When you open WordPerfect 12 for the first time you will notice
an option to work in Microsoft Word mode. This merely converts the
WP format to Word, it does not create native Word documents,
and the main thing it does is to switch to Word commands and disable
WordPerfect functionality that is not available in Word. Choosing
WordPerfect Legal Mode puts an extra button bar in your program with
some legal-specific options (which are otherwise available through
Once you have the program installed, you have to decide where to
put your files. The defaults imposed by Microsoft are based on
individual users, not corporate standards. Documents are by default
stored under "My Computer," so they cannot be shared, since only the
specific user will be able to access them. The first thing to do is
change this setting. Go to Tools | Settings (henceforth referred to
as "Settings") | Files. Change the default document location to
wherever on your network your files are stored, e.g., g:\docs or
g:\data. In Word, this is available under Tools | Options | File
Next, you need to decide where your templates and macros will
reside. Go to Settings | Files and change the default template to
"c:\program files\WordPerfect Office 12\template\custom wp
templates," and macros to "c:\program files\WordPerfect Office
12\macros\wpwin" (as opposed to the default "Documents and Settings
etc." which is different for every user). This makes it easier to
maintain firm standards, since all users will reference the same
There are a variety of adjustments in Settings that you should
Note that the way the screen and toolbars display is governed by
the options selected under "View." If some items mysteriously
"disappear" you can probably get them back by looking at this menu
item and changing/re-selecting options. If everything
disappears, Escape or Alt-V will bring it back.
In Word, similar settings are under Tools | Options. The various
tabs are relatively self-evident.
Two of the most critical options to turn off in Word are
SmartTags and Track Changes. SmartTags are notorious for being
unreliable (randomly changing embedded web addresses for example);
more important they provide an open path for viruses and spyware
into your system.
Unless used very carefully, Track Changes poses critical metadata
issues: if you send the document to opposing counsel, they may be
able to see all the edits you have made in the document. If you use
Track Changes it is imperative to get a metadata cleanser, such as
the one offered by Payne Consulting (www.payneconsulting.com).
Strange formatting behavior is often explained by settings in
Tools | QuickCorrect. I suggest setting the following defaults under
"Format As You Go":
Do NOT capitalize next letter after end-of-sentence
punctuation. There are too many exceptions (especially in
Do NOT correct TWo IRregular CAps. There are so many acronyms
these days that this will drive you crazy.
Do NOT check QuickIndent - Tab works more like Indent. Again,
this will drive you nuts.
If you do a lot of litigation with extensive case citations,
you may want to uncheck replacing ordinals with superscript (1st).
Normally, you want to leave Smart Quotes turned on–they
produce a much better-looking document.
If you want to use a default font other than the ubiquitous Times
Roman, simply turn on reveal codes, and at the very top of the
document click on "Open Style: Document Style." Select the desired
font and check the "Use as Default" box at the lower right, and all
future documents will be created with the new font. Some firms
prefer to use Arial or Garamond, Century Schoolbook, Palatino or
some other font.
In Word 2003, this is done by editing the "Normal" style. Make
sure to have "auto update" OFF, since otherwise you can end up with
entire paragraphs bolded, when you only wanted to bold one word.
WordPerfect has two important functions that are lacking in Word:
Save to PDF and Document Comparison.
Save to PDF is under File | Publish to | PDF. You do not need
a separate copy of Acrobat and you do not need to use a clumsy
"print to" function to do this. You can massage the parameters of
the PDF file that is created if you wish.
Document Comparison. Under File | Document | Compare |
Compare Only. You can set the "redlining" options under Settings (if
you do not have a color printer, select colors carefully as they may
not print optimally). Once you have chosen your settings, select the
document against which the document on the screen is to be compared,
and select Compare Only.
Note that while Word technically has this function, it is so
unreliable that Microsoft recommends not using it on legal
documents. The Word equivalent is to use Track Changes, but that
carries with it the problems associated with metadata.
Word’s Autotext function is well-known: you select an item
(address or other information) you wish to be able to reproduce, and
save it as AutoText. Thereafter, when you start typing, Word offers
to complete the entry.
WordPerfect splits this functionality into two parts.
QuickCorrect was originally intended to correct common spelling
errors on the fly: so if you type "eht" instead of "the," it is
corrected as you type. However, this feature can be expanded
significantly. For example, if you create a "quickcorrect" entry of
"cgss" you can have it "correct" to "Connecticut General Statutes
Section ." In addition, if you type the entry in all caps, the
expansion is also all caps. To create a QuickCorrect entry, type the
full entry, select it, then go to Tools | QuickCorrect and type in
the abbreviation. Do not use an abbreviation you may actually want
to type (such as a person’s initials). In this instance, follow it
with an "x" or preface it with a non-alpha character (e.g., jfhx or
QuickCorrect expands text that does not contain any formatting
(Hard Returns, Tabs, fonts, etc.). Quick Words works the same way,
but lets you insert formatting, so that it can be used for
addresses, signature blocks or any boilerplate text. The process of
creating a QuickWord is the same: select the entry, go to Tools |
QuickWords and type in the abbreviation. When you hit the space bar,
the entry expands.
What WordPerfect terms the "Property Bar" is normally the second
button bar. It is context-sensitive, so that different options will
appear when you are using different functions (tables, footers,
etc.). In normal text, there are two useful functions at the
right-hand end of this bar. The first is the normal spell-check box.
If the word is misspelled, it appears in red as you type. Clicking
on the down arrows gives you suggestions. However, if the word is
spelled correctly, clicking on the down arrow brings up
Thesaurus options, which can be useful in reducing repetitive
To the left of this box, there is a "snowflake" icon. When you
click the down arrow, this gives you the last 16 special symbols you
have used: ¶, §, ©, ™, or even a smiley face: . This is a very quick
and easy way to insert symbols into your documents.
You will most likely want to customize button bars. The procedure
is the same in both Word and WordPerfect: right-click on the button
bar, select "Edit" and add any options you want.
Making the adjustments that best suit your practice will make
your computing life both easier and more productive.