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Learning to love Word 2010

In the past few years, many lawyers have migrated from WordPerfect to Word. Back in school I was a Word guy, but we used WordPerfect in my first legal job. As time went on, my firm realized that much of the rest of the world was using Word, and it was becoming harder to exchange and edit draft documents with co-counsel, so we made the switch to Word.

My current firm, until recently, used WordPerfect as well. About two months ago we upgraded to Word 2010, so I’ve been trying to relearn what I forgot about Word, and update that knowledge with 2010’s new structure (I don’t yet have a verdict on the Ribbon…).

Here’s a little bit of what I’ve learned or re-remembered:

Page Numbering

So aggravating is the process for complex page numbering of Word documents that I have publicly lambasted it (well, on Facebook, anyway). If you have a 12-page document, and you want it numbered in the ordinary way, page numbering is simple: click the Insert tab, click Page Number from the Header and Footer block, and choose the option that best suits your needs (I typically choose the center at the bottom of the page).

If you don’t want the page number to appear on the first page, click the Insert tab, click Footer, and Edit Footer.  In the Design tab, click the Different First Page checkbox. Page one has no page number, and page two starts with the number two.

Here’s where it gets a little complicated, and where my frustrations have manifested. When I draft a pleading, I want everything in the same Word document — the motion, memorandum, proposed order and certificate of service. That means no page number on the first pages of the motion, memorandum and proposed order; no page number at all on the certificate of service (unless it is more than one page), and the sequence of numbering must be different for the motion, memorandum and proposed order.

In WordPerfect, this was a simple matter. In Word, you have to use a specific type of page break to tell the computer that you are, in effect, creating different documents within a document. Here’s how:

  1. Open up your new document.
  2. Insert your page numbers as usual.
  3. Draft your document. When you get to a new “document” within your document, don’t just start it on a new page, but click the Page Layout tab, click Breaks, and click Next Page.
  4. Double-click on the second “document’s” page number in the footer (right now, it should be a continuation of the first “document’s” page number).
  5. Click the Insert tab, click Page Number, and Format Page Numbers. Under Page Numbering, change it to read “Start at 1.”
  6. If you don’t want a page number to appear on the first page of your second “document,” then follow the same process as above — go to the footer button click the Different First Page checkbox in the Design tab.
Splitting Documents

I often need to refer to a prior page in a document when working on a later page. This might be because I’m trying to copy my motion’s title (without formatting and in title case) on my certificate of service; because I need to refer to my statement of undisputed facts to copy citations for my argument in a summary judgment motion; or because I need to figure out what pages my case citations are on to incorporate them into my appellate brief’s list of cases.

Click on the View tab, and click the Split button. Then, click on your document where you would like the split to show up. You can also change the page view of either window, for example, to make it show multiple pages (also on the View tab). To put the document back to normal, click Remove Split.

Recover Unsaved Documents

We have all done it — worked for hours on a document that was just flowing so well. The ideas kept coming, the diction was perfect, the syntax was extraordinary. And then, you hit the ‘x’ in the upper right hand corner. You shut the document down, and that icy cold feeling in the pit of your stomach starts to take over: you forgot to save it.

Word 2010 can save us from ourselves. Click File, Recent, Recover, Unsaved Documents, and choose the document you need to recover. Now, this will only recover the document from the time of the last autosave, which typically at ten-minute intervals. To change that (maybe make it every 3-5 minutes), go to File, Options, Save, and click a time under Save Autorecover Information Every __ Minutes.

These are just a few of the most useful Word 2010 features. Of course, the best way to learn is to experiment with the guts of the program — don’t be afraid to click buttons that you’ve never clicked before.