Stop the Insanity Word Users! Get Snapnumbers Now

If automatic numbering in Microsoft Word drives you nutty, then you need Snapnumbers from the folks at Snapdone.

Snapnumbers is a free Word add-in that allows you to number paragraphs naturally without regard to Word styles or the underlying format of your document.

4-13-2013 9-44-29 AMWhat does this mean?  In the legal profession, we often apply multiple levels of numbering in the same document.  We need the flexibility to move from one numbering scheme to the next and back again without Word’s interference.  We also expect our numbering schemes to remain sequential.  Unfortunately, Word is rarely cooperative with these transitions.  In fact, many users end up numbering documents manually out of frustration.

All of this can be avoided as the folks from Snapdone explain:

Simply type text normally — tabbing, indenting, and formatting as desired —  then when you want to insert a Snapnumber choose Level 1 through Level 9 from the Snapnumbers menu (or use a shortcut keystroke).  [See the examples here.]

The full version of Snapnumbers allows you to easily insert symbols ( ™ © ¶ § and others),  create custom numbering schemes, and build an automated table of contents.

My thoughts?  Download the free version and give it a trial run.  If you like it, the full version at $20 per license is cheap.  While you’re at the Snapdone, be sure to check out TheFormTool,  Snapdone‘s incredibly easy documentation automation for Word.  The basic version is free.  The advanced version is $89.  To learn more about TheFormTool, check out “Using TheFormTool in Your Law Practice” on the PLF Web site > Programs on CD/DVD.

All Rights Reserved – Beverly Michaelis – 2013

The Best of TECHSHOW – Tips and Tricks

Every year the ABA TECHSHOW brings together some of the best legal technology minds our profession has to offer.  This year was no exception.  Over the next few posts I’ll share what I learned at this year’s conference.  Today: the best of 60 Tips in 60 Minutes.

Microsoft Office

Office Ribbon getting in the way? 

Use Ctrl F1 to toggle it off (and on).

View recently opened documents in Word with a quick right click

Want to see the most recently opened items in Word?  Right click on the Word icon on your desktop.  A list of recently opened items appears (whether Word is launched or not.)

Recover unsaved Word 2010/2013 documents or Excel 2010/2013 Workbooks

If your computer crashes and you haven’t saved your document or spreadsheet, act fast to recover your document. In Word or Excel 2010/2013, select File > Info > Manage Versions to recover your unsaved documents.

Print a blank Outlook calendar

A blank Outlook calendar can be handy for coordinating with others, but how can you print one that doesn’t show scheduled court dates, client appointments, or other events?  Easy!  The steps vary according to your version of Outlook.  Here are links to the instructions: Outlook 2007, Outlook 2010, Outlook 2013.

imagesReveal a sender’s full e-mail address

Sometimes e-mail messages only show the sender’s name.  If you want to see the full e-mail address, follow these steps:  In the blue message header, mouse over the name, right click, choose properties > show full e-mail address.

Need a system to follow-up on sent e-mails? 

Here are two approaches.

Option 1 – Create a “Waiting For” folder in Outlook

Drag e-mails that require a follow-up to this destination. If desired, add a “code” to the body of your message like “wff” (Waiting For Folder).  Create an Outlook rule that looks for this code and auto-files the messages that contain it in the Waiting For Folder.

Option 2 – The cc: method

Set up a “Delegated Mail” folder in Outlook.  Copy yourself on all e-mails that require a follow-up.  Create an Outlook rule that checks messages when they arrive, looks for your name as the sender and for your name in the cc: box.  Direct the rule to file messages that meet this criteria in a “Delegated Mail” folder.

Eliminate long, redundant e-mail threads

In Outlook 2010/2013, delete redundant e-mail strings by using “Clean Up a Conversation.”  The clean up function removes the prior e-mails and keeps only the most recent message – which has the entire thread.

How about a handy shortcut to an e-mail address? 

