[note class=”info”]“Technology & Law” is a semi-regular column posted by Keith M. Survell. It deals with the interaction of technology and security with the modern law office.[/note]

You are going to LOVE Office 2007.

I’m being quite serious here. You are really going to love it, once you upgrade to it. In fact, for anyone purchasing a new computer, I strongly recommend it. It is a worthwhile upgrade, and I will tell you why.

Lots of court forms in TurboLaw documents are laid out in tables, which help align the text exactly as it appeared on the original court form. Indeed, many court forms are obviously tables – with all the lines, columns, rows, and cells that come with that type of layout. It makes it easy to fill in by hand, but not so easy to reproduce on the computer.

Microsoft Word and the Table

Above: A typical Microsoft Word document with a table (click to see full-sized picture)

Now, tables are all fine and dandy, but they don’t exactly work the same way as paragraphs do in a word processor such as Microsoft Word. You can’t just press the “Enter” key and get a new line – you have to add a new “row” in order to do that. In previous versions of Microsoft Word, working with tables was a chore – you had to go to the “Table” menu and select from a number of unclear sub-menus. Even for those who knew how to work with tables, it was a lot of clicking.

Well, Microsoft has really thought about these types of users in their latest version of the Office Suite. In Microsoft Office Word 2007, “menus” as you have known them are gone – instead, you have a “ribbon” that has “tabs” that correspond to different types of tasks. Most people will never leave the “Home” tab, which has most of the things you commonly use – bold, italics, basic paragraph formatting, lists, etc. This makes is extremely easy to get going in the new version – everything you need is right there, and everything you don’t need is hidden from sight (but easily accessible with just a click).

In the spirit of not bothering you with things that you can’t use, some controls are hidden until you click on something that would allow you to use them. For instance, the tabs that contain all of the table editing and formatting tools are hidden – until you click on a table.

Table Tools

Above: The Table Tools tabs appear!

These tabs are colored brightly so that you will notice them – as you can see from the picture above, the table tools tabs are yellow. Should you need to do any editing, simply click on one of these tabs to see the necessary buttons and controls.

Table Tools Layout

Above: The Table Tools “Layout” tab has been clicked

The Layout tab is the one you are most likely to use if you are using TurboLaw, as it includes all the functions you need to add or remove rows from a table. And best of all, the functions are very clearly labeled, and do exactly what they say.

Above: The “Rows & Columns” group of the “Layout” tab

A Typical Table

Above: A closeup of a table (click to see full-sized picture)

It is just a single click now to insert a new row in a table. For example, in the document pictured above, there is space for only 6 children. If you needed a spot for a 7th child, you could simply click “Insert Below,” and a new row would appear. It really is that easy.

The ease of use in Microsoft Office Word 2007 goes beyond editing tables, though. This same philosophy has been applied to every function you could conceivably use – they are all grouped logically, so that when you need a function, it is already there. Word 2007 will make you even more productive – and when paired with TurboLaw, you’ll be able to produce and edit documents with astonishing speed. We really can’t say enough nice things about it – it will make your work easier.