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Productivity Software for Lawyers

The purpose of this guide is to highlight tools and techniques available in common productivity software that you may not have had reason to use before, but that can be especially useful to lawyers and legal professionals.


Most lawyers spend a lot of time in Word.  Word processing is a big part of legal practice, and many of the documents lawyers produce, like briefs, motions, pleadings, interrogatories, and contracts, can be long and complicated, with strict formatting requirements.

Formatting a Document

Below are a collection of tutorials and blog posts that demonstrate how to format a document properly.  There are many ways to make your document look the way it needs to, but by using these tools, you can usually save yourself a lot of time and aggravation, and sometimes make it easier to avoid mistakes.

How to create a table of authorities or table of contents.

This is a common task when writing briefs
•  Tabs for TOC & Authorities (1:46 min)
•  Building a Table of Contents (6:33 min)
•  Building a Table of Authorities (9:53 min)
•  Using Microsoft Word’s table of authorities ( by way of the Internet Archive)

How to format a brief

This is a useful guide to all the steps involved in formatting a legal brief in Word
•  How to format an appellate brief ( by way of the Internet Archive)

How to create a template for documents you produce often

If you create a kind of document frequently, you can save time formatting it by creating a template.
•  Video: Create an easily customizable template in Word 2010
•  Using Legal Templates in Word 2013

How to use styles in your documents

Styles make it easier to create and modify documents, and cut down on formatting mistakes.

•  Using Microsoft Word Styles ( by way of the Internet Archive)
•  Change Default Font and Spacing

How to view and fix formatting

Sometimes it can be hard to make a document do what you want, especially if you received it from someone else.  This is how you look under the hood to find out what’s wrong.
•  Fix Formatting Fast: Five Microsoft Word Tricks

How to use field codes

Field codes are placeholders for information like dates and client names.  You can use them to automate repetitive parts of document creation.

•  Field codes in Word
•  Insert fields
•  The missing date code in your Microsoft Word document (

Advanced page numbering

•  Auto numbering Microsoft Word documents: beyond paragraphs (
•  Insert sections with different page numbers (4:59 min)

Keyboard Shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts save time.  It's almost always worth it to memorize them for the tasks you use frequently.

•  List of keyboard shortcuts for Word


How to compare documents

•  Compare with legal blackline (find out what’s different between two documents.  This process is also referred to as red-lining)
•  Merge comments and changes

How to track changes

•  Track Changes (3:49 min)
•  Don’t let track changes trip you up (

Commenting on documents

•  Insert or delete a comment

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