Create one right on your desktop.  Right click, select New > Shortcut.  In the “Create Shortcut” dialog box, type mailto: and the desired e-mail address. For example: mailto:joesmith@gmail.com (leave no spaces between the colon and the e-mail address). Click Finish.  You can now send an e-mail to Joe directly from your desktop without launching Outlook.

Never forget an attachment again

Download CodeTwo and never forget an e-mail attachment again.  This free download looks for keywords in the body of your e-mail like “enclosed” and “attached” and reminds you to add an attachment before your e-mail is sent.

Bloated e-mail inbox?

Clean it up with Outlook’s cleanup tools.  Choose File > Info > Cleanup Tools.  Choose Mailbox Cleanup… to manage the size of your mailbox with advanced tools, empty deleted items permanently, or move old items to an archive folder.

Disabling “reply to all” or “forwarding”

To prevent clients from forwarding e-mails or using “reply to all” inappropriately use this workaround to disable the functionality.  Yes, a persistent user can still “copy and paste” the body of your e-mail into a new message, but disabling forwarding or “reply to all” tends to stop 99% of perpetrators.

Work with clients or collaborate with colleagues in a different time zone?

Follow these easy steps to add a second time zone to your calendar in Outlook.

Open Your Mail and Calendar in Separate Windows

It can be annoying to toggle back and forth between your mail and other components of Outlook.  From anywhere in Outlook’s Navigation pane (Inbox, Calendar, Contacts, Tasks, Notes) right click on the second Outlook item you wish to view and choose “Open in new window.”

Security and Privacy

Looking for a secure flash drive?

Here are three good options: Imation Defender F200 Biometric, Aegis Secure Key, CMS Secure Vault FIPS.

Computer Screen Privacy

Keep prying eyes off your computer screen with PrivateEye from Oculis. Using facial recognition, the software instantly blurs your monitor if you leave your desk or turn away.

Wish you could monitor your servers remotely?

lockYou can with PC Monitor.  Compatible with iPad, iPhone, iPod. Free for non-commercial use.

Secure external hard drives

Just as flash drives should be encrypted or protected with biometrics, lawyers should take similar precautions to secure external hard drives.  Here are three choices:   Lenovo ThinkPad USB 3.0 Secure Hard Drive, Aegis Padlock, CMS Secure Disk Vault.

That Pesky Facebook

If you love connecting with friends and family on Facebook, but are worried about who might have access to your data, check out MyPermissions. Sign up to receive alerts when a Facebook app gains access to your personal information.

Productivity

Addicted to multiple monitors and wish you had one for the road?

You can with the portable Lenovo ThinkVision LT1421 14″ widescreen LED travel monitor.  Available on Amazon for under $200.

Looking for a fast, simple solution for installing apps on your new computer?

Try Ninite – directly download the most commonly used Web apps with no muss, no fuss.

proMeet the new scanner on the block

Everyone knows about the Fujitsu Scansnap s1500, but meet the new and improved kid on the block:  the Fujitsu Scansnap iX500. Bundled with Adobe Acrobat Standard, supports scanning to iOS and Android devices, improved resolution, and improved paper handling.  A work horse for under $500.  Ideal for most solos or as a supplementary scanner deployed at workstations throughout your office.

Stop carpal tunnel in its tracks

To avoid carpal tunnel, your keyboard must be appropriately positioned for your use. 3M offers quality keyboard trays that do the trick for around $160.

Why is your fillable form blank?

To “lock in” the contents of a fillable form, you must flatten the PDF.  Here’s how in Acrobat 9.  In Acrobat X or later, use an action.

Tip Grab Bag

Shopping for the best cloud service to backup your data?imagesCAVCNTYX

Visit Backup Review or follow the site on Twitter @backupreview – new reviews daily.

Splash happens.  Want to waterproof your iPhone?

Not a bad idea since water damage voids the warranty.  Try Liquipel.

