Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Law Firms, Microsoft Word 2010 and Styles

I would dare to say that the legal industry leads the way in effectively employing the use of Microsoft Word. Yes, of course I am partial. I've been servicing lawyers with administrative support and training for most of my adult life. The need for proper document formatting and standardization is critical to the legal industry. Document size and the multiple types of formatting contained in a single legal document demands a standard that is accomplished through proper application usage. Therefore, the document production specialists (legal word processing operator) is required to have skill-sets that allow them to manipulate the application in a way that surpasses many certified Microsoft Office Specialists.

While some law firms continue to move forward from Office 2003 to 2007 and 2010 (yes, kicking and screaming), their users—once the initial shock wears off—will eventually come to understand that the new look, though intimidating, is a welcomed changed. I personally felt like someone broke into my home and move all of my most used household tools to different locations. However, knowing that the only thing in life I can count on is change, I bit the bullet and used the Ribbon Tab names to form associations with various tasks I needed to perform. Lo and behold, I began to located groups of commands that were quite familiar.

The more challenging change was grasping the difference in Word 2003 Outline Numbering with heading styles, to 2007/2010 Multilevel List. Taking the time to unlearn what I learned (In the words of Yoda), over time I grasped the new concept and found sheer pleasure knowing that there is no longer a need to dig deep into a Heading Style to customize the style numbering.

The Style Gallery is like an artist's arrangement of document formatting tools, displaying the name of the styles and its formatting appearance. Live Preview, a new technology introduced in Microsoft Office 2007, lets you preview a styles formatting attributes before you apply it. By rolling the mouse pointer over a style in the Style Gallery, the text at the cursor location in the document takes on the look of the style's attributes, allowing you to see what your text will look like before applying the style.

Microsoft Word 2007 and 2010 provides varying ways to use styles—the backbone of document formatting. Create style sets, creating new styles, access, modify and clear direct formatting (the Style Inspector is impressive). Used creatively, any law office—small or large—can effectively devise and employ house-styles that will reduce cost, which is the bottom line of any company, in any industry.

Learn more about document production and the skill it requires. Pick up a copy of: "Microsoft Word 2007 and 2010 for Law Professionals—Unveiling the Rules and Secrets of Legal Word Processing" Available on Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com and all major online booksellers around the globe.

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