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Computer Corner:
Saving Graces

By Marjory Harris, Esq.

In this series, we explore organizational techniques, software and hardware that will help you clear the mess from your desk, be more productive, and cut office overhead.

This article presents three software programs, one free, two inexpensive, to systematize saving and searching.

The Computer Corner series started four years ago with “How To Store It, How to Find It” Since then I have discovered some new tricks for saving bits and pieces of research, tips, or documents so that I do not have to waste time re-researching or trying to remember the client’s name so I can search for an old file.
> The Doctor's Office: Psychology
> Computer Corner: Saving Graces
> Defense Perspective: Termination of Benefits
> MSAs: Rx Drugs & Rated Ages
> QME Process: Reform or Roulette?
> QME Flowchart

If you missed previous Computer Corners:
A Case Management Adjunct
Analyze Evidence – and more – with TextMap
Be More Productive with Office OneNote
Create Your Own Medical Manager
Getting on Top of To-Dos
How to Calculate Settlement Values & Organize Issues & Evidence
How to Store It, How to Find It
How to Work Faster, More Efficiently and with Lower Overhead

Data Dilemma Redux

You are preparing for the deposition of an AME and you remember a terrific examination you did in a similar case around five years ago. But you can't remember the client's name. Whowuzzit’s name and file are lost in the mists of time and brain fog. Or maybe you saw a case on your listserv a few weeks ago and now can’t find it, because you didn’t save it or you don’t know where you saved it. Or you meant to save an email that had sound strategy advice on the problem you now have, but you didn’t know how to save it so it wouldn’t disappear into the junk pile most email programs become.


Solutions to the Lost Data Dilemma

The first and easiest is to install a free search engine such as Windows Desktop Search. The first screenshot shows a search on “shini,” a recent post-Ogilvie panel decision.

Windows Desktop Search “provides an easy and comprehensive solution for finding and organizing the content you care about, whether it's on your PC, in an e-mail message or attachment, on a remote file share, or on the Web.”
The search pulled up every file, whether in Word, OneNote, Outlook, or PDF format that was on my hard drives. It is easy to click on the menu bar to show only emails or documents, etc.

For people who do not label and save items as recommended in the first article, this program can save having to start from scratch. It is also handy for searching for letters and reports from doctors, or for past correspondence from an opponent.

The drawback is that you are still dealing with shooting a fly with an elephant gun, as masses of unwanted stuff can come up, too. The only way to have efficient data retrieval is to have efficient data storage.

The only way to have efficient data retrieval is to have efficient data storage.
Data Storage Redux

In past articles I reviewed software that made it easy to store data. The first approach is the operating system, which comes ready to make folders. If you still store your documents in “C:\My Documents” you are a computer neophyte. Much better to partition your drive or use a separate drive for all data. If you don’t want to do that, at least set up folders to hold your important files. Click here to download a handy “WC-Law” folder tree. You can add new folders as needed. Right click on your mouse, click on “New” then on “Folder,” and name the folder (e.g., “Ogilvie”).

The next step, after setting up a data storage area on the hard drive, is to get in the habit of saving anything important to the appropriately labeled folder. If it is about Ogilvie, save to the Ogilvie folder. If in doubt, save it in various “WC Law” folders. You may also save the same material to the client folder for a case you are working on, just to be able to find it really fast when working on that case.

An easy way to save, without buying any special programs, is to use “print” on the “file” menu and print to PDF.

Set up a folder tree, apart from clients’ folders, to hold your legal research

How to Print to PDF

You probably already have a PDF printer on your computer. Check Printers and Faxes in Control Panel to confirm this. If you don’t see any PDF printer, download a free one: Google “free pdf printer” and pick one of the offerings. To print to PDF, click on the “File” button to the left of the top menu bar, then on “Print” and select the PDF printer.

An easy way to save something is
to print to PDF

Navigating Your Hard Drive at Top Speed

I rely on some utilities to make file storage and retrieval fast and easy. I mentioned the free Windows Desktop Search above. But sometimes you have to spend a little to make life easier and save money in the long run. One essential utility is QuickJump. Try it free for 30 days and see how much time you save when looking for a folder or saving to the right folder.

A few minutes spent on setting it up pays immediate dividends. By hitting the Windows and J keys (Win+J) simultaneously, QuickJump pops up ready to receive keystrokes. It immediately loads the list of folders with the first keystroke, putting the most recently used folders first.

For example, I want to find the folder where I store items on apportionment. I hit Win+J, type “ap” and there it is, highlighted at top of the list.

Sometimes you have to spend a little to make life easier and save money in the long run
Or suppose I found something on line I want to save to the apportionment folder. I click on my PDF print button, then Win+J, and type in “ap” and the program opens the correct folder in which to save the webpage.

Another program from the same company as QuickJump is MessageSave. This program works within Outlook and allows one to save an entire message, with attachments, as a separate file. In conjunction with QuickJump, it takes a few seconds to store any important message, received or sent or even just drafted, apart from the .pst file. Once saved, you can delete the message from Outlook and reduce .pst bloat.

Since the message is stored separately, it is easy to find and open. Of course, you could also print the message as a text file, or as a PDF, but that won’t allow you to quickly respond to or forward the message, and formatting, graphics and links may be lost or altered. Attachments will no longer be there without separate, time consuming keystrokes to save them as well.

Another nice feature of MessageSave is you can create a new folder while saving the message. Say you want to save a forum post on deposition questions about apportionment. If you downloaded the WC-Law folder tree referenced above, you will see it already has an “Apportionment” folder. You can use MessageSave to create a sub folder on the fly, such as “Depo Qs”.

Afraid of not remembering to answer important emails? You can set up an “Emails to Answer” folder separate from Outlook, then save the message to that folder using MessageSave. Check the folder once a day to make sure nothing is missed. Of course, you could set up a folder within Outlook for this purpose, too. With a separate folder, that pops up every time you save a message to it (a nice feature of MessageSave, so you can double check that a message was stored in the correct folder), you are sure to notice what messages were not answered. I delete the stored message once I have replied. And don’t forget to put a shortcut on the desktop for that folder! If this process is a mystery to you, go here to learn this handy trick.
Marjory Harris, Esq. began practicing law in 1974 as a defense attorney and later became an applicant's attorney and a certified specialist. She continues to represent injured workers in the San Francisco Bay Area and Inland Empire, and mentors attorneys on big cases.

Reach Marjory at (888) 858-9882 or
email to MHarrisLaw@verizon.net

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