Are you on LinkedIn

Did you know that you can reposition the components of your LinkedIn profile to feature preferred content? By default, Experience, Skills & Expertise, and Education appear “below the fold” after Activity and Background.  If you prefer a different sort order, simply drag and drop.

Many thanks to the 60 Tips in 60 Minutes presenters for all these great ideas

All Rights Reserved – Beverly Michaelis – 2013

Acrobat XI: Tips and Features

Still learning the ins and outs of Acrobat XI?  Here is yet another nifty post from Rick Borstein, author of the Acrolaw blog, explaining how you can change redaction properties in bulk via the Comments panel.  (If you have ever mistakenly marked text for redaction, then noticed that the fill color was not what you wanted you will appreciate this tip.)  In the same post, Rick teaches users how to unlock the Comments list so it can float as a separate window anywhere on your screen.

My favorite new feature of Acrobat XI is the improved Word converter.  Whether you are copying and pasting part of a PDF into Word or exporting the entire PDF to a Word document, the formatting comes across intact.  A video demo is available hereAcrobat XI also supports conversion to Excel and PowerPoint.

Text editing is far more flexible too.  Want to insert text?  Just position your cursor and go.  Deleting is easy too.  In either case, the text reflows automatically.  This is a feature you probably won’t appreciate unless you have attempted to edit PDFs in the past.  With older versions of Acrobat, text editing was extremely limited.  Text did not reflow and content could only be manipulated on a word-by-word or line-by-line basis.  The results were often far from stellar.

While terrific, these new features could also result in unintended consequences.   If you don’t want the recipient of your document to edit the text or convert it from PDF to Word, change the document properties:  File > Properties… Security Tab.  In the Security Method drop-down, select Password Security.  Under Permissions, check the box “Restrict editing and printing of the document.  A password will be required in order to change these permission settings.”  Under Changes Allowed, select None.  Specify a password and choose OK.  Caution: Adobe expressly warns that third-party products may be able to defeat Acrobat security settings.

Happy PDFing!

Avoid Strife, Strip Out Coding in Word

Are you a WordPerfect user in a Word world?  Would you rather give a key note address to an audience of strangers than convert a Word document?  You are not alone!  What appears to be an easy task is actually quite deceiving.

First, let me refer you to Jan Berinstein and her excellent blog.  Jan’s tips and tricks will go a long way toward helping.  And if you want the definitive guidebook on using Word in the law office, consider Jan’s books:  Formatting Legal Documents with Microsoft Word 2007 or Formatting Legal Documents with Microsoft Word 2010.  Read more here

Why does the migration from Word to WordPerfect pose a problem?  Isn’t it just a matter of opening your Word document in WordPerfect and wa-la!  Off you go?  Unfortunately, no. 

While we don’t commonly think of Word as using “codes” to control formatting, it most certainly does.  And when you open a Word document in WordPerfect you unwittingly inherit Word’s embedded styles and other formatting – which can cause strange results.  What should you do? 

Setting aside third-party options, the easiest approach is to use WordPad as a bridge to strip out Word’s formatting.  The result?  A clean, code-free document.  In Windows XP, you will find WordPad under your Start Menu > All Programs > Accessories.  Here are the steps:

  1. In WordPad, select File, Open…
  2. In File, Open… change the setting under “Files of Type” to All Documents [*.*].
  3. Open the Word® file you wish to strip codes from.
  4. Select File, Save As.
  5. Change the setting under “Save as type” to Text Document [*.txt].
  6. When you see the warning:
    “You are about to save the document in a Text-Only format, which will remove all formatting.  Are you sure you want to do this?” 
    Click Yes.
  7. Close WordPad.
  8. Open the file in WordPerfect.®
  9. The Convert File Format box will appear. Click OK.
  10. Format your document as desired in WordPerfect.

My thanks to Dee Crocker, practice management advisor extraordinaire for the idea.

Copyright 2010 Beverly Michaelis