Tuesday, December 31, 2013


We've all done it before. You hit the send button on an email and instantly realized you sent it to the wrong person, or you misspelled something, or you forgot to attach the attachment. Perhaps worst of all, you sent the email out of feelings of frustration or anger and realized too late that sending it wasn't such a good idea.

Once the send button is pressed, it is difficult to impossible to get it back from the receiver. However, you can set up Outlook to not instantly send your emails once you hit the send button. I have mine set to delay sending the email by one minute. It might not seem like a lot, but it is enough time for you to double check your email if you want before it is actually sent out. In an average week, I probably change three of four emails after I have initially hit the send button because of this.

To delay sending emails like this, you need to create a rule. Open Outlook and click on the File tab in the ribbon. Then, choose "Manage Rules & Alerts" in the Info area. In the window that pops up, click on "New Rule" near the top, which will open a new window.

Now, we are going to create a rule that applies to every email sent, so click on "Apply rule on messages I send" and choose next.

In the next window you can narrow down the application of the rule to only certain situations if you like. However, I prefer to have it delay all of my emails, so you can just click next. A pop up will remind you that your new rule will apply to all emails, which is what you want.

In the next window, check the box next to "defer delivery by a number of minutes". Then, in the lower window, click on the link "a number of minutes" and tell it how many minutes you want things delayed by. I chose one, but you can choose however many you like.

In the next window, you can choose situations in which you don't want to delay sending an email. There may be some situations where this makes sense for, but for me, I like having an across the board rule, so I just clicked next. In the last window, give the rule a name and make sure the box next to "Turn on this rule" is checked. Then hit finish.

From now on, when you hit the send button on an email, it will sit in your outbox for the number of minutes you set out in the rule before it is actually sent. Thus, giving you time to either edit the email, add the attachment you forgot, or to decide not to send it after all.

So, even if you have hit the send button, you now have a chance to un-send that ill formed email.

Friday, December 27, 2013


At the end of a case, I often will have several emails between myself and either opposing counsel or my client. As I receive and send emails, I always move those emails into the client's folder in my email inbox so that they are all kept together. But when it comes time to close a case, I don't like having to keep that client's email folder in my inbox. If I did that, my inbox folder list would be too large to easily navigate.

I am left with a few options. I could print out a copy of all of those emails and put with the physical folder. This keeps true to the notion that we should treat email like letters. But, the wanton destruction of trees and the waste of physical space is more than I care for.

Since we have both Adobe Pro XI and Outlook 2010, I've been using the option of converting an entire email folder and its contents into a PDF portfolio. As long as you have Adobe Pro loaded, you should be able to right click on the email folder, and at the bottom of the pop-up menu, you will have an option called Convert "<folder name>" to Adobe PDF.

Click on this and tell it where you want the new PDF portfolio saved. It will then convert all of your emails to PDF documents and store them as a PDF portfolio. This allows you to still easily navigate all of your emails in PDF format. During the conversion process, everything is made word searchable, so you can still search through those emails. Additionally, it brings all of the attachments with it, so you can double click on an attachment and it will open. It still has the look and feel of reading your emails in Outlook, but they are now PDF documents ready for long term storage.

By converting everything in this manner, you will be able to keep an electronic copy of your emails in your now former clients electronic folder and not clogging up your email inbox.

Thursday, December 26, 2013


Due to the holidays, I was out of the office for a bit, but I'm back now and anxious to get back to blogging.

A number of attorneys and firms use Microsoft Outlook as their email client. One of the features of Outlook is the ability to create a "rule" that tells Outlook what to do with your email when it arrives.

As an example, I am signed up to receive email from a number of different listservs, one of which is the Ohio Bar Association Daily Report. As you can guess, most are devoted to technology issues. All email from the listserv comes from the same address, regardless of who sends it. It would be helpful if all of those emails would automatically be put in the folder in which I keep those emails. I can then read them when I have time and they aren't clogging my inbox.

There are a number of ways to create rules, but for this post, we're going to assume you have no experience creating rules. Start by opening an email from the sender you want the rule to apply to. For our example, I would open one of the Ohio Bar Association Daily Reports. In the Message tab of the email's ribbon, there is the "move" group. And within it is a button called "Rules".


