Configuring Word and Outlook 2002
Although most people use Word or WordPerfect "out of
the box," this is a mistake, because they are depriving themselves of
a great deal of power and increased ease of use that is afforded by both
This article focuses on configuring Word 2002 with particular reference to
users coming from WordPerfect. Most of these options are also applicable to
earlier versions of Word.
Configuration starts with your installation. You should never use Word’s
default installation, because by default it does not install document converters
for WordPerfect files. Therefore if someone tells you that Word "cannot open"
your WordPerfect file, it is likely that the program was installed using the
default settings. When you install Word be sure to use custom settings and
install WordPerfect converters.
Installing WordPerfect Help and/or WP keystrokes may seem like a good idea.
However, the keystrokes listed are those used by WP 5.1, not any of the Windows
versions of WordPerfect. If you install WP keystrokes, the keyboard will default
to WP5.1 keystrokes. I do not recommend this. A much better comparison of the
two programs’ functionality is found in WordPerfect help under "Keyboard
Shortcuts" and "Microsoft Word Help". You might want to print this out for ease
Language settings. Word 2002 ships with a primitive speech recognition tool
which is definitely not ready for prime time. Not installing this function will
save you a lot of hassle (getting rid of it once installed is problematic).
Once Word is installed, you should go through and tweak the default settings
to the way you want. Settings are found under Tools|Options ("Options") and
Tools| Customize ("Customize"). I suggest you review them all. Many "weird" or
unexpected results in Word can be traced to one of these settings. The following
are settings I recommend: you may choose additional or different options.
By default, Word now shows truncated or variable menus (including your most
recently used functions). This means you can never tell where something really
can be found and can be extremely disconcerting. (Go to Customize|Options|always
show full menus). Also check "show the keyboard shortcuts on menu options"
Smart Tags. This new feature is a mixed bag. On the one hand, it can be
useful for importing information from Outlook. On the other hand, its main
function is to "leap" to a web site directly. This could be useful for online
reference to court cases, but it opens the door to both abuse and viruses. You
may wish to turn it off. (Options|Save|Embed Smart tags off)
Do full justification like WP 6.1. Word does "full justification" by adding
spaces between words, which leads to an ugly "spacy" look. WordPerfect adjusts
space between both words and letters which leads to a much "smoother" look.
(Options| Compatibility|Do full justification like WP 6.x)
Configure your custom dictionary either by importing a list of words into it
or by running a number of your standard documents through the spell checker and
adding words to the custom dictionary. "Custom.dic" is an ascii (plain text)
file and can be edited in Notepad. In Windows 2000, it is found under Documents
and Settings|username|ApplicationData| Microsoft|Proof.
The grammar checking function will just cause annoyance (especially for legal
writing). Turn it off at Tools| Options| Spelling & Grammar.
Make sure you leave paragraph symbols turned ON. Microsoft stores format
information for a given paragraph in the symbol at the end of the paragraph.
Deleting a paragraph symbol (especially the last one in a document) can lead to
unexpected results. (Options|View| Paragraph Marks).
One copy of Word or many copies? By default, Word opens a separate copy of
itself for each document you create. Unless you have lots of memory (if you get
a new PC using Windows 2000 or Windows XP, it is worth springing for 512Mb of
memory), this can create problems. You can change this setting so that only one
copy of Word is running: (Options|View|uncheck Windows in Taskbar). If you do
this and have multiple documents open, select Windows in the menu bar to see the
Page Setup. Word defaults to left and right margins of 1.25". Most law firms
use 1" margins. Go into File | Page Layout. Change the margins as needed, then
click the "Default" button at the lower left of the Page Layout window to set
those margins as your default for all future documents.
Unless you really need them, turn Track Changes OFF. There are many
formatting problems with track changes in Word 2002, not least of which is that
it makes the word count function unpredictable, which can have serious
consequences when submitting briefs to court (this was a problem that existed in
Word 97 and was then fixed by Microsoft, but has popped up its ugly head again).
It also can prevent you from choosing how deleted text is displayed. (Tools|Track
Make sure you set Tools| Options| Security to Warn before sending file with tracked changes. While this can be annoying (you get the warning every time
you print a document), it can also save you a lot of grief. Otherwise, if you
send your document to opposing counsel they may be able to see any changes you
made when you were editing different versions of the document. However, even
this setting does not eliminate all "metadata" and you should consider
purchasing Payne Consulting’s Metadata Assistant (www.payneconsulting.com) if
you routinely exchange documents with other firms.
Finally, Word 2002 offers the option to send documents to Microsoft in the
event of a crash. Since there is a possibility that sending a document to
Microsoft could be construed as breaching attorney-client privilege (probably a
slim one, but better safe than sorry – that’s why you carry malpractice
insurance), I recommend against doing this as a matter of policy.
The final area to customize is your button bars. Both Word and WordPerfect
ship with what might be called "demo button bars," that is, ones that contain
neat features if you are doing a demo, but which you will likely never use in
actual document production (especially in a legal environment). Everyone will
have their own favorites: my recommendation is to create buttons for frequently
used functions that are more than one level deep in the menu structure.
Style Separator. Word 2002 now lets you put two styles on the same line (part of Microsoft’s effort to catch up
with functionality WordPerfect has had for years). However, this option does not
appear on any menu and must be added to the button bar to function. From the
View menu, choose Toolbars | Customize. Select the Commands tab and "All
Commands" from the Category list. Select InsertStyleSeparator and drag it to the
Two productivity features that are not used enough are AutoText and
AutoCorrect. You will want to review the Tools| AutoCorrect functions. In
particular, In the AutoFormat as you Type section, consider turning off the
"Apply Built-in Heading Styles" and the "Replace Internet ...paths with
hyperlinks," as well as "Set... Indent with Tabs." You may wish to make other
changes as well.
The main thing is NOT to use Word as your email editor. It will create
endless problems. Tools | Options | Mail Format and uncheck "Use MS Word" and
"Use MS Word rich text."
Using Microsoft products is an open invitation to virus
attacks. There is no substitute for standard anti-virus practices: (1) always
view, never open an email from anyone you don’t know or one you are not
expecting from someone you do know; (2) turn off the viewer pane in Outlook
(anything that appears here is automatically "opened"); (3) turn ON file
extensions to prevent viruses with double extensions from slipping through
(e.g., Anna.jpg.vbs); (4) depending on how paranoid you are, rename cscript.exe and
wscript.exe in the windows (or winnt) directory to prevent viruses from
executing – note: this is the most extreme step and may have unwanted
side-effects, so this step is not for everyone. Also, you want to have an
up-to-date anti-virus program with weekly updates for both your server and
workstations. Norton and McAfee are two leading anti-virus makers.
You have to apply security patches for Outlook and Internet
Explorer as well as for Word. Outlook uses IE to render HTML email and for other
functions, so even if you use Netscape you still have to worry about patching
Internet Explorer. In addition, Microsoft’s "critical patches" are notoriously
buggy (the most recent one, for example, mysteriously changes the font in some
Outlook screens). So you need to be careful about applying Microsoft patches,
but you also need to apply them. If you are using Windows XP, go to Control
Panel | Performance and Maintenance | System and set Automatic Updates to choose
before you download.
There are many resources for information concerning Word. Two of the best are
Payne Consulting’s Word 2002 for Law Firms (available at any major bookstore)
and Woody Leonhard’s newsletter at www.woodyswatch.com, "Woody’s Office Watch –
Weekly advice and commiseration from Woody Leonhard, Certified Office Victim"
which features up to date information on all subjects Microsoft.
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