Amortization Schedules in a FLASH!

Check out Quattro Pro, Corel’s spreadsheet program! And yes. Excel has amortization templates and maybe I will blog about them – but not it is not this day! (I just watched Return of the King) With Quattro, this is WAY too easy! Check it out!

(In Quattro 9, 10, 11 and 12) From the menu, select Tools, Numeric Tools, and then Analysis Tools. The second item is Amortization Schedule. Select it and a dialog box will be displayed:

Output Cells: This automatically fills in, so leave it & see if it works for you before you modify it.

Interest Rate: you know what to do.

Term: (years): yet again, you are smart – go for it.

Original: Enter the original loan amount.

Ending Balance: what? I’m thinking zero?

Last Year: Enter last year you need to see.

Choose “Finish” and in a FLASH, you see your results!

cool beans.

Should your firm switch from WordPerfect to Word?

Be warned, if you want a yes or no answer, you won’t find any bobble heads here. Rather than say “Yes! Switch!” and ride the gravy train through your conversion, I’m going to suggest you take a step back and objectively think this through with me.

Let’s start with your goals. What are you trying to accomplish by converting to MS Word? What do you want/need to do that you can’t do now? Why can’t you do it? Are you having trouble with document formatting? Is it that you just don’t know how to successfully convert your documents from Word to WordPerfect and back? When is the last time you had computer training? What version of WordPerfect are you currently using? Do you need to upgrade your software to WP13?

(If you switched to MS Word, it wouldn’t be to Word 97, Word XP or Word 2002, so why expect an outdated version of WordPerfect to work “perfectly” with the newer versions of MS Word your clients may be using?)

Why does any “WordPerfect Firm” consider switching to Word? Time and time again, the reason has been the same: To allow clients to revise their documents and . . . “everybody uses Word.” If that’s your answer, I have two responses:

1. If you regularly update your software, you have always had the ability to successfully convert documents from Word to WordPerfect and back.

Even if you have an outdated version of WordPerfect, there is a “trick” you can employ. For more information, see my post entitled “Converting Between WordPerfect and Word

2. If you currently grant your clients the right to edit their own legal documents, consider a change in methodology to eliminate the risks associated with doing so, while eliminating extra work at the same time.

What do I mean by “a change in methodology?” Collaborate on document content instead of sharing editing rights. When I say that out loud, I’m often asked to explain the difference, so let me say it another way: Just because you collaborate on document content, doesn’t mean the document must be edited by all the collaborators. Doing so exposes you to risk.

(Risks? What risks? Sharing document revision with clients and outside attorneys puts law firms at risk. To better understand the risks, read my posts entitled, “Metadata, Shmetadata. It won’t happen to me.” and “Just because we can, doesn’t mean we should.”)

The following alternative should be considered:

If you are already a “WordPerfect Firm,” continue to harness the power of WordPerfect to create and edit complex legal documents. If you are a “Word Firm” continue to use Word (hopefully maximizing results with styles and templates). Incorporate the use of the latest Adobe Acrobat as outlined below. Provide documents to clients in MS Word format only when the client demands editing rights.

Offering the production of legal documents as a value added service will be much easier with new clients. Established clients will need to be convinced this upgrade in service will better protect their interests. The successful implementation of the following methodology is the best evidence.

Providing Documents to Clients: Since 2004, with the release of Adobe Acrobat 7 (and now v8), the FREE Adobe Reader provides on screen commenting, markup and text edits (if they are enabled by the sender of the document). The process is VERY easy for both the sender and the reviewer. The Adobe Reader even recognizes this comment enabled document and walks the reviewer through the process. Reviewing in Adobe Acrobat Reader allows for document collaboration, but it does not allow the reviewer to actually modify the original document. Revisions can then be done in house, protecting the integrity of the document content and eliminating that risk I mentioned before. For additional information, check out the link below. The “Collaboration” section in the Legal Professional White Paper is very compelling.

http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/solutions/legal

Receiving Documents from Clients: If you decide to accept revised documents in MS Word, simply upgrade the latest version of WordPerfect (v13, also called x3). Documents received in MS Word format can easily be opened with WPx3.

(Use the Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack to enable Word 2007 documents to be opened in previous versions of MS Word.)

