Pragmatic Computing

pragmatic (prag mat’ik) adj. Concerned with causes and effects or with needs and results rather than with ideas or theories; practical.


As of October 2009, our new address is:

And visit our home page at:!

html links

Ever want to post a link to a web page but don't want it to look like a bunch of code?
Maybe you don't understand the code in the first place. (I won't tell.)

Let's say you want to post the following link:

Not attractive. And, depending on where you paste it, sometimes it won't even function as a link.

What if you could create a link that looks like this:

Small is Tall

And, more importantly, when someone clicked, it actually worked as a link?

Let's keep it extremely simple. Type or copy the text below:

Then replace page.html with the URL of the destination web page.

Also replace Label Text with whatever text you want the reader to see instead of the actual link.

In this example, the link would look like this:

That's it!

(Keep in mind, some websites, forums and blogs restrict the use of html code. For instance, allows this html link code in comments, but blogger only allows simple html code, like bold and italics.)


Rolling dice, flipping coins, drawing cards or straws, drawing slips of paper out of a hat. All methods to generate random results. Here's one more:


To Create a Random Number: In a blank cell of any spreadsheet program, type @randbetween(x,y) where x equals the smallest number you want to use and y equals the largest. In other words, typing the function @randbetween(1,100) will generate a number between 1 and 100.

Recalculate the Number: Press the "F9" key to generate a new number.

Change a Random Number to a Value: Note that any time you make a change to any cell in your spreadsheet, the program recalculates all the formulas on the sheet. That means the random number will recalculate every time a change is made to the spreadsheet. If you want to make your random value permanent, move to the cell with your @RANDBETWEEN function and press F2 (EDIT), then F9 (CALC).

Compatibility: This formula will work in Excel, Quattro Pro and Lotus 123. Have a different spreadsheet program? Give it a shot.

Microsoft Purists: Some of you may be thinking that Excel formulas begin with an equal sign, so the formula should be: "=randbetween(1,100)" True enough. Go ahead. But I've been using spreadsheet software for a long time (Lotus 123). We old timers know that spreadsheet formulas are "supposed" to begin with "@" and we also know that formulas beginning with an equal sign won't work in Quattro Pro and Lotus. Because Microsoft is special.

i can see clearly now

When you read text on your computer monitor, do the fonts seem . . . grainy? Do the edges of the letters appear ragged? Especially italicized text?

Try this:
Click the "Start" button (on the task bar at the bottom left of your screen).
Hover over "Settings" and click "Control Panel"
Double Click "Display"
Click the "Appearance" Tab (the fourth tabbed page)
Click "Effects . . . " (at the bottom right of the menu)

Under the second check mark, labeled: “Use the following method to smooth edges of screen fonts:” Click the drop down arrow and select “ClearType” instead of "Standard"

Click "OK" (NOT cancel or the red "X" in the top right corner)
Click "Apply" (at the bottom right of the menu)


VISTA USERS: Clear Type is enabled by default on Windows Vista.

To Find the Option:
Right Click Anywhere on Your Desktop (away from any icons)
Click "Personalize" on the menu when it appears.
Click "Windows Color and Appearance"
Click "open classic appearance properties for more color"
Click the "Effects" button

Under "use the following method to smooth edges of screen fonts" Click the Arrow to the Right of the Box and Select Either "standard" or "cleartype"

Click OK, then OK again and then Close the personalization window

I can't save autotext!

Do you create autotext entries or buttons in Microsoft Word 2002, 2003 or XP but can't seem to find them later?

If you also have Adobe Acrobat Professional or Standard loaded on your computer, you're not imagining things or doing anything wrong! There's a conflict between Word and Acrobat 7.0 which prevents autotext, macros, preferences and custom setting (like buttons) from saving in MS Word. For those of you who care or understand - Word 's “” can't save changes.

The good news is that Adobe knows about this problem and has issued an update! For detailed info and the download link, CLICK HERE to visit the “Tech Note” in the Adobe Knowledgebase.

WordPerfect Auto Numbering Made Even Easier!

Let's break this up into three parts, shall we?

