to 60 Sites in 60 Minutes – another excellent presentation from the 2015 ABA TECHSHOW.

As before, thank you to the helper monkeys at Storify for helping me to share these sites from Brett Burney, Mark Unger, Dennis Kennedy, Hon. Herbert Dixon, and Debbie Foster.

Access the 60 Sites in 60 Minutes compilation here or click on the image below:

60sitesin60

Looking for everything TECHSHOW – the good, the bad, and the ugly?  Check out my #tagboard. All Rights Reserved [2015] Beverly Michaelis

 

60 Apps in 60 Minutes – 2015 TECHSHOW

60 Apps in 60 Minutes is always a popular presentation at the ABA TECHSHOW.  This year, I used Storify to cultivate the top apps recommended for iOS devices by the esteemed Jeff Richardson, Joe Bahgat, Tom Mighell, and Adriana Linares.  If you’re an Android believer, check out Jeff Taylor’s blog The Android Lawyer for Droid Apps.

Access the 60 Apps in 60 Minutes compilation here or click on the image below:

60Appsin60

Tomorrow’s post:  a compilation of 60 Sites in 60 Minutes.

Looking for more?

Jeff Richardson will publish a full list of iOS apps on iPhone JD this week.  If you’re a Windows mobile app user, contact Ben Schorr.  Still a Blackberry believer?  Dan Pinnington can hook you up.

All Rights Reserved [2015] Beverly Michaelis

 

10 Reasons to Buy a MacBook Pro for Your Solo Practice

What kind of performance do you expect in a laptop?  Do your “must haves” include:

  1. Fast startup
  2. Applications that load quickly
  3. Long battery life
  4. Top-notch camera and display
  5. Built-in hard drive encryption
  6. Built-in password management
  7. Automatic security screening for downloaded apps
  8. No preinstalled adware or spam
  9. Ability to run locally installed office productivity software
  10. Preloaded productivity and creativity apps

If so, get a MacBook Pro for your law practice.  Hands down.  The reality is that Macs are difficult, if not impossible, to outshine.

Aren’t Macs more costly?  It depends on your point of view.  In the short run, a 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display starts at $1999, but in the long run I doubt you’ll regret the features or investment in quality.  In this age of security issues, privacy concerns, and data breach worries, the free (and incredibly easy to use) hard drive encryption is reason alone to pic a Mac.

Even Before Superfish Lenovos Weren’t the Greatest

Just before the Superfish adware/spam scandal came to light, my husband decided he wanted a new laptop.  He thought he found a great deal on a Lenovo that had a reasonably fast processor and a decent graphics card.

Within a week’s time, he returned the Lenovo to Best Buy.  To their credit, it was a no hassle process.  Why did he take the Lenovo back?

  • It was incredibly slow to boot, a long-standing problem for Windows OS.  [For kicks, compare the discussion about boot times on Apple Support Communities to this thread on Microsoft Community.  The Apple folks are miffed about waiting 30-60 seconds; the Windows users are experiencing delays of 20+ minutes.  It’s all about perspective.]
  • The apps were slow to load.
  • He detested Windows 8.1.
  • The keyboard started acting up.  Specifically, the Windows Logo Key developed a mind of its own.  It worked only when it felt like it.
  • The touchpad was a pain.
  • He didn’t like the camera.

Why did he buy the Lenovo in the first place?  In part, because a family member (not me) swayed him in that direction.  He also thought he needed a laptop running Windows OS to meet specialized software needs.  (Incorrect.)  This is old news, but let me reshare:  users can run any Windows program using Mac’s Boot Camp utility.

From the moment my husband opened his MacBook Pro with Retina Display, he’s been in love.  And kudos to the Apple Store personal setup station – they helped configure the hard drive encryption, iCloud keychain, iCloud drive, and other settings. (You won’t get that help anywhere else.)

I Told You So

I’ve said it before: Once You Go Mac, You Never Go Back, so why would you fuss with a Windows OS laptop to begin with?  I am an even greater fan of Mac now after my husband’s experience.  If I left my job today to reenter private practice, I’d buy my own MacBook Pro in a heartbeat.  (P.S. Office 365 runs like a dream.)

