Microsoft Word Tips and Tricks

Last Friday I spoke at a technology CLE for the Legal Staff Section of the Oregon Trial Lawyers Association.  The group was engaged and enthusiastic.  We covered a lot of ground, but my contributions centered on tips and tricks for using Microsoft Word and Adobe Acrobat.  Today I’d like to share some of my favorite pointers and resources for Word.  I promise to dish on Acrobat in a future post.

Best Blogs and Web Sites for Word Users

If you are tussling with Word, search these blogs or sites for an answer.  To receive tips on a regular basis, subscribe to the RSS Feeds:

Best Books for Word Users

The best overall reference books for using Word 2007 and 2010 in the law office are those by Jan Berinstein.  I’ve blogged about Jan’s books before.  I think they’re terrific.  She also offers a number of inexpensive ebooks.  If you’re looking for the authoritative ABA publication, then Ben Schorr is your guy:

  • Creating Labels with Mail Merge in Word 2007 by Jan Berinstein ($3.75) (ebook)
  • Dressing Up Your Word Documents with Styles by Jan Berinstein ($7.25) (ebook)
  • Formatting Legal Documents with Microsoft Word 2007 by Jan Berinstein ($35.95)
  • Formatting Legal Documents with Microsoft Word 2010 by Jan Berinstein ($41.95)
  • The Lawyer’s Guide to Microsoft Word 2007 by Ben Schorr ($69.95/$49.95 ABA LPM Member)

Jan’s books are available at Amazon or Lulu.  Visit Jan’s blog for discounts or coupons first.  The Lawyer’s Guide to Microsoft Word 2007 is an ABA publication.  Oregon lawyers can order ABA publications at a discount through the Professional Liability Fund Web site.  From the home page, select ABA Products.

Best Third Party Software

When it comes to third party software, the Payne Group is heads above the rest.  Primarily a resource for training, consulting, project management, and migration, Payne also sells a number of retail products for Word:

  • Metadata Assistant
  • Numbering Assistant
  • Forms Assistant (including Pleading)
  • Agreement Assistant
  • Address Assistant
  • Bates Labeling
  • File New Assistant
  • Redaction & Scramble Assistant
  • Style Assistant

All with features you won’t find elsewhere.  Payne also offers a few free products that may meet your needs:

  • Bates Label Assistant
  • Scramble Assistant
  • PCG Next (sequential numbering)

If you visit the Payne Group Web site, take the time to check out the Word Tips and Answers to Frequently Asked Questions.

Top Microsoft Resources

In my opinion, Microsoft frequently gets a bad rap.  Help within Word is excellent if you give it a chance.  Click the blue button with the ? in the upper right hand corner of your screen, or use the keyboard shortcut F1.  Browse, if that’s your preference, but I usually search.  And honestly, you don’t need to be very precise.  Don’t knock it til you’ve tried it.  Microsoft also offers some truly useful resources and downloads:

Struggling With Word

As you might have concluded, I am a fan of Word.  With that said, I appreciate that people struggle with it.  The migration to the ribbon and loss of “File, Edit, View, Insert” and other familiar menus was traumatic for me too. I also appreciate that many former WordPerfect users have never quite gotten past Word’s lack of “reveal codes.”  If this is you, and you are a bit confused by the ribbon, wish you had Word’s classic menus back, want to read more about coding in Word (yes, it’s sort of there), and also want to know what to do if something weird happens in your document, read my complete Microsoft Word Tips and Tricks handout here.

Copyright 2010 Beverly Michaelis

1 thought on “Microsoft Word Tips and Tricks

  1. Pingback: Running a Successful Law Practice « Oregon Law Practice Management

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