Word processing is vital to many businesses but it is especially important for law firms. Any firm can increase their bottom line if they can increase the productivity of their word processing. Is your law firm using Microsoft Office? Are partners and employees comfortable and confident in their Word skills? More often than not I get affirmative responses to these questions and yet when I delve more deeply I find the people in question aren’t actually taking advantage of all the time saving features that Word has to offer.
Here is a sample of the skills you and your company should be utilizing if you want to use Word efficiently. How many of them are you already using? Perhaps it is time to think about arranging some Microsoft Word training for your law firm.
Are you using the Show/Hide command?
The command for Show/Hide is on the Home Ribbon and allows the user to see what keystrokes (Enter, Tab, Space, etc.) have been used in the document. This information is invaluable especially when you are editing a document that was created by someone else. Did the author go onto a new page by pressing the Enter key numerous times, or did they add a Page or Section Break? If they pressed the Enter key, you may find a block of white space in the document when you add more text above the keystrokes. If they used a Break and you add text, you may find you suddenly have a completely blank page inserted into your document. Knowledge is power and understanding the Show/Hide command will make you stronger.
Are you using the Quick Access Toolbar?
The Quick Access Toolbar is Word’s equivalent to having pens and pencils near at hand. Any command that exists in Word can be added to the Quick Access Toolbar (QAT). Where is the QAT you ask? By default it put in the top left corner of your screen, just to the right of the blue Word W. It comes with the commands for Save, Undo and Redo. Click the black drop-down arrow to the right of the last command and you can move the toolbar so it shows just below the ribbon, or add or remove commands. Putting the commands you use most often here, can save you a lot of time changing from ribbon to ribbon or hunting for a command because you can’t remember where it is.
Do you know where the Clipboard is and how to use it efficiently?
When you copy or cut content, where does it go? Many of us envision it floating around in cyberspace until we are ready to use it. In fact it goes to the clipboard. Launch the clipboard before you start cutting and pasting and you will see up to 24 items get added. From the clipboard you can click to place the content into other documents, spreadsheets, PowerPoint slides, email, or wherever you need it to go. The entire Microsoft Office suite shares the same clipboard so it is easy to move content from one program to another.
When you copy and paste from another document or program, does the formatting look right?
You have several choices when you are pasting content into documents. To access these choices, Right Click in the place you want to paste. The Right Click Menu has paste options that make it easy to choose the type of formatting you want automatically added to the new content. If you are a fan of the Ctrl + V shortcut, you can go to the Word Options to set the type of formatting that will happen when you paste.
Are styles more than just a fashion statement?
When you format a document are you still using the traditional direct formatting techniques? This is what we call formatting that is done via the Right Click menu or the Home Ribbon Font and Paragraph Group Commands. The savvy computer user uses styles to format their documents. Styles make it easier for you to keep your document format consistent and allow you to modify your formatting quickly and easily.
When things go wrong in a document, do you know why?
What do you do when you are working in Word and something unexpected happens? If the answer is “calmly and quickly fix it” then you are in a good place. If on the other hand you feel your blood pressure rising, you may benefit from understanding why Word does what it does. Trust me; it isn’t just trying to spoil your day. You just need to get inside its head if you want to reduce your Word stress levels.
Do you take advantage of reusable content?
Often we use the same signatures, headers, paragraphs of text, or tables of information in different documents. Are you recreating these items each time you need them? Word’s galleries contain ready-made reusable content, or you can create your own items and add them to the galleries for easy access.
If these are new concepts to you and/or your staff then training in the use of Microsoft Word could drastically increase user satisfaction and productivity at your office.
Reen Rose is an experienced Microsoft Certified Trainer and Microsoft Office Specialist Master.
She has been described as ‘focused, fun and very effective’. Reen believes in guiding people to become empowered Microsoft Office users by giving them the skills they need to be successful, in an engaging and enjoyable environment.