Before dismissing all this and continuing to allow clients to edit their legal documents in MS Word, an understanding of the risks mentioned above and in the Adobe White Paper is critical. After gaining a full understanding of the risks, ask yourself, “Who is ultimately responsible for the content of the document?” Who will the client say is ultimately responsible? If, after considering the risks, a decision is made to continue to allow others to edit legal documents, converting them between MS Word and WordPerfect is seamless with WordPerfect x3.

My professional recommendation is for law firms to offer clients the value added service of legal document creation and production. (Remember when we used to do that?) Take back ownership of the editing process. Provide documents to clients for review only, in PDF format. Incorporate those changes in house – with whatever word processing software your firm currently uses.

Allowing others to edit documents for which your firm is ultimately responsible exposes you to risk. More and more, documents are being provided in PDF for review. Even the courts require documents be submitted PDF.

So before asking the question “Should our firm switch from WordPerfect to Word?” ask the question, “Should our firm provide documents to clients in PDF for review and comment only, maintaining editing rights to guarantee the integrity of our documents and eliminate our risk?” I know it’s a long question, but you’re attorneys, you can handle it.

Where’s that bobble head when you need it?

Hey WordPerfect! Where is "Advanced Find" in the Open Menu?

The Short Answer: You probably have a version of WordPerfect which doesn’t include the QuickFinder. Those versions are: OEM, Home, Family Pack, Productivity Pack or any WordPerfect product that came free with your computer.

Work Arounds:
1. Use the “Search” feature in Microsoft Windows Explorer. It is not nearly as robust as the QuickFinder, but it’s a fairly good second choice.
2. Purchase or download free search software. Check out some cnet reviews:

http://reviews.cnet.com/4520-3684_7-5536376-1.html

Note: these are desktop search programs and may not work to search for files on a network.

Details, Details, Details: If your Open dialog box doesn’t display a “Find Now” or “Advanced Find” command button, the QuickFinder search utilitity either isn’t installed or turned on. Because the default setting for QuickFinder is “On” it probably isn’t installed.

On the slight chance the feature is turned off, you can enable QuickFinder by following these steps:

1. Launch WordPerfect
2. Click Tools, Settings, File
3. On the Document Tab, enable the option: “Use enhanced file dialogs”
4. Click OK
5. Click Close Now when you go to File, Open you should see: Find Now, Advanced, New Search.
If you still don’t see these command buttons, the QuickFinder is not installed. At this point, there are two possibilities:

1. You own a version of WordPerfect which comes with the QuickFinder search utility and can install it. Again, because the default settings for installation include the QuickFinder installation, this is probably not the case. However, if you own the Standard, Professional or Small Business version, you can install the QuickFinder and can find the direction for each release of WordPerfect in the knowledgebase on http://www.corel.com. The links sometimes change, so I hesitate to provide it here. Go to http://www.corel.com and click “Support” from the navigation bar along the top. Select the option to search the knowledgebase. Under “Products and Services” select “WordPerfect Office” and then, in the submenu, select your release of WordPerfect. I selected “WordPerfect X3” to get the latest information. In the “Search Text” box, I typed “OEM QuickFinder” because I suspected the OEM version was the reason my QuickFinder didn’t appear. I was right.

2. The second, and most probable possibility is that you do NOT own a version of WordPerfect which comes with the QuickFinder. As I’ve already mentioned, the QuickFinder search utility is NOT available in the OEM, Family Pack, WordPerfect Home Edition and Productivity Pack versions of WordPerfect®. This also includes any version of WordPerfect which were bundled with other software, or came with your computer.

Multi-Tasking with Alt+Tab

This little gem is another one of those keystroke combinations I use EVERY day!

If you currently click on open programs in your task bar to display them, “Alt+Tab” is a great keyboard shortcut for you!

“Alt+Tab” is the is the more common name for Windows “Task Switcher” which is used to switch (or toggle) between open programs without using the mouse. Here are two ways you can use “Alt+Tab” to help you when working with multiple programs:

1. Pressing and releasing the “Alt+Tab” keyboard combination will alternate between the two most recently used (and currently open) programs.

