Ready to Become More Tech-Savvy? Just Open Microsoft Word
Louisa M. A. Heiny and Dave Duncan of the Innovation in Practice Committee
Macros. TAR. Ransomware. Botnets. IoT devices. AI. Blockchains. While lawyers are encouraged to keep abreast of relevant technology and integrate it into practice, many struggle to understand and implement new technologies. A dizzying array of new computer programs, apps, and acronyms are on the market. Each promises a brave new world of efficiency and efficacy. Most, however, require a significant investment of time, money, and energy to research and use. As a result, none are very appealing to lawyers unfamiliar with technology.
However, if you use Microsoft Word to prepare documents, there is an easy way to up your tech game and streamline repeated tasks without a big investment of time or money. Word is hiding a multitude of functions that make writing and formatting documents faster and easier. Word also provides excellent step-by-step guides that even neophyte users can understand.
Most Word users know that you can use a combination of keystrokes to accomplish a single task. For example, instead of going to the Edit Drop-Down Menu and choosing Cut, you can cut text by hitting the Command or Control key and the letter X at the same time.
Users can also create their own keyboard commands. For example, if you frequently insert a section symbol, there’s no need to go to the Insert Drop-Down Menu each time and wade through the symbol options. Instead, go to the Help Drop-Down Menu and type keyboard. (See Figure 1.) Choose Get Help on Keyboard, followed by Create a Custom Keyboard Shortcut. The instructions will teach you how to create a keyboard command for almost anything.
Word’s ubiquity has made it a frequent target of viruses and malware. As a result, Word documents can – and often should – be password protected. Password protection helps ensure that files held in insecure channels such as email or the cloud stay confidential. Be warned: Word cannot recover your password. Use a password manager program or choose a password you will remember.
To learn how to password protect your files, type password into the Help Drop-Down Menu. Choose Get Help on Password and then Password Protect a Document.
If you regularly use the same format in forms or briefs, make a template. A template pre-formats a document, including preset fonts, spacing, font size, margins, or...