What are shortcut menus? The menu that pops up when you right-click in Windows. Why would you want to customize a shortcut menu? Why not? 🙂

I spend a lot of time teaching folks in law firms why Paste Special, Unformatted Text is an excellent way to NOT paste all the crud from cut or copied text. Wouldn’t it be great to have the Paste Special command on the shortcut menu, as well as Paste?

Here’s the scoop … Read the rest of this entry »


Popular keyboard shortcuts … quickly cycle through open Word documents.  Much faster than mousing around!

Ctrl + F6 (hold down the Ctrl key and then press the F6 key) cycles you “forwards” and Shift + Ctrl + F6 cycles you “backwards” through the stack of open Word docs.

Have you worked in a Word 2002 or 2003 document and noticed oddly named styles?

For example, a style named BodyText may exist – and you notice a style named BodyText + First line: 1″, or BodyText + Italic. Not only do the styles seem oddly named, but if you’re accustomed to working with the Styles and Formatting pane open it gets a bit crowded with all those variations on a style name.

What’s going on? What creates those styles? And, how could this be useful to you, or is this just one of Word’s diabolical evil ways?

Let’s look at Tools, Options, the Edit tab, Keep track of formatting.


The Keep track of formatting choice, when selected, is the setting that causes Word to create new style names when you manually format a paragraph already using a style.

pop-up.png Read the rest of this entry »

Image files, especially digital photos, can be quite large. There are many ways to reduce the file size – some methods more exotic or cumbersome than others. If you’re looking for tips on quickly reducing the file size and sending the digital photos on their way, we’ve got two tips for you!

Method One
In Windows XP, open the folder where the photos are stored. You may have stored them in “My Pictures” folder, or sub-folders thereof.

Select the photo(s) you want to e-mail. (Reminder: to select more than one, press the CTRL key while you click multiple photos.) Read the rest of this entry »

Rick Borstein’s blog, Acrobat for Legal Professionals, is worth a visit.  Rick is a Business Development Manager specializing in the Acrobat-Legal Market for Adobe Systems Incorporated. He’s also an Adobe Certified Expert in Acrobat and a member of the American Bar Association and the International Legal Technology Association.

His June 16th post, Commenting on Image-only PDFs,  explores tools in Adobe Acrobat to help you comment and mark-up PDFs that are images only (not OCR’ed text.)  His example was medical records containing signatures and handwritten notes.  I can imagine IP and Real Estate being interested in his recommendations, since they often encounter image-only PDFs.

Adobe Acrobat is a rich program – you or someone in your office should learn as much about it as possible to get the most efficiency from it.

Do’s and Don’ts

July 18, 2006

Allison C. Shields is the President of Legal Ease Consulting, Inc. and maintains a blog here.  Her article “Too Much To Do, Too Little Time” appears in July 2006 Law Practice TODAY.  The article’s aimed at attorneys but most of us could read it and learn from it. It reinforced for me the idea that it’s OK to say “No”, and to turn down clients who are more trouble than they’re worth.  Both notions were strange to me when I started on my own a year or so ago … but these are valuable lessons.

Give her blog a visit … and stop by Law Practice TODAY to catch her article and others in this Solo and Small Firm Issue.

Word? Normal?

July 18, 2006

I often read Word tips which recommend changing margins, or the “default” font, affecting the Normal template. The tips sound handy … until you wind up with a corrupted Normal template. How do you fix a corrupt Normal template? You blow it away! Delete the thing! Start over! And all your settings and tweaks to the Normal template are down the drain.  I’ve learned the hard way, don’t make changes to the Normal template.
How sad. What to do?

First, let’s define Normal template. As Word is installed “out of the box”, when it opens, it looks for a file named Normal.dot in a certain path. Normal.dot is the Normal template. In end-user speak, Word makes a copy of the Normal template and serves that up as a “fresh blank sheet of paper”.

If you close Word, then hunt down the Normal template and blow it away, then open Word again, Word regenerates a new Normal template. A vanilla outta the box Normal template, not the tweaked fudge ripple template (it’s hot here and I want ice cream!)

So tips to “permanently” change default margins from 1.25″ to 1″ by making a change in the File, Page Setup dialog box, then clicking Default [see screen cap below] are OK – BUT – they don’t really provide a sturdy solution to your need.  Why? Because they make a change to the Normal template.

I’ve thrived on Word since Word 1.1, supported it, used it, cursed it, taught it, always at the end-user level because that’s what I am and that’s who I love. So I want you to have sturdy solutions that stand up to a day in your life with Word.

What to do if you know you always want to start a new blank document with margins 1″ all around, a Normal style of Georgia 12 points, first page headers/footers different ? You create a template with these settings [we’ll do that in my next post].

Before you create the template, think about how you want to use it – for letters, all Word documents, memos, faxes, outlines, etc.? As you think, try to tease out any default or boilerplate text [such as for a fax coversheet] because we can create several templates with different boilerplate text, if need be.

The next post is going to cover creating that simple all purpose template and provide you with a few ideas for making the template very accessible.  We’ll also look at using the template as a “base” for cleaning up a messy, badly formatted, possibly corrupted document.

Meanwhile, pineapple sherbet sounds good.