Tech Tip: Office 365 server connectivity

If you just moved to Office 365, but use Outlook on premises, or if you just bought a new computer that will run Outlook and connect to Office 365, this quick tip might be for you.  If things work during initial setup, but you lose connectivity later and can't get it back, IPv6 may be the culprit.  Office 365 does not play nicely with some IPv6 implementations (depends on the ISP, apparently).

In Network Connections, right click and choose Properties.  On the dialog that opens, scroll down in the protocols list and look for check marks by both IPv4 (Internet Protocol Version 4) and IPv6 (Internet Protocol Version 6).  Uncheck IPv6 and see if Outlook instantly connects.  Hope this saves a few people from migraines.  Note: you can find Network Connections by right-clicking the windows icon in the lower left corner of your screen in Windows 8.1.  I think you can also find it by hitting the start button in Windows 7, but it's been a while since I had a Windows 7 machine.

Word 2013: Revisiting pleading alignment issues

First, let me apologize to regular visitors for the drought this last month.  A new firm to attend two, back to back colds, and an appellate argument had me running on fumes.  I intend to remedy the silence this week.  Before getting back to law, however, I need to revisit an issue I touched on once before - the exciting topic of line alignment in pleadings in Word.  See this prior post, explaining how to fix a problem I see all the time.

It turns out that my solution for fixing the problem does not work in Word 2013 (which I am using exclusively as a result of selecting Office 365 as the delivery mechanism for Office - and I highly recommend it, for the most part).  More specifically, Word 2013, when using the most current document format (docx, without the compatibility option enabled at the time you save), does not even incorporate the setting described in my post linked above.  Those settings are "deprecated."  It seems that Microsoft, in all its wisdom, thought a new layout engine for Word was in order.  I couldn't find a way to control text alignment with line numbering at the top of documents.  But Microsoft must surely have a way to do this that I just can't find, right?  Sooooo, no.

If you don't believe it, check out the thread I opened on Microsoft's technet site.  Now, to be clear, I am still not 100% convinced that what I am trying to do can't be done in Word 2013, using the current document format without the compatibility mode active.  The not-so-informative response I received is not filling me with confidence.

I may try to contact the Office team directly and see if they can suggest something.  If I have any luck, I will let you know.  Until then, I will keep cringing at Word pleadings that are misaligned on the first page.

Squarespace tip of the day (at least for this day): Code injection

Don't do what I did.  Don't accidentally copy curly quotes when pasting some html code into a code injection area (a little under-the-hood work for authorship signals).  Even basic html hyperlinks don't behave so well when you use curly quotes.   Just sayin'.

How-to: iOS4 installation tips for the iPhone 3GS and Windows systems

After installing iOS4 on my iPhone 3GS and using it for a day, I can confirm that it is snappy and seems stable.  The new email format and folder icon features are immediately useful.

But before installing, I suggest that you do the following:

  1. Sync your phone with iTunes.
  2. If iTunes prompts you with the new operating system, decline at this time.
  3. Reboot  your system.
  4. Temporarily disable your antivirus and firewall (this is much safer if you are behind a home router that provides its own basic firewall services)
  5. Start iTunes.
  6. If you don't get a prompt to download once you connect your iPhone, click on the phone name in the left-side panel and then choose the check for updates option.
  7. Download and install.
  8. If the installation generates an error, disconnect the phone, close iTunes, restart it and follow the prompt to restore the phone.  This should result in a restore and upgrade.
  9. Don't run other applications while the OS is downloading.  It is a big download; just let it finish.
In my case, I had to recheck all the applications in iTunes to get them to sync with the phone, but that was likely due to the fact that my installation generated an error and required a restore before upgrading the OS.

How-to: Fix PDF files that are rejected by the Central District filing system because of links - The Simple Method

I recently provided a method for dealing with PDFs rejected by the CM/ECF filing system (as it is implemented by the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California).  That method is detailed here.  While that process of exporting a problematic document out to a new document format (XPS) and then back into PDF deals with a number of problems, not everyone will find it to be a comfortable solution.

Here is an alternative method for removing links from a PDF, if you have Acrobat 9:

  1. From the Advanced menu, select "Document Processing"
  2. Choose the "Remove All Links..." option
  3. Do it
That does it.  External hyperlinks distress the CM/ECF system, which, presumably, has been set to search for such links in order to prevent exploits that would lure unsuspecting clerks and judges to malicious websites.