Can it Get Any Better?  Yes it can!

One of the best parts of using a Mac in the law office is Macs in the Law Office (literally). MILO is 4,500+ members strong and “the premier source for lawyers who want to maximize the use of Macs in their law practices.”  Great people like Ben Stevens (aka The Mac Lawyer) and Jenny Stevens (Mrs. Mac Lawyer) have made it happen.  Bottom line, nothing holds you back when you’re a Mac user.

[All Rights Reserved 2015 Beverly Michaelis]

 

Scanning Documents for eCourt

mouseIn my last two posts, I discussed the 10 steps all practitioners should take to get ready for eCourt and how to manage the anxiety and stress of transitioning to the eCourt system.

This week the focus is on two essential eCourt tools: PDF and OCR software. 

Efficiency with a 2 in 1 Solution

There is no doubt in my mind that a two-in-one solution is best: PDF conversion software with OCR capability built-in. 

Most practitioners know immediately what a PDF document is, but not everyone is familiar with the acronym OCR

OCR refers to “optical character recognition,” and OCR software does exactly that.  It takes a scanned image – like your printed pleading document – and uses software to recognize the text on the page, making your scanned document searchable.  This is a necessity for eFiling under the Uniform Trial Court Rules. 

Software that can perform these two functions simultaneously is a great time saver. 

Assuming you have a working scanner that meets your needs and is compatible with your operating system (Mac OS or Windows 7/8), the next step is to get your hands on two-in-one PDF and OCR software.  If you don’t already have a scanner, see last week’s post for suggestions

Top Three Choices for PDF/OCR Software

  1. For me, the number one choice for PDF/OCR software is Acrobat XI.  As I said last week: get the “Pro” version for the redaction features. Adobe is running a 20% off sale on monthly subscriptions for two more days (the sale expires December 3).  See last week’s post to learn more.
  2. Nuance Power PDF Advanced would be my second choice.  Over the years, Nuance has expanded product features to compete against Acrobat – to the consumer’s benefit. 
  3. Coming in last is PrimoPDF.  I admit this is my personal bias, however, I don’t feel it is as robust as the other two choices. 

All three of these programs convert to PDF and all three have OCR software built-in to make your scanned documents text searchable. 

Setting Acrobat XI Pro to OCR Automatically

By default, Acrobat XI Pro should be set to OCR automatically if you initiate document scanning by using the program.  To verify that Acrobat XI Pro is set to OCR automatically, follow these steps:

  1. Start Acrobat XI Pro 
  2. Select Create
  3. Choose “PDF from Scanner”
  4. Move your cursor to the bottom right of the pop-up menu and select “Configure Presets…”
  5. Toward the bottom of the “Configure Presets…” box, verify that “Optimize Scanned PDFs” and “Make Searchable (Run OCR)” are selected
  6. Click Save then Close

Acrobat XI Pro will retain these settings.  As long as you initiate a scan from within Acrobat XI Pro, your documents will automatically be OCRed.  Follow these five simple steps to scan a document using Acrobat XI Pro:

  1. Load the document(s) in your scanner
  2. Start Acrobat XI Pro 
  3. Select Create
  4. Choose “PDF from Scanner”
  5. Select Black & White Document

and you’re done! 

Prove to Yourself that Your Scanned Document is Text Searchable

To prove that your PDF is searchable, type <ctrl> F if you are a Windows user; <command> F if you are a Mac user.  The “Find” box pops up:

find box

Enter a search term you know is contained within your document, such as your client’s name.  Click Next.  In a text searchable PDF, Acrobat XI Pro will jump to the first instance where the search term is found.

[All Rights Reserved – 2014 – Beverly Michaelis]

 

 

 

 

Learn by Doing: Acrobat Tips and Tricks

Mandatory eCourt in Oregon is just around the corner. By court rule, all documents submitted through the eFiling system must be in PDF or PDF/A format and practitioners need to get up to speed now.

