Fonts and Microsoft Word

Because I like computers and associated technology, I have been accused by many people of being a nerd. The thing I find ironic about this is that these people have no idea. Yes, I enjoy using computers, however, if you really want to get my nerd juices flowing, draw me in to a conversation about grammar or typography. (Before you ask, yes my wife rolls her eyes at me when I start talking things like fonts or the subjunctive case mood).

Anyway, I was thrilled to see a recent post titled: Nerdlaw: Thou shalt not defile thy briefs with Microsoft’s default settings.

In this post the author points out the importance of font choice and document design in preparing a brief. Yes, it not just the words you put on the page. How they look when they get there does make a difference. The author has left us a cliffhanger in that he has not yet told us what settings he thinks are appropriate. However, he promises to do so in a future post.

I am waiting for those posts with bated breath.

In the meantime, I urge everyone who drafts briefs to read Painting with Print . . . , which is made available by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. (Note that the link opens a PDF). This article can be one of the best things that you read about persuasive writing.

I am not telling you that you can win an bad argument by having a good looking brief. However, I will tell you that a poorly-presented brief can detract from your argument and that a well-presented brief will add to your argument. the last time that I checked, I want every advantage that I can get while representing my client.

A FAQ for Microsoft Word

Often people do not use Word correctly because they do not understand how the program works. If people knew how the program worked, I believe that more people would use the myriad of features found in Word.

For those who are interested in learning some of those tricks, I have found a great resource posted by Charles Kenyon. The page includes a tutorial, downloads, helpful links, and a host of other aids.

The resources on this page are invaluable and I urge you to check them out.

Microsoft Word Tips for Jury Instructions

I just saw a great tip from Carol’s Corner Office Blog about printing jury instructions. One of the problems with preparing jury instructions is that you need a copy for you, opposing counsel, and the judge with citations on them. You also need jury instructions for the jury without these citations. Of course you can make one set, print them, delete the citation information, and then print them. It always seems, however, that something gets screwed up in this process.

Carol has a great suggestion that I have never heard before. She explains:

  1. Create your Jury Instructions for the judge, complete with citations.
  2. Now select the citations at the bottom of the page.
  3. Click on Format | Font.
  4. Under Effects, select Hidden, which will hide the citation text.
  5. When you are ready to print the judge’s Jury Instructions, click on File | Print or use the shortcut CTRL + P.
  6. From the Print menu, click the Options button.
  7. From the Print dialog box, select Hidden Text under Include with Document.
  8. Click OK two times to close the dialog box and print the document with cites.

I think this is a great tip that I am definately adding to my knowledge base. I just wish I had this tip a few weeks ago when I was preparing jury instructions.