The curser is now flashing. Any key struck, or functions performed with the mouse,
will be recorded, just as a tape recorder records everything it hears. Type (without the
quotes), “Should you have any questions, please contact me.” When finished,
again choose TOOLS-MACRO-RECORD.
Recording is now stopped and a macro named “question” has been
created. To test it, choose TOOLS-MACRO-PLAY, then under the
alphabetical list of macros find and select “question.” The macro will play just
as recorded and the sentence you typed will appear on the screen.
To best use macros, begin by compiling a list of commonly
typed statements used in the correspondence issued by you and your office.
Anything that frequently appears in letters is a good
candidate for a macro. Statements such as “Thank you for your attention to this
matter” and “I look forward to hearing from you” can be recorded, never to
be typed again.
Make a list of all these statements, and jot down a macro
name beside each. Then record each macro as noted above. Keep your list for later, when
you will assign the macros to your keyboard. Next, repeat this process with entire letters
that are frequently sent.
Examples include letters to courts enclosing pleadings,
letters to opposing attorneys enclosing deposition notices, etc. One of my macros is named
“Stipulation” and produces the following letter to the court:
Enclosed is a Stipulation and Order of Dismissal for the
above-entitled case. Please present this Stipulation and Order of Dismissal to Judge _____
for his signature and return two true copies in the enclosed self-addressed stamped
envelope. Thank you for your time in this matter.
By carefully typing that letter once as a macro,
I’ve spared myself from ever having to type it again. I just play the macro, type in
the appropriate judge’s name, and the letter is finished.
Macros can record tasks beyond mere typing. For example,
sometimes I wish to delete everything on a page of text. I recorded the following macro: EDIT-SELECT-ALL (which highlights all text), then EDIT-CUT (which cuts the highlighted text). I now have a completely
blank page, at the touch of two buttons, rather than a series of motions. That brings to
mind another advantage of macros: If the demon of word processing is carpal tunnel
syndrome, that demon’s worst enemy is the macro. Every keystroke, every click of the
mouse saved is less wear and tear on the arms and wrists.
Keep an eye on your word processing throughout the day
and more macros will come to mind.
Years after creating my first macro, I still stumble
across ones I can’t believe I never thought to record before. The list keeps growing,
making my job increasingly easier.
First, however, the new macros have to be assigned to the
Keys to the Keyboard
The keyboard is a much more versatile tool than it
appears at first glance. The SHIFT, CONTROL
AND ALT keys are powerful allies in the fight against
drudgery. Your keyboard can be personalized to make the most of macros, shrinking the job
of document production to its rightful size.
Take a look under FILE-PREFERENCES-KEYBOARD.
A short list of keyboard choices will pop up. Each has its own layout. Click EDIT and the selected keyboard layout will appear. Now, click CONTROL-B on the small keyboard on screen.
The window above the keyboard will display the function
assigned to these keys: Attribute BOLD.
This and any keyboard layout can be altered in almost any
way desired. All the default macros can be deleted and new ones assigned, or some of the
default macros kept. The latter is the best method, since almost everyone uses a few of
the preassigned macros. If CONTROL-B has been used for years
to produce bold type, then better not to delete that one.
To start, make a list of each and every macro already in
use. If necessary, maintain this list for a few days until certain all macros in use are
listed — the rest will be deleted, making room for new ones.
A cautionary note: These instructions assume you are the
only person using your computer. If someone else uses it, be sure to inform him or her of
the changes being made.
Unless the co-worker agrees to use your new keyboard
layout, always switch back to the default keyboard layout at the end of the day;
otherwise, that co-worker is going to begin the day extremely baffled … and irritated.
To create a new keyboard layout, select FILE-PREFERENCES-KEYBOARD. Choose CREATE
and type in a name for the keyboard (your first or last name will do).
After clicking OK, your new
keyboard layout will pop up. The window in the upper left corner displays all the
currently assigned macros.