Click on Rules and choose "Always Move Messages From: <email address>". Note that <email address> will be filled in with the email address of the sender of the email you had opened. This will cause a new window to pop-up. In the new window, highlight the folder you want Outlook to put all new emails from this sender in. If you don't already have such a folder, you can create one by highlighting where you want the folder to be and clicking new.

When you choose OK, it will run the rule on your entire inbox, moving any email in your inbox from that address to the folder you chose. Then, when you receive new emails in the future, it will automatically move them to your folder, automatically sorting your email for you.

Friday, December 20, 2013


In our office, I have been creating a number of MS Word templates that run macros or other code as soon as they are opened. It could be code that the macro automatically adds our letterhead to the document or that it pulls up a user form that gets information from the place in the document.

People prefer to access these templates in different ways; they sometimes open the template and other times they add a new document based on the template. I have found that it is sometimes easier to code around people's preferences than to try to get them to change their preferences. As a result, I have the templates set up to run the code regardless of how they access the document.

The up side to this is that the end users have the code run regardless of how they enter the document. The down side is that it could make it harder to edit the template when changes need made. In fact, I thought I had created uneditable templates because no matter how the template was opened, it always created a new document and would not give me a chance to change the template. This, naturally, led to frantic Google searching.

The point of this story is to point out that you can open a template or other document without running any macros or code that are otherwise supposed to run at start. To do so, hold down the shift key while the document opens, and none of those codes will run.

Just hoping to help out others who may have a similar problem.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


As you move from a paper-bound practice to a paperless practice, the value of Adobe Pro increases. In a paperless or semi-paperless world, the ability to manipulate .pdf files is incredibly helpful. If you practice in federal court, at least in Ohio, the ability to create and manipulate .pdf files is essentially a requirement.

One of the missing features of Adobe Pro out of the box, at least from this attorney's perspective, is an exhibit stamp. Something that easily allows you to stamp a document as an exhibit to be attached to a pleading or motion that has the look and feel of a rubber exhibit stamp.

Fortunately, Rick Borstein at Acrolaw blog developed such a stamp. I would encourage everyone to read his post in full as it goes into detail about this stamp and how it works. You can download a copy of the file an installation instructions here.

The short version is that once you install it, it adds a new stamp to your stamp palette called Exhibit Stamp, which will contain two types of exhibit stamps.

When you click on your preferred stamp and place it in your document, a window will pop up that asks you what number, or letter, or text you want to place in the stamp.

Once you hit OK, you will now have a movable stamp with your own text in it that can be re-sized or re-positioned as you see fit.

When you are finished adding your stamps, you can flatten your document and the stamps will become a permanent part of the file.

So if you are regularly handling documents electronically, this offers a much cleaner and quicker solution than printing out the documents that need stamped, stamping them, and re-scanning them.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


I'm a huge fan of Google and the Android operating system. I have played around with many of Google's apps and and regularly use a number of them. Yet, things change regularly and new features are added frequently and it is helpful to have a place to see what all Google currently offers.

Whether you are new to what Google offers or already know a lot about Google, it is worth checking out Google Tips. Here, both new and old users are likely to learn tips and tricks for how to get the most out of what Google offers.

h/t The Droid Lawyer

Monday, December 16, 2013


In the last post, we talked about how to add a macro to the Quick Access Toolbar. For those that like to click, this is a good option. If you're like me, you would rather just type in a key combination and have your macro run automatically. Word 2010 makes this very easy to set up.

To do this, go to the File tab on the ribbon and choose option. From in the options, click on the "Customize Ribbon" option in the left column. Then, near the bottom, click on the "Customize" button after the words "Keyboard shortcuts:"

This will bring up the Customize Keyboard window.

Under the Categories list, scroll to the bottom and choose Macros. Then, under the Macros: list (it will pop up after choosing Macros in Categories) choose the macro you want to assign a shortcut key to. Click in the "Press new shortcut key:" box and type in the key combination you want to assign to run your chosen macro. Lastly, click the "Assign" button in the lower left of the window.

Now, whenever you are in Word and type in your shortcut combination you assigned, it will automatically run your macro. Some people will find this easier to use than either opening the macro window or clicking on a button in the Quick Access Toolbar.

