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Making numbering Interrogatories and Requests for Production/Admission Easy (with Video)

 In Technology

Numbering requests for production and requests for admission is something that legal secretaries and attorneys loathe.  It’s something that systems administrators loathe to see take so long to do.  It’s an error-prone process that occasionally results in mis-numbering and confusion, and when mistakes occur, it just looks bad.

Microsoft Word has auto-numbering features that can make things like this easier.  One way that we use auto-numbering is for legal-style numbered paragraphs.  Properly applied to Styles in Word, numbered paragraphs are easy, automatic, and they update themselves.  We use multilevel lists to accomplish numbered paragraphs, and it works wonderfully.

When tasked with making Requests for Admissions, Requests for Production, and Interrogatories just as easy to number, I went to multilevel lists.  It turned out multilevel lists weren’t the right way to go, for a couple reasons.

  • For proper multilevel lists, each level is tied to a heading, and has its place in the document tiers. ROGs, RFAs, and RFPs are independent numbered lists that don’t restart after their parent in the list changes numbers.
  • There’s a character limit to the numbered list prefix. “REQUEST FOR PRODUCTION NO. 1: “ wouldn’t fit as a list prefix.  I didn’t realize Word held this limit, but thankfully it did, because that caused me to search out a better solution.

The proper way to accomplish easy numbering like this is using Word’s SEQ field matched with Autotext.  I followed the steps found at Deborah Savadra’s article, then deployed a read-only copy of my Building Blocks.dotx (renamed to PCVA Building Blocks.dotx to prevent overwriting users’ customizations) to all users in our organization.  Below a video I made that shows just how well this works.  Enjoy.

Matt Albrecht
Matt leads the firm’s technical innovation. We are a paperless office with secure, cloud-based file storage and Matt keeps the technology moving smoothly so we can handle our cases with speed and grace in a way that is friendly to the earth. Matt grew up in Mesa, Arizona, where his interest in computers from the age of 12 became the driving force in his life. He worked with technology for many small businesses before becoming the full-time systems administrator at Pfau Cochran Vertetis Amala PLLC. In his spare time (we like to joke about Matt having spare time), Matt and his wife Kendra enjoy the company of their two Boxers, Briscoe and Bayley.
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Showing 3 comments
  • Rodney P Mitchal
    Reply

    Hello Matt:

    Terrific video. The only difficulty I encountered when attempting to put the steps into effect, was that in copying the wording needed for the autotext, I selected everything (including the colon and the following space) but not the new paragraph mark. However, when implementing the autotext feature, the colon and the following space are not included.

    Any insight into this situation would be very much appreciated.

    Thanks much – Rod

  • Candy
    Reply

    Hi, Matt,

    I want to know how to renumber the entries if there are deletions or if they are rearranged? Thanks

    • Reply

      Select all (Ctrl+A), then press F9. F9 updates fields. If you have a Table of Contents, selecting all and hitting F9 will renumber the ToC, as well.

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