Simply scroll down that list, and for each macro you do
not use, highlight it, then click the UNASSIGN button beneath
That will clear each combination of keys for reassignment
to the new macros you assign.
After deleting the macros no longer in use, the new
macros can be assigned to the keyboard. Exit your keyboard layout for a moment and compose
two tables just like figures A and B (see Page 74). These charts will be filled in with
the new macro names beside the keys that trigger them.
Later, you can print the charts out and use them as
reference guides when word processing. I keep one chart to the left and the other to the
right of my computer monitor.
By the way, other combinations of SHIFT,
CONTROL AND ALT are available, but the combinations on these
tables should do for now.
To begin assigning macros, return to FILE-PREFERENCES-KEYBOARD, then select EDIT.
Your keyboard layout will reappear. Begin with CONTROL A,
hitting those keys on the keyboard facsimile on screen. If a macro is already assigned to
it, write its name in the blank space beside “CTRL A”
(see Figure A on Page 74) and proceed to CONTROL B. If a
macro isn’t assigned to it, CONTROL A is available for a
Assuming CONTROL-A is
available, we will assign a new macro to it. Still in the FILE-PREFERENCES-KEYBOARD
window, look for ASSIGN KEY TO. Below that are four options,
the fourth being PLAY A MACRO. Choose that option. Directly
below PLAY A MACRO is the button ASSIGN
MACRO. Click it. A window pops up containing the names of all recorded macros.
Scroll down the list until you have located the first of your macros. Highlight that
macro, then click SELECT. Write the name of the macro you
selected on your table next to “CTRL A.”
Your first macro is now ready for action. Simply repeat
the process until all your macros have been assigned. When finished, click OK to exit the
In no time, your keyboard will be transformed from a
factory clone into a highly personalized shortcut machine. With your charts for reference,
you will quickly learn the keys for the new macros and soon fly through word processing
When I arrived for my first day at the office, the files
for each of the attorneys’ cases were stored separately on 3.5” disks.
Not only was this a dangerously unreliable system for
data storage (3.5” disks being fragile at best), but it was exceedingly clumsy,
requiring constant shuffling of disks with every new task, question and phone call.
Frankly, pure frustration led to my reconfiguring the entire file organization system.
I began by devising a fairly simple system of two easily
accessed directories of files, one for all open files and the second for all closed files.
(Please note these instructions are for users of Windows
3.1 or Windows 95. Owners of Windows 98 or later versions should follow the directions in
tips box on Page 74.)
The first order of business is to create the two master
directories, C:OPEN AND C:CLOSED. C:OPEN.
These will contain all open cases, as well as pleadings and other materials, while C:CLOSED will be used to store all files which have been
completely closed out. They look like this:
and so on …
and so on …
To create these, just click OPEN
FILE-FILE OPTIONS-CREATE DIRECTORY. In the window, type C:OPEN
and select CREATE. Now repeat those steps and create the C:CLOSED directory.
Next, you will want to make C:OPEN
the default directory in WordPerfect. Select FILE-PREFERENCES-FILE.
In the center of the window that pops up, find DEFAULT DIRECTORY.
There will be a small window beside it where you will type C:OPEN.
You have made C:OPEN the
directory where 90 percent of your computer time will be spent, without the need to jump
back and forth between directories. The only time you need exit C:OPEN
is when working with closed files, or using programs other than WordPerfect.
Using the same steps, create the directory C:OPEN1-PLEADINGS, where you can store all
“boilerplate” documents such as notices, blank subpoenas, etc. By using
“1-”, your pleadings folder will stay near the top of the directory, making it
easy to access. You may also want to create a C:FILE1-OPEN
directory where all other documents can be stored.
Finally, for each open case, create a directory under C:OPEN. For instance, the directory for Jack Smith v Hotel Inc.,
might be saved as C:OPENSMITH. Do the same for all closed
cases under C:CLOSED. Now simply copy the appropriate files
into each directory.
