The Court Technology and Trial Presentation Blawg features articles, reviews and news of interest to lawyers and other legal professionals. This blog is published by Ted Brooks, a Trial Presentation and Legal Technology Consultant, Author and Speaker. Ted's trial experience includes the Los Angeles Dodgers divorce trial, People v. Robert Blake murder trial, and a hundreds of high profile, high value and complex civil matters.

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Thursday, March 12, 2015

Trial Tech Tips - Trial Presentation Shortcuts

Those of us who use computers frequently in our work use a handful of software programs on a regular basis. A few of the most common applications for Windows include Word, Excel and Outlook. Those are just a few of the tools we use most and know best. Many also take advantage of a series of “shortcuts” for handling repetitive functions. Using special keystroke combinations such as CTRL + C to copy a selection or CTRL + V to paste the clipboard contents takes just a fraction of the time it would require to use the toolbar menu, or to right-click and select the desired function from the popup menu. While we could cover a number of shortcuts for common software, we’re going to stick with the “Trial Tips” theme here, and focus a bit on TrialDirector. I will include a link to download a handy TrialDirector shortcut guide at the end of this article. No signup, no fee, no registration required. Just yours free to download.

This article is number 5 in a series entitled “Trial Tech Tips.” Focused on the crossroads of law and technology, and in no particular order, we will share a collection of proven and tested methods for accomplishing a wide variety of common and/or critical tasks encountered during trial preparation or presentation. We will also try to rank them from one to ten on a “geek scale,” with one being not too technical, and 10 being very technical.

On a geek scale of one to ten, this article would be rated at about a 9 or 10.

We develop a comfort zone with programs we use on a daily basis, but it can be a different story when using applications we don’t use regularly – perhaps like PowerPoint or even TrialDirector. While nothing beats frequent use and familiarity when it comes to using complex software, you can spend some time learning a few tricks for the tasks you expect to use a lot. For PowerPoint, it might be learning how to quickly access image properties so you can add a drop-shadow and outline, or adding slide numbers. For TrialDirector, you should know how to immediately access the most common presentation tools, including projection zoom (callout) and highlighter. For more on using these two features, also see Trial Tech Tips – Zoom and Highlighter.

Here are several shortcuts you can use to quickly access a few features used often in trial.

Projection Zoom – ALT + I
Highlighter – ALT + H
Full Screen Top of Exhibit (additional zoom if repeated) – CTRL + INS
Return to Normal from Full Screen – CTRL + DEL
Undo Last Action (may be repeated for multiple Undo) – CTRL + Z

Next, we'll share some extremely helpful exhibit screen placement shortcuts. The “F” keys on the top of your keyboard must be set up to operate as normal Windows keys. Some newer keyboards will override the standard functions, but they can be set back to the standard format.

F1 through F9 are screen “zone” keys, although you will usually use the full screen, or perhaps a side-by-side arrangement.
F1 – Left
F2 – Right
F3 – Top
F4 – Bottom
F5 – Top Left 
F6 – Top Right
F7 – Bottom Left
F8 – Bottom Right
F9 – Full Screen

One easy way to remember how to transfer, add or replace an exhibit in a zone is by using the word “TAR.” I actually used to put a “TAR” sticker on the top of my keyboard.
F10 – “T” for Transfer
F11 – “A” for Add
F12 – “R” for Replace

This is a sampling of some very useful shortcuts. If you use TrialDirