If, like me, you think of Word as a purely text-based word processor, you`re probably only using a small portion of the software`s tools. To get the most out of Word, and most importantly unlock the most useful features for lawyers, you need to realize that it`s actually a full-fledged desktop publishing program. Here are seven of the best tips that have helped me realize the power of speech – all of them, I hope, will serve you well in your daily life as a busy lawyer. Do you have any other tips? Share them in the comments! I would like to hear from you. You can easily compare documents in Word to notice the changes between them. One of the most common tasks performed in the legal profession is the creation of a blackline legal document. The terms “redlining” or “document comparison” are two other ways of referring to it. When you compare documents in Word, you can only view the content edited between the two copies in a separate third document. Free eBook: Troubleshooting Microsoft Word – A Guide for Lawyers>> It can be difficult to compare documents. Microsoft Word`s legal black line feature makes it much easier to compare documents.
The term “legal blackline” comes from the legal profession, where lawyers have to compare two documents. Usually, it applies to contracts, but this essential feature of Microsoft Word applies to any type of document. Then click the “More >>” button to see all the options for creating the legal black line document at the bottom of the dialog. Any changes you make here will be saved as new defaults for the future creation of a legal Blackline document. By default, Word displays Word-level changes in a new document. These are the recommended settings. However, you have the option to modify them if necessary. After checking the settings, click the “<<minus" button to set and hide the options.
Click More, and then select the settings for the items you want to compare in the documents. Under Show changes, select whether you want to view changes at the character or word level. Then click the OK button in the Compare Documents dialog box to compare the documents, and then create the resulting legal black line document in Microsoft Word. The original document and the revised document are also displayed on the right side of the screen. The compared document appears in the center of the screen. All revisions are displayed in the Reviews pane on the left side of the screen. Note: The screenshots and instructions here are for Word 2013 for Windows. All are possible in other versions after 2007, although the process may differ a bit.
Then, in the Revised Document drop-down menu, enter the name that you want to use to report changes in the resulting legal Blackline document, if any, in the Text box Label changes with. Many lawyers use this feature when reviewing contracts to note revisions between two copies of a contract. This allows you to make and compare multiple copies of a legal document and notify changes between the original, first draft, second draft, etc. This allows you to keep all copies of the drawings for historical purposes. It also shows what changes were made and who requested the changes. This lesson shows you how to compare documents in Word to create a legitimate black line document. Manually creating an authority list – the list of references (cases, statutes, rules, etc.) contained in a legal document – can be a very time-consuming task. Fortunately, Word has advanced features that can make this process much easier.
The legal blackline option compares two documents and only shows what has changed between them. The documents compared are not modified. By default, the comparison of the legal black line is displayed in a new third document. A dialog box opens. Select your original document and the revised document. For years, I`ve used WinMerge to compare documents, or I`ve just done a side-by-side manual comparison. Although these methods work, they are time-consuming and error-prone. Fortunately, Word includes ways to protect your document to prevent or prevent editing.
On the File Information tab >, you will see the Protect Document option. Here you can either “Mark as final” – which indicates a warning message that the document is considered final and should not be modified, although this can be canceled. You can also go one step further and limit the changes completely. Convenient, right? If you want to learn more about shortcuts, Microsoft publishes a comprehensive list of hundreds of possible Word shortcuts on its support website. Important: All of the options you select under More are the default options for comparing documents the next time you compare documents. Watch the following video lesson, “Using the Compare feature,” to learn how to compare documents in Word. This video lesson is from our full Word for Lawyers tutorial titled “Mastering Word Made Easy for Lawyers v.2019 and 365.” If any version of the document followed the changes, Microsoft Word displays a message box. Click Yes to apply the changes and compare the documents. The main view makes it very easy to see what has been added, deleted and changed. In addition, the ability to scroll through an area while child documents follow makes the whole process very intuitive. Sometimes, after going through many iterations of a document, you want to share it one last time, but discourage any subsequent changes.
By default, anyone with access to your document can edit its contents unless you protect it. Microsoft Office Word displays a new third document that accepts tracked changes in the original document, and changes to the revised document appear as tracked changes. What about Microsoft Excel files? Well, there are also methods to compare multiple sheets in Excel. You can also use these Mac file comparison tools. Since 2007, Word has included a feature that allows users to combine multiple sets of tracked changes into a single document, with each of the original changes identified by different color markup. I couldn`t believe how much time I had painfully wasted working on Word windows side by side when I discovered this feature! A huge time saver. One of the main reasons to use Word`s styles feature correctly is to automatically create a table of contents for your document. To create a table of contents, Word looks for text that has been formatted as headings. It detects these headings, sorts them by level (Heading 1, Heading 2, and so on), and then dynamically creates a table of contents for your document.