After creating the directories and moving all the files
— which should take an hour or two — you need to create further directories only
when opening new files or moving a closed file from C:OPEN
Now, in every case directory, I save the first file as
“1-LIST.” This file will contain a heading with all the case information,
followed by a list of all letters and documents pertaining to the case. For example, one
of my typical case directories might look like this:
x JAMES DOE v SMITH INC.
x Smith County Circuit Court
x Judge John Smith
x Case No.: 00-111-000-00
x Our File No.: A-000
x a1 Ltr to court
x a2 Answer to Complaint
x a3 Ltr to client
One of the best features of this filing system is having
the ability to search through all your open cases at once if necessary.
If you are not familiar with the WordPerfect QuickFinder
feature, I will briefly explain the process a little later in this article.
Need to know how many trials are approaching? Simply use
an appropriate search string and the answer will quickly appear.
With every case in its own directory, you can obviously
search for information on a specific case in just a matter of seconds.
Meanwhile, the C:CLOSED directory
saves the computer from looking through closed cases while performing searches.
This system also allows you to develop such useful
information as the flow of new cases by month, how many files are handled by various
attorneys, the outcome of cases by specific judges, and so on.
The Search Is On
QuickFinder is an excellent feature that makes finding
information a snap. To use it, you need only select FILE OPEN,
then click the set of files you wish to search.
For example, to search through all open files, you would
click FILE OPEN, select C: and then click the OPEN directory. Select the QuickFinder button to the left of the
window. You may limit searches by dates or place various limits on the search phrase.
The Essence Is Speed
When printing a number of documents, WordPerfect can be
frustratingly slow in transmitting the data to the printer. However, there is a quick way
to rev up that process. Choose FILE-SELECT PRINTER-SETUP-OPTIONS.
Now set the controls as follows:
x Max Resolution: 300
x Grays: Line Art
x Printer Memory: 14MB or more
x Fonts: Use Printer Fonts
x Page Protection: Use all memory for printing
While these selections will maximize your printing speed,
the difference in quality is barely noticeable. You will especially notice a difference
when printing envelopes.
The only time you may want to change these printing
preferences is when printing tables, graphs or anything else beyond mere text.
To perform those operations, temporarily change the
maximum resolution to the highest dpi available and the “Grays” to
Buttoning Down the Button Bar
— Powering Up the Power Bar
Unless you use the features on the button bar, which
include drop caps, watermarks and other functions, it serves only as a distraction.
Why not hide the button bar to clean up your workspace?
Select VIEW, then click on and release the “Button
Bar” selection. The button bar is now out of sight.
The power bar, on the other hand, is quite useful,
allowing easy access to common features such as saving and printing documents. However,
it’s unnecessary to have all the features visible on the power bar.
To select the features you wish displayed on the button
bar, right-click in the gray area along the power bar, highlight “Preferences”
You can now check those features you want displayed and
uncheck those you can do without. While still in the Preferences window, you can also
arrange the buttons as you like by clicking on them and sliding them into the desired
Shifting Back Up Into Reverse
Backing up files is an important habit to develop, making
WordPerfect’s automatic backup unnecessary … if you save your work often enough.
Getting into the habit of saving work constantly is much
safer than relying on WordPerfect to do it, and your work will not be interrupted by the
slower backup of the program.
For this reason, I recorded a macro to make ALT-4 my save buttons, then trained myself to use ALT-4 every time I had to stop typing .
You might want to record a macro such as ALT-4, accustom yourself to using it a few weeks, and then
eliminate the automatic backup altogether. To do so, select FILE-PREFERENCES-FILE.
Towards the bottom of the window, uncheck “Timed
Document Backup.” You are now on your own.
WordPerfect is probably one of the most versatile word
processing programs ever designed. For more ideas on how to effectively use this program,
leaf through the User’s Guide —it makes for good reading and keep an eye out for
those new macros.