10 Tech Tips for Productivity

Lawyers are immersed in technology more than ever. There are many tips and tricks to get more out of your applications and tools for productivity and time saving. Following are a few ways to make better use of tools you may already have.

1. Use Your Face or Fingerprint to Log Into Windows 10 with Windows Hello

In Windows 10 if you have a compatible laptop you can turn on Windows Hello to unlock your computer with facial recognition/fingerprint, as well as log you into apps like Dropbox, Office 365 apps and more. Here is a video tutorial on how to turn this feature on. Keep in mind that biometric security is not fool-proof, so guard physical access to your machine.

2. Add a Transcript to Your YouTube Video

In a perfect world you would script out your video marketing and add the transcript as closed captions/subtitles for a mobile user friendly and accessible experience. However, sometimes you may just want to record the video unscripted or you may have older videos you want to add captions to. There are a variety of methods, including using the built-in YouTube transcription tools. However, you can also let Google Docs “listen” to your recording and create the script. This tutorial explains your options.

3. Zoom 5.0 Is Here

Zoom has released version 5.0 of the software and it includes a lot of security features including upgraded encryption, security controls in the meeting toolbar to easily enable a waiting room, report a user, and remove participants. They have added meeting registrations, a screen share watermark that superimposes the image of a meeting participant’s email address onto shared content in the event a participant takes a screenshot, complex meeting IDs and much more. All Zoom clients on versions older than 5.0 will be required to upgrade by May 30 to join meetings as GCM Encryption will be fully enabled for all meetings then.

4. Gmail Reverse Conversation Extension

Gmail displays email threads with the oldest at the top and the newest at the bottom. For users of other software applications this is the reverse experience of reading email, where the newest messages appear at the top. If you want to have Gmail show the newest messages in a thread first then try the Gmail Reverse Conversation Chrome extension.

5. Microsoft Word’s New Editor Pane Goes Beyond Spell Check

If you are a Microsoft 365 user, you may have noticed a new button has appeared in the Home tab in MS Word called “Editor”. Editor goes beyond grammar and spell check to review your document for clarity, conciseness, formality, and punctuation conventions. Once you have finished checking the document you will receive a score, which includes ratings for the Flesch Reading Ease and Grade Levels. If you want to see some artificial intelligence in the mix, check out Word Rewrite. And – Grammarly users pay attention – you can add Editor to your web browser.

6. Only One Monitor? Use the Windows Key + Arrows

windowskeyplusarrows

If you do not have two monitors at home, or crave a third and you are a Windows user hold down the Windows key and tap either the right or left arrow key. This action will move your open screen to the right or left half of the monitor and gives you thumbnails of the other open screens to put on the opposite side. This “split screen” mode allows you to have two screens open for viewing simultaneously. The larger the monitor or laptop screen, the better this works. This tip is courtesy of Jim Calloway from the Oklahoma Bar Association’s Management Assistant Program, who is posting a daily tip on Practicing in a Crisis.

7. No More Unintentional Emails

ICO statistics for legal sector breaches in 2017/18 in the UK show that people sending emails to the wrong person are a greater confidentiality and GDPR breach risk in practice (22.64%) than malware, ransomware, phishing, unauthorized access (cyber) and other cyber incident combined (11.95%).

Add the word “Draft” in the recipient field to your replies, forward or new outbound emails. Since Draft is not an email address most email applications (Outlook, Gmail) will not send it before you “correct” it. And, when you correct it make sure the email is edited and going to the right people. This forces you to slow down and helps to reduce mistakes. There are other, less manual ways, of reducing inadvertently sending an email to the wrong person too. Hat Tip to Heidi Alexander, Director of Lawyer Well-Being at the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.

8. Add Random Text to a Word Document

If you are working on firm templates and you need to use random gobbledygook as a placeholder you can add Lorem Ipsum into your document. Just type: =lorem(p,l) and replace the “p” with the number of paragraphs you want, and replace the “l” with the number of sentences you need. You can also just include one number in the parentheses and it will create that many paragraphs. When ready, place the cursor at the end of the equation and hit Enter to generate your text.

9. Need to Scan Something? Try Your Phone!

Free apps like Microsoft Office Lens, Dropbox Doc Scanner, Google Drive, and Adobe Scan can give you high quality scans with text recognition, editing tools and more. Low cost scanner apps, like Scanbot ScanPro ($9.99) will even let you send the scan as a fax! Check out the features of the various options in this review.

10. Use MS Teams Video Conferencing With Anyone

If you have Microsoft 365 you likely have a Teams account, and may want to consider using the video conferencing tools with people outside of your firm. For people who do not have a Teams account they should choose the option to “join on the web instead”.  There is a handy “Join Teams Meeting” add-on for the Ribbon when you set up a meeting in MS Outlook to make quick work of adding the Teams meeting link.