1. How to use a custom outline/auto paragraph numbering macro I may have written for you.
2. Tips for working with the WordPerfect auto numbering/outline feature.
3. Issues with using auto numbering when allowing MS Word users to edit your document.

Part 1: Using Pragmatic Macros

To format any document with a custom auto numbering style using a WordPerfect macro written by me:

1. Place the cursor where you want the numbering to begin or at the top of the document. (I always put it at the top of the document so it's easy to find later.)

2. Play the macro. Depending on your preferences, I've either given you a shortcut key (ALT+O) or placed a button on your toolbar which shows a I.A.1. descending top left to bottom right of the button. So either type your shortcut key or click your button. The screen will flash a few times and insert the first number at the location of the cursor. If you don't need a number in that exact spot (like at the top of the doc), turn it off with "CTRL+H"

3. Once the macro has been played in a document and the document has been saved, the macro never needs to be run in that document again. (Unless you accidentally delete it - another reason I place it at the top of the document instead of placing it at the first numbered paragraph).

Part 2: TIPS for Working with Auto Paragraph Numbering:

1. Toggle auto numbering on and off with the keystroke shortcut "CTRL+H"

2. To move forward one paragraph level, press "TAB" and to move back one paragraph level, press "SHIFT+TAB"

3. When inserting a new paragraph in a document containing auto numbering, place the cursor at the END of the PREVIOUS numbered paragraph and press ENTER. Use TAB or SHIFT+TAB to change the new paragraph to the desired level.

4. To insert a real TAB into a document when in auto paragraph mode, use "CTRL+TAB" instead of TAB.

Part 3: Issues with MS Word

You may be better off using manual numbering when you know MS Word users will edit the document. A simple explanation: While auto paragraph numbering in WordPerfect is document specific (the numbering style is saved in the document), auto paragraph numbering in MS Word is desktop specific (the numbering style is saved in MS Word from desk to desk).

A not so simple (but still not too technical) explanation: Regardless of a whether a document was created/edited in MS Word or WordPerfect, auto numbering appears to the MS Word user in the preferred style saved in that particular installation of MS Word. In other words, it changes all by itself. In my experience, there are two situations when this doesn't happen:

First, when only one person edits a document using MS Word, this isn't a problem because the document adopts the single preferred style of that same person every time it's edited.

Second, when MS Word custom templates and styles are created and used, this problem can be overcome, but many, many, many firms don't use custom templates and/or styles. Even when templates are used, I've never seen a firm share their template with another firm. In addition, most people wouldn't know how to attach a template even if it was given to them by another firm. So the changes continue.

Yet another reason to use WordPerfect for lengthy, complex documents.

Sweeet New Corel Product for Collaboration!

Corel WordPerfect Lightning!

I'm still exploring this new software to discover everything it can do, but one of the sweetest things is this:

It opens any PDF, Word or WordPerfect document for viewing, printing and . . . copying into a note - which can be easily edited and then automatically inserted into an email.

So . . . You can create a legal document using your current word processor, and email it to your client in PDF. They open it using the (FREE) Lightning viewer, review it, copy any text they want to edit to a Lightning Note and then Lightning can automatically insert the note's contents into the body of an email! You receive the email and copy/paste the text into the original document - and you guessed it - you maintain control of the editing process!

If clients edit their legal documents in Lightning, they can't use track changes! You can either edit the original or create a 2nd version for the creation of a redline copy using your word processor's COMPARE feature (or CompareRite or Deltaview) instead of Track Changes! (Combining Track Changes and Compare doesn't always turn out so well.) I'm still checking, but I'm thinking NO METADATA! And it's FREE. And EASY!

I downloaded the (free) beta this morning. Supposedly it will continue to be free, like Adobe Acrobat Reader.

For more robust editing and markup, Adobe Acrobat Reader is still a better choice, but for a clean, simple editing option, this is . . . Sweeeet!

I'll keep learning and update this post as I go!

Want to try out the FREE beta version? Go ahead, it won't hurt. Or just learn more about Lightning here:

Converting Between WordPerfect and Word.