Friday, December 13, 2013


There are lots of ways to access macros in Word 2010. You can access them through the macro window, you can assign a macro to a hot key, or you can assign a macro to the Quick Access Toolbar and run it from there. Today, we're going to focus on the latter. If you're not familiar with the Quick Access Toolbar, it is a new feature not present in Word 2003 and prior versions. By default it sits at the top left of the Word window, though you can have it sit below the ribbon if you prefer.

The quick access toolbar is designed to always have displayed commands you frequently use. This way, you don't have to click through the tabs in the ribbon to find the command you want to use. I find the default settings for what is displayed to be fairly unhelpful. But, you can customize it to include the things you actually want up there. For me, include buttons to run macros I frequently use.

To do this, you need to pull up the customize Quick Access Toolbar window. Click on the drop down arrow at the far right of the Quick Access Toolbar and choose "More Commands".

When the window opens, to add a macro, you need to click on the "Choose commands from" drop down and select Macros.

Then, simply highlight the macro you want to have added to the Quick Access Toolbar, click the "Add > >" button and choose OK at the bottom of the window.

Now, Word 2010 will have your selected macro in the Quick Access Toolbar. When you want to run your macro, you only have to click on it at the top of your screen.

Thursday, December 12, 2013


In case you're not familiar, Spotify is a music service that let's you play your favorite songs whenever you want. Best of all, it was always free on the desktop (ad supported of course). However, to get it on your mobile phone, you had to pay a monthly fee.

I've been a big fan of Spotify for well over a year now, and I actually prefer it over other streaming services like Pandora because I get to choose the songs I want to hear when I want to hear them. But I never could justify spending the money to get it on my phone.

As of yesterday, Spotify is now free on your mobile device. When you log in, you can listen to your music, ad supported, as well as listen to radio stations built around songs you like. It even has your playlists from the desktop version. The only catch is that you can't choose when to play your songs in your playlist. Instead, it is always on shuffle mode. A small price, as far as I'm concerned, to be able to listen to my music on the go.

All-in-all, if you're already a Spotify user, you've probably been waiting for this day for a while. If you're not using Spotify, what are you waiting for?

Wednesday, December 11, 2013


I grew up with a father in the IT business. I remember learning to code in BASIC on a Commodore 64 and an Apple II in elementary school. While I have never taken any formal computer science classes, I have taught myself enough about coding to work on a few side projects related to the practice of law.

One of my recent projects was to actually create a website that calculates the amount of food stamps a person is entitled to. The easiest part of this project was reading the Ohio Revised Code and Administrative Code and learning the rules for counting income, deductions, and the various tests. It was breaking those rules down into manageable chunks that could be understood by a web browser, which is not so different from explaining it to a lay person.

In doing this project, I learned all of the ins and outs of the food stamp program, and I now have a much better grasp of the rules surrounding it. In addition, our program now has a useful tool in the form of a website that will help us determine whether our clients' food stamps are being properly determined.

I would encourage everyone to look for areas of the law that lend themselves to being coded and to give it a try, particularly if it is your area of specialty. Doing so will give you a deeper appreciation for the law's nuances and help you see the law at both the micro and macro level.


One of the great features of Windows 7 is in the task bar. You can easily "pin" programs you use regularly to the task bar. I've found the simplest way to do this is to have your program open, right click on it in the task bar, and click "pin this program to task bar".

As I regularly use Word 2010, Chrome, and Windows Explorer. They are always pinned to my task bar.

Once you've pinned a program to the task bar, you can right click on it, and it will show a list of the recent files you've opened within that program. So, by right clicking on my Word 2010 icon, I get a list of the last ten files I've opened.

It seems we often open the same files and templates regularly. With Windows 7, you can also "pin" a file you use regularly (or any file) to the list of recent files so that they always show up at the top of the list.

To do this, just open the file you want to have pinned to the top of the list. Right click on the Word icon in the task bar, and it will probably appear at the top of the recent files list. To the right of the file name will be a picture of a pin. Click on this pin, and the file will now always appear at the top of your list.

By pinning frequently opened programs to the task bar and frequently used files to the program list, you can save a lot of time. It is much simpler to right click on the task bar and select the regularly used file than to go through the start button or windows explorer every time.