2. Pressing and holding the “Alt” key, while continuously (and slowly) tapping the “Tab” key will display a floating menu showing all open programs. The tasks are displayed showing the most recently used programs at the front of the list.

Each tap of the tab key will advance the selection to the next program in the menu. When the “Alt” and “Tab” keys are released, Windows will display the program selected at the time the keys were released.

A more advanced version of this functionality, named Windows Flip, is built into Windows Vista.

Show Desktop [Windows+D] and Minimize All [Windows+M]

Show Desktop [Windows+D] and Minimize All [Windows+M]

What do these handy little keystrokes do? Well, if you press either one of them right now, the window you are reading right now will be minimized and . . .

Did you minimize the screen and have to open this window again? Welcome Back!

Maybe you stayed with me all along, mumbling, “Windows+D? What’s that?”

Either way, I’m referring to the “Windows” key, usually located on the bottom left of your keyboard, between the “Ctrl” and “Alt” keys. It looks like a little flying window. It often appears on the bottom right of your keyboard as well.

[Windows+M] is “Minimize All” and it minimizes all the windows which support the “Minimize” command. You can minimize a window by:

1. Clicking the system menu of any software program (usually the program’s icon, to the left or above “File” in it’s menu) and selecting “Minimize.”

2. Click the “Minimize” button on the right side of a program’s title bar. (It looks like an underscore and is usually the third from the right. The X is the farthest to the right. Hover the mouse over the buttons and you may see a “tool tip” indicating what each one does.)

So, the [Windows+M] keyboard combination “Minimize All” is the same as going to each open window and clicking the Minimize button.

Note: If a window doesn’t have a Minimize button, then it is still displayed. Minimize All won’t minimize windows like dialog boxes, some Control Panel windows or an application which has an open dialog box.

However, “Show Desktop” manages to get a few more windows out of your way than “Minimize All.” Enter [Windows+D] when you want to minimize everything on screen, even Control Panel and Properties dialog boxes. This shortcut leaves nothing but the desktop showing.

There’s one more difference between the two shortcuts: Like the Show Desktop icon, [Windows+D] serves as a toggle. Press it once to minimize everything, then press it again to restore everything as it was.

Check them out! Press and hold the “Windows” key and tap the “D” key. (Don’t forget to tap it again to come back!)

[TAB] [TAB] [TAB] [TAB] [TAB]

Default tabs are set at half inch increments, and while most people know they can change the tab settings in a document, there are countless people all over the world pressing:

[TAB] [TAB] [TAB] [TAB] [TAB]

to move their cursor and text to the desired spot on a page.

please stop. Tabs are EASY! Let’s change a few, shall we?

Before we begin, let’s review some Tab Rules:

1. Make sure your ruler is displayed (View, Ruler).
Setting tabs via the menu and dialog box is WAY too much work.

2. When you make a mistake, UNDO [CTRL+Z].
Trust me. Do not waste time trying to fix a tab. UNDO and try again.

3. Place your cursor where you want the new tab settings to take effect.
See the Blogs on WordPerfect Codes to understand why.

TO REMOVE A TAB, click and drag the little triangle down and off of the ruler bar. When you see the little garbage can, lift your finger off the mouse button.

TO SET A TAB, click the ruler bar, below the numbered line, EXACTLY where you want the tab to be set. If you make a mistake? UNDO and try again.

TO MOVE A TAB, click on the tab you want to move and drag it to another location on the ruler bar. Beware of the garbage can, if you see it, the tab will be deleted if you lift your finger off the mouse button. If you miss clicking on the tab and accidently set another one, right next to it? UNDO and try again.

Congratulations, you are now free from the drudgery of [TAB] [TAB] [TAB] [TAB] [TAB]

Reveal Codes, Simplified.

Overwhelmed when you Reveal Codes in your WordPerfect document? Sure, there are a lot of codes, but for the most part, they fall into two categories: “open” codes and “paired” codes. Let’s look at some visual characteristics and functional differences:

“OPEN” codes appear in Reveal Codes enclosed in a rectangle. When used, they take effect at the location of the cursor and continue to the end of the document OR until they are changed. For instance: Consider an open code which designates that double spacing should begin at a certain place in the document. The text will be double spaced from the starting point (the location of the cursor when the code was changed) to the end of the document OR until a single space code is inserted. Some other examples of open codes? Font, Tab Sets, Date, Headers and Footers and Paper Size designations.