Want to edit a Word document using WordPerfect?
If you have the latest version of WordPerfect, just open the Word document and WordPerfect will convert it automatically, no matter what version of MS Word was used to save it.

Don't have the latest version of WordPerfect (WP13 aka WPx3)? Then you need "The Know How." Keep reading (or scroll down to skip the explanation and get right to it.)
Want to edit a WordPerfect document using MS Word?
Just open the WordPerfect document in any version of MS Word. Since WordPerfect's document format has remained the same from version 6 through 13, this method should always work when opening any WordPerfect file in any version of MS Word.

Why can't any version of WordPerfect open any Word file?
Nearly every version of MS Word produces a unique document format, so attempting to open a Word document in a previously released version of WordPerfect produces the message “Unknown File Format.”
(That's okay, some previously released versions of MS Word had/have trouble opening newly released MS Word file formats - without a patch.)
Each version of WordPerfect produces the same document format - so MS Word has been able to read it since Word 6.0. Did WordPerfect just get it right the first time? Novell and Corel think so.

Let me give you an example: Let's say WordPerfect 9 (WP9) is currently installed at your firm. WP9 was released a few months before Word 2000 (Word XP). Since Word XP didn’t exist when WP9 was released, WP9’s conversion utility isn’t capable of converting Word XP files.
(Do you need to read that again? I did.)
WP10, on the other hand, can convert Word XP files because Word XP did exist when WP10 was released. The versions continued to leapfrog each other and today we have WP13 (WPx3) released just months before Word 2007. If you've been playing along, you get that WPx3 can't read Word 2007 files.
(That's okay, Word 2003 [and earlier] can't read them either - not without the
Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack.

Don't have the latest WordPerfect? Here's The Know How:
By following the steps below, a document saved in any version of MS Word can be successfully converted to an earlier version of WordPerfect - most of the time.

1. Open the file in Word.

2. Select File, Save As from the menu.

3. At the bottom of the “Save As” dialog box, at the end of the “Save as type” line, click the drop down arrow, scroll down and select:

“Word 6.0/95" Do NOT select “Word 97-2002.
(Although grouped together, each version was unique.)

4. Save the document with a new name to preserve the integrity of original.
(NEVER manually change a file extension from .doc to .wpd! The software will do that.)

5. Close the document.
(If warned of a possible loss of formatting, select okay. You still have the original.)

6. Open the 6.0/95 version (with .doc) of the file in WordPerfect, allowing WordPerfect to convert it.

7. Revise the document as needed and when you save it, WordPerfect will remind you that it was converted and prompt you to select a format. Choose WordPerfect.

Need to Provide the WordPerfect File to Someone Using Word?
1. Work on the file as normal in WordPerfect and save it as a WordPerfect file.
(No need to choose a version. WordPerfect’s file format is the same for versions 6-13)
2. Open the WordPerfect file in MS Word, allowing MS Word to convert the document.

Now you've got The Know How.

Amortization Schedules in a FLASH!

Check out Quattro Pro, Corel’s spreadsheet program! And yes. Excel has amortization templates and maybe I will blog about them - but not it is not this day! (I just watched Return of the King) With Quattro, this is WAY too easy! Check it out!

(In Quattro 9, 10, 11 and 12) From the menu, select Tools, Numeric Tools, and then Analysis Tools. The second item is Amortization Schedule. Select it and a dialog box will be displayed:

Output Cells: This automatically fills in, so leave it & see if it works for you before you modify it.

Interest Rate: you know what to do.

Term: (years): yet again, you are smart - go for it.

Original: Enter the original loan amount.

Ending Balance: what? I’m thinking zero?

Last Year: Enter last year you need to see.

Choose “Finish” and in a FLASH, you see your results!

cool beans.

Should your firm switch from WordPerfect to Word?

Be warned, if you want a yes or no answer, you won’t find any bobble heads here. Rather than say “Yes! Switch!” and ride the gravy train through your conversion, I’m going to suggest you take a step back and objectively think this through with me.

