MS Word may look like an endless and yet fully undiscovered universe of document editing. There are many Word’s tools that we don’t wholly use, and they revolve around us like lonely planets or meteors flying by.
One of these MS Word’s features that lawyers often need in their documents is legal symbols. They mark key details of names, parties, and other structural elements in legal documents for overall clarity. But sometimes in MS Word legal symbols are hard to find quickly and insert in one-two-three at a specific document spot. Or to type in magic key shortcuts to get the well-framed symbol.
In this guide, we will see how to quickly and easily paste legal symbols in different ways in your document. If you would like to learn more tips and tricks of MS Word for legal documents, have a close look at our guide to MS Word for lawyers.
Let’s move on right to the top of Word’s toolbar.
How do legal symbols work in MS Word?
In MS Word on macOS and Windows, symbols are placed in the Insert tab. Go to it and click on Advanced Symbol if you work on Mac or Symbol, then More symbols on Windows. The new window will pop up on your screen.
Both systems provide you with various symbol collections but how do you quickly find the needed legal symbol?
On Mac and Windows, click on the Special Characters tab in the same window. You will see the list of symbols that are often used in legal documents like Copyright ©, Registered Sign ®, Trademark™, Section § etc.
On your right, there are specific keys for some of these symbols – the Keyboard Shortcut column on Mac or the Shortcut key column on Windows. You can use the keys as small hints and easily type in any symbol that you need in your document.
If you would like to create your own keyboard for the most used symbols, select any of them in the table, then, beneath it, press Keyboard Shortcut on Mac and Shortcut Key on Windows. By the way, on Windows OS you can see the set shortcut key for your chosen symbol.
In the new Customize Keyboard window, you can see the current keys for the selected symbol. Don’t worry if the Current keys field may be empty — it means that Word has not identified the keys for your symbol yet.
Now let’s go to the next field of Press new keyboard shortcut (Mac) / Press new shortcut key (Windows). You cannot type in the keys for your symbol but you can press any keyboard combo that suits you. If it already exists in MS Word, the results will appear as “Currently assigned to” on both systems.
If you have decided on the needed keys, click Assign and close the window. If you change your mind, again find the Customize Keyboard window in the Special Characters tab in Word’s Symbols and press Remove.
And one more useful tool
For sure, you have come across the Auto-correct option in the Symbol window. You can use Auto-correct if you need to turn the characters that you type in intuitively into specific symbols.
In MS Word on Mac, there are four AutoCorrect subtabs – AutoCorrect, Maths AutoCorrect, AutoFormat As you Type, and Autotext. On Windows, you are provided with AutoCorrect and Math Autocorrect tabs.
All these tabs enable you to set up correcting typos in your document text and replacing characters that you are typing in with solid symbols.
Legal symbols make documents official, clear for parties, and well-structured. You decide which way works best for you – typing the symbols in using key shortcuts or inserting them from the table.
You can try out more advanced instruments of MS Word like plugins, or add-ins, that may help you work with documents even more productively. For instance, Loio, our contract drafting and review plugin for Word has come with big updates for deeper document analysis and error detection, so feel free to check if it works for you.
We hope that with this guide you will find the most suitable way to quickly add wanted legal symbols in your contracts. Let your legal documents stand out with professionalism and success!
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