Thursday, March 14, 2013

Shortcuts for Writing Law Review Articles on a Mac

Mac users, you probably use ⌘ + I for italics all the time, but did you know about ⌘ + K for small caps? I have been focused on finishing some articles lately, which has left little time for blogging, but I thought I'd share some shortcuts and tips that might be useful for other folks writing legal scholarship (patent or otherwise) in Microsoft Word on a Mac.
  • ⌘ + option + F – insert a footnote
  • ⌘ + 1 – insert a cross-reference (as in "See supra note 37 and accompanying text.")
  • ⌘ + K – toggle small caps on and off
  • option + 6 – insert a section symbol (§)
  • option + 7 – insert a paragraph symbol (¶)
  • option + shift + space – insert a non-breaking space (e.g., if you don't want the section symbol and number to get split across lines in "§ 3")
  • unicode hex input: option + 200B – insert a zero-width space (e.g., if you want to break a URL across lines but don't want there to be a space when it gets reformatted; to enable unicode input, go to System Preferences → Language & Text → Input Sources → check Unicode Hex Input, then you can toggle between U.S. and Unicode keyboards using the flag in the upper right)
  • Keep with next (Format → Paragraph → Line and Page Breaks → Keep with next) – use to keep section headings from dangling by themselves at the bottom of a page
Are there other shortcuts or tips you've found handy? Share them in the comments!

P.S. Happy π day! For a π-related IP case, see this post from Eric Goldman. To make a "π" on a Mac, use option + p.


  1. My number one shortcut for writing law review articles on a Mac is ⌘+delete. Just navigate to your Microsoft Office folder, select Word, and use the shortcut. Then install Pages from the Mac App Store, and it will save you hours! (You'll probably need to undelete Word to read and respond to edits from the law review, but if you maintain a Word-free workflow before then, the one-time conversion hassle is more than worth it.) Pages is worth it for "paste and match style" alone.

  2. I'm sure Pages is lovely, but I think network effects are going to keep me with Word for now. :) Also, "paste and match style" sounds a lot like Word's "match destination formatting."

  3. I tried Pages out when I first got my iMac, but ended up having to buy Word. Pages is nice and pretty functional, but converting back and forth between Word and Mac (which is a necessity for collaborating with others as most of my colleagues still use Word) was too much of a hassle. Some of the formatting wouldn't make it, and other things would transfer, but in weird ways that weren't easy to edit. I actually find Word for Mac better than the Windows version of Word.