Let’s start with your goals. What are you trying to accomplish by converting to MS Word? What do you want/need to do that you can’t do now? Why can’t you do it? Are you having trouble with document formatting? Is it that you just don't know how to successfully convert your documents from Word to WordPerfect and back? When is the last time you had computer training? What version of WordPerfect are you currently using? Do you need to upgrade your software to WP13?

(If you switched to MS Word, it wouldn't be to Word 97, Word XP or Word 2002, so why expect an outdated version of WordPerfect to work "perfectly" with the newer versions of MS Word your clients may be using?)
Why does any “WordPerfect Firm” consider switching to Word? Time and time again, the reason has been the same: To allow clients to revise their documents and . . . “everybody uses Word.” If that’s your answer, I have two responses:

1. If you regularly update your software, you have always had the ability to successfully convert documents from Word to WordPerfect and back.

Even if you have an outdated version of WordPerfect, there is a "trick" you can employ. For more information, see my post entitled "Converting Between WordPerfect and Word"

2. If you currently grant your clients the right to edit their own legal documents, consider a change in methodology to eliminate the risks associated with doing so, while eliminating extra work at the same time.

What do I mean by "a change in methodology?" Collaborate on document content instead of sharing editing rights. When I say that out loud, I’m often asked to explain the difference, so let me say it another way: Just because you collaborate on document content, doesn’t mean the document must be edited by all the collaborators. Doing so exposes you to risk.
(Risks? What risks? Sharing document revision with clients and outside attorneys puts law firms at risk. To better understand the risks, read my posts entitled, "Metadata, Shmetadata. It won't happen to me." and "Just because we can, doesn't mean we should.")
The following alternative should be considered:

If you are already a "WordPerfect Firm," continue to harness the power of WordPerfect to create and edit complex legal documents. If you are a "Word Firm" continue to use Word (hopefully maximizing results with styles and templates). Incorporate the use of the latest Adobe Acrobat as outlined below. Provide documents to clients in MS Word format only when the client demands editing rights.

Offering the production of legal documents as a value added service will be much easier with new clients. Established clients will need to be convinced this upgrade in service will better protect their interests. The successful implementation of the following methodology is the best evidence.

Providing Documents to Clients: Since 2004, with the release of Adobe Acrobat 7 (and now v8), the FREE Adobe Reader provides on screen commenting, markup and text edits (if they are enabled by the sender of the document). The process is VERY easy for both the sender and the reviewer. The Adobe Reader even recognizes this comment enabled document and walks the reviewer through the process. Reviewing in Adobe Acrobat Reader allows for document collaboration, but it does not allow the reviewer to actually modify the original document. Revisions can then be done in house, protecting the integrity of the document content and eliminating that risk I mentioned before. For additional information, check out the link below. The "Collaboration" section in the Legal Professional White Paper is very compelling.

Receiving Documents from Clients: If you decide to accept revised documents in MS Word, simply upgrade the latest version of WordPerfect (v13, also called x3). Documents received in MS Word format can easily be opened with WPx3.
(Use the Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack to enable Word 2007 documents to be opened in previous versions of MS Word.)
Before dismissing all this and continuing to allow clients to edit their legal documents in MS Word, an understanding of the risks mentioned above and in the Adobe White Paper is critical. After gaining a full understanding of the risks, ask yourself, "Who is ultimately responsible for the content of the document?" Who will the client say is ultimately responsible? If, after considering the risks, a decision is made to continue to allow others to edit legal documents, converting them between MS Word and WordPerfect is seamless with WordPerfect x3.

My professional recommendation is for law firms to offer clients the value added service of legal document creation and production. (Remember when we used to do that?) Take back ownership of the editing process. Provide documents to clients for review only, in PDF format. Incorporate those changes in house - with whatever word processing software your firm currently uses.

Allowing others to edit documents for which your firm is ultimately responsible exposes you to risk. More and more, documents are being provided in PDF for review. Even the courts require documents be submitted PDF.

So before asking the question “Should our firm switch from WordPerfect to Word?” ask the question, “Should our firm provide documents to clients in PDF for review and comment only, maintaining editing rights to guarantee the integrity of our documents and eliminate our risk?” I know it’s a long question, but you’re attorneys, you can handle it.

Where’s that bobble head when you need it?