Top 3 Tips for When Document Formatting Drives You Crazy

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By George Khoury, Esq. on March 18, 2019 6:50 AM

We've all been there ... it's late, you're trying to get your pleading finalized and ready for efiling, when all of a sudden, your formatting snaps out of place. And unfortunately, the age old remedy of just whacking your monitor isn't going to fix it.

Formatting documents can be among the most painful tasks that attorneys have to tackle, particularly when it's after hours and the support staff has long since gone home, and your lines just won't line up with the numbers.

So for you late night pleaders, and support-staff-less lawyers, below are three helpful tips to end your formatting nightmares. 

1. Copy and Paste to the Rescue

Sometimes your formatting is off because there's something off with an element of the document's page setup. Even if you don't know what's wrong, one simple way to correct formatting issues is to copy the text from your document, and paste it into a Rich Text or Plain Text document editor, like Notepad. Then, open a new template, or form (then "Save as" of course) and copy the text form Notepad and paste it into the new template.

If you still use WordPerfect, then the pain could be much worse as whole document elements could be hidden (coded) anywhere, which means you might have to try duplicating, then cutting (not copying) and pasting paragraph by paragraph. So, really, if you're still on WordPerfect (and you aren't a master of WordPerfect's coding), then switch to Microsoft Word and start your pleading over from scratch, cause it'll just save you time (unless you have access to a WordPerfect guru to save you).

2. Google Is Amazing

For any computer problem you have, Google likely has an answer. Just literally type in whatever question you have about what's going on, and like magic, Google will show you several possible answers. Even you WordPerfect people might be able to stave off switching to Word for a little while longer with good Googling.

The more specific of a question you ask Google, the more narrow the result will be. ProTip: include the uncooperative software's name in the search query.

3. Phone a Tech Savvy Lawyer Friend

It has been proven well beyond any reasonable shadow of a doubt, misery loves company. And while you may not be able to figure out your formatting woes, a tech savvy lawyer friend may be able to do it in less than a minute and email it back to you in a pdf version that can be efiled without incident.

Seriously, this is why you do favors for tech people, and especially tech savvy lawyers.

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