How can you become a power user of Acrobat, the powerful PDF authoring software?  By connecting to resources like the Adobe Acrobat Users Community and Acrolaw, the Acrobat for Legal Professionals blog.  Consider the usefulness of these shares and posts:

Subscribing to Acrolaw Posts

To follow the posts on Acrolaw [Acrobat for Legal Professionals] visit the home page, scroll down, and in the right navigation pane, choose the ACROLAW RSS FEED or under the BLOGROLL heading, select the third option “Sign up to get my Blog via email.”  Under BLOGROLL you can also follow the author, Rick Borstein, on Twitter or link to his training movies.

Accessing the Acrobat Users Community

Anyone can access the Adobe Acrobat Users Community. Visit the Web page for tutorials, quick tips, resources, and to submit questions.  If you prefer, the users community is active in social media.  Consider following the community on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, or LinkedIn. You can also sign up for the AUC [Adobe Acrobat Users Community] Newsletter.

Buying Acrobat at a Discount

If you don’t already own Acrobat XI Pro – the latest version with all the bells and whistles – Adobe is offering a special deal through December 3: $14.99 per month if you commit for a year; $29.99 per month if you don’t.  [$29.99 per month is the regular rate.] Read more about Acrobat XI Pro here.

All Rights Reserved [2014] Beverly Michaelis

 

Word to WordPerfect Conversion: How to Strip Formatting

If you’re a Corel WordPerfect aficionado, chances are you’ve been frustrated by the “hidden” codes in Microsoft Word documents.

While there are various ways to see Word’s “hidden” formatting, sometimes it’s just easier to strip the formatting out.  Here’s how:

  • Start WordPad*
  • Select File, Open…
  • If you are converting a .doc file – change All WordPad Documents (*.rtf, *.docx, *.odt, *.txt) to All Documents (*.*).  If you are converting a .docx file, there is no need to change this setting.
  • Browse to locate the Word file.  Double-click to open it.
  • Select File, Save as.  Choose Plain Text Document.
  • This warning appears:2014-09-11_15-12-38
  • Click Yes.
  • Close WordPad.
  • Open the file in WordPerfect.  If you receive a prompt to convert file format, click OK.  Format your document as desired in WordPerfect.

*WordPad is a free text editor/basic word processor that ships with Windows.  Find it quickly by using Search all programs and files.

[All Rights Reserved 2014 Beverly Michaelis]

Opening or Converting Old Forms – Tips for Mac Users

As Mac users know, not all legal forms are Mac-friendly (especially older forms).  For untitledexample, what if a colleague sends you a document created in Microsoft Word 97/Windows?

If you have Pages, you should be able to open a Word 97 document without a file converter. Try these steps.

If you have Microsoft Office for Mac, you can search the Download Center for a file converter, but the only one I could spot was the Microsoft Word 97, 98, and 2000 Converter for the Macintosh.  Office for Mac 2011 users report there is no converter for newer versions of office and old files created on the Windows platform do not open.  If you’re an Office user, what should you do?

  • Open the old form in Pages first, then resave it.
  • Try the Insert > File or Insert > Object > Text from File… command.  Launch Word, select Insert > File or Insert > Object > Text from File… browse and find the old form, click Insert.  Inserting a text file into a blank document in Word strips out formatting.  It often works better than using File > Open to access a document created in a non-compatible word processing program.
  • Ask the colleague who provided the form if he or she can resave it for you.  Options include: a newer version of Word for Windows, Word for the Mac, Rich text format (.rtf file), or PDF.  If a PDF is created electronically or scanned then OCRd, you should be able to copy and paste text from the body of the PDF into Word 2011 for the Mac or Pages.  You can also save a PDF as a Word document in Acrobat.
  • Try an online file converter, such as ZamzarOnline-ConvertCloud Convert, or Convert Files.

Final Words of Wisdom

Old forms may be “old” and not converted to a newer platform or software version for a reason – they are old and shouldn’t be used.  Before going to all this effort, be certain this is a form worth converting, meaning it is valid and still legally viable.

All Rights Reserved [2014] Beverly Michaelis