How-to: Fix first page pleading alignment problem in MS Word

If you spend any significant amount of time handling pleadings with line numbering on the side, you've probably received a pleading that has a misalignment problem on the first page like so:

The second page aligns just fine, but you can't figure out why you can't get the first page firm name block to align correctly.  This is the goal:

This problem stems from a deeply buried setting in Microsoft Word.  In Word 2007, hit the Office button in the top left corner of the program.  Click on the Word Options button.  Then select the "Advanced" settings panel.  Scroll all the way to the bottom.  In the "Compatibility options" section, expand the "Layout Options" section.  Find the "Don't center 'exact line height' lines" checkbox and put a check in it.  Problem solved.

Why does Word do this?  Pleadings typically used "Exact height" line spacing to fit the 28 lines in on one page.  The spacing is set at a point size increment of somewhere around 12 points for single spacing and 24 for double spaced lines.  The default behavior in Word is to put a line of text in the vertical center of the space allocated for the line.  This causes 24 point spacing lines to have a larger cushion of space at the top than 12 point ("single" spaced) lines.  The attorney name block uses single spaced lines.  The pleading numbering on the side of the page uses 24 point spacing.  This misaligns the pleading numbers from the attorney name.

On the second page, which most frequently begins with a "double" spaced line of text (24 points, for example), the cushioning is the same for the text and the pleading line numbers.  By telling Word not to center "exact line height" lines, all lines of text, whether 12 pt (single) or 24 pt (double) begin at the top of the vertical line spacing allocated to that line of text.  In that case, the pleading numbers and the attorney name at the top of the caption both begin at the top of their respective lines.  One line just has more open space below the text.

In older version of Word, you can find this setting in the Tools > Options menu.

What amazes me the most is that I see this configuration error from big firms and small alike.  I can understand this getting by a small shop, but the big firms all pay the big bucks for dedicated word processing departments.

I will consider Word training sessions if offered a sufficiently outrageous sum of cash.  Say, I bet you have wondered if there is an easy way to generate Tables of Contents and Tables of Authorities.  There is.  I bet you have wondered if there is a way to easily align pleading text up with line numbers after a single-spaced block quote screws it all up.  Yup, there sure is.  Someday I will offer a seminar that shows you how to do all of these things and more. 

How-to: Fix PDF files that are rejected by the Central District filing system because of links or "code"

The United States District Court for the Central District of California has a very special online document filing system.  And I do mean special.  If you have experienced this filing system, you may have had an attempted filing rejected by the CM/ECF system because of "code" in the PDF.  This will not happen if a PDF document is generated by simple scanning.  I am only discussing an issue that occurs when PDF documents are generated directly from some other application.

There are many solutions to this problem, but I want to offer one that I find to be fast and reliable.  You could just print and scan the document causing problems, but for large documents, this defeats the size advantage of generating directly on your system.  For a very large document the scanning solution is a poor alternative.  A suitable option would digitally transform the document to eliminate the "code" in the PDF (probably some javascript) but keep the document size reasonable.

The solution: use Microsoft's XPS Document Writer.  The Microsoft XPS Document Writer (MXDW) is a print-to-file driver that enables any application to create XML Paper Specification (XPS) Document files on versions of Windows staring with Windows XP SP2.  If you are interested, information about the specification can be found here.

You should have an XPS Document Writer printer driver on your Windows system if you are using anything later than Windows XP SP2.  If you do not, you can get it here.  You will also need software capable of converting from XPS format to PDF format.  Acrobat software can do this, but I don't know what other PDF creation software can do the trick.  The steps to "fix" the problematic PDF are:

  1. Open the problematic PDF in Acrobat.
  2. Print the document by choosing "Print" from the "File" menu.   In the print dialog box, choose “Microsoft XPS Document Writer” as your printer.  If you don't have the printer in your choices, install the XPS Essentials Pack linked above.
  3. When prompted, save the document.  This is a process similar to “printing” to the Acrobat printer.
  4. Close the document in Acrobat.
  5. Open the XPS file you just created in Acrobat.  In the open file dialog, you may need to tell Acrobat to show “all files,” not just PDF files.
  6. Acrobat will convert the XPS file and display it.
  7. Choose Save As and save the converted document.  It will be a PDF, but the "code" and hyperlinks will have been stripped out.

Fixed.  I'm going to start offering tips to fix other stuff, especially in Word.  If you like tips like this, watch for the "How-to" label or Tag.