“PAIRED” codes are just that – a pair. There’s a beginning code and an end code. My favorite description of the appearance of paired codes are “little price tags.” The beginning code has a rectangular left side and a pointed right side, while the end code shows a rectangular right side and a pointed left side. They do like little price tags. Some simple examples would be bold, italic and underline. For instance: When you reveal codes to view a bolded word, you will see a beginning code preceding the word and an end code following the word. Whatever lies between the codes is controlled by the codes. One important thing about paired codes – they are a pair. That means that they are inserted together and deleted together. You can’t just delete one. When you do, the other disappears as well.

Admittedly, there’s more to it than that. But it’s a strong start.

Keep Text Together on the Same Line

Ever type a date and have the year wrap to the next line? July 4,
2005.

What about typing a series of numbers and spaces, only to have the text word wrap – separating the numbers and making them difficult to read at a glance?

And what about the name of a person or company? How do you prevent a person’s middle initial from wrapping to the next line? How do you force the “Inc.” to STAY with the company name?

Instead of pressing the space bar, try inserting a “Hard Space” to connect the letters or words.

In WordPerfect, a hard space is inserted at the cursor location by pressing [CTRL+Spacebar].

In Microsoft Word, a hard space, also called a non-breaking space, is inserted at the cursor location by pressing [CTRL+SHIFT+Spacebar]

In WordPerfect, when you reveal the codes, you will see a rectangle with the letters “HSpace” inside. A HSpace code keeps the text together. Use it anytime you need to keep words or letters together on the same line. It’s like typing a hidden character which tricks the computer into thinking two words are really one.

In Word, when you turn on paragraph symbols, the non-breaking space will display as a small circle.

But PLEASE. Don’t use hard/non-breaking spaces to replace tabs.

If you promise not to use hard spaces instead of tabs, I promise to provide information on tabs and how to set them.

Is Outlook Filling In the Wrong Email Addressess?

You begin typing an email address and Outlook automatically fills it in for you.
You think, cool. How did it know that?

This handy feature is called AutoComplete (also referred to as the cache).

Outlook stores the email addresses to which you’ve sent email before. You may have typed the address in manually or you may have used the “Reply” button to send an email. Either way, Outlook remembers. Very nice.

Except:
when it remembers incorrect or invalid email addresses
when it fills in email addresses you don’t use anymore
when you want to send to an alternate email address for a particular contact.

You can’t stop Outlook from saving to the cache unless you completely turn it off or max it out (1,000 entries). Luckily, turning off the cache isn’t necessary if you know how to delete the unwanted entries.

1. Start a new email message and type the first few letters of the name you want to delete.
2. Outlook will display the list of matching entries,
3. Press the down arrow (no clicking!) to the entry you want to remove.
4. Press the Delete key on the keyboard.

Follow the same instructions to delete all your unwanted cache entries!

automatically generate placeholder text in Microsoft Word.

When I provide computer training, I often need fake documents to work with. Most of the time, I will have a trainee type a single sentence and then have them copy and paste it over and over again to create a paragraph. Then I’ll have them copy their little paragraph and paste it over and over again to create a multi-paragraph, multi-page document. It provides some keyboard text selection and cut/copy/paste shortcut key practice and we end up with a safe document to work with during training.

But if you’re using Microsoft Word, there is another way to build a fake document. MS Word can generate random text automatically. Try this:

In MS Word 2003 or earlier, at the beginning of a line, type:

=rand()

Press enter.

The sentence “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog” (which contains every letter of the English alphabet) appears multiple times, forming three paragraphs of five sentences each.

cool.

You can also specify the number of paragraphs and sentences by typing numbers between the parenthesis, like this:

=rand(8,5)

Typing the formula in as it appears above will generate 8 paragraphs of 5 sentences each.

Handy for computer trainers like me and for printers who need sample text. If you can think of other uses for randomly generated text, comment and share!

CLICK HERE for an UPDATE of this feature for Word 2007 & 2010!!

This will not work if:
“Replace text as you type” has been disabled under Tools, AutoCorrect.
If the insertion point immediately follows a page or a column break.