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Microsoft Word Fundamentals for Efficient Lawyers and Law Students

This guide provides tips and links to tutorials for key tasks in Word that lawyers and law students undertake daily.

Track Changes

Problem: You are collaborating on a document with another person, and you want to make changes to that document.  However, you’d like for the changes to stand out so that the other person knows what you have inserted, deleted, or moved.  

Solution: Before making changes to the document, enable Word’s Track Changes feature on the Review tab to show your changes to the document.   

Explanation: Track Changes will show the text that you inserted, as well at the text that you deleted or moved. Attorneys often refer to a document that includes Track Changes as a Redline Document.

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Tutorial

Accept or Reject Track Changes

Problem: Your drafting partner has tracked changes within our document.  However, you want to incorporate some of the changes, but not all of them. 

Solution: On the Review tab, you have the option to accept or reject changes within your document.   

Explanation: You can choose to accept all of the changes in a document, or you can accept each change one by one, also rejecting changes that you do not want to integrate into your document.  By the end, you should have a clean document without tracked changes.

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Tutorial:

Pro Tip: A document including tracked changes will more than likely be returned to you with the Track Changes feature still enabled.  So that you don’t end up tracking your subsequent changes if you don’t want to do so, disable Track Changes as soon as you open the document.

Insert or Delete a Comment

Problem: You are collaborating on a document, and you want to leave a suggestion for your colleague within the document.

Solution: Add a margin comment to the document; you can find the Comment button under the Review Tab.  You can later delete this comment—and any other comments you add—when you no longer need the comment.

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Explanation: The Comment feature is a useful tool when you want to leave yourself notes about your document, or you want to provide notes about the document for others to read. 

Tutorial

Pro Tip: Tracking changes and adding comments become metadata within your document. If you are creating the document as a part of your law practice, this metadata may include privileged information or other internal communications that you should not provide or do not wish to provide to opposing counsel, the client, the judge, or whomever else ends up with the document. Therefore, before sending the document electronically outside of your workplace, carefully remove this metadata by deleting all comments and accepting or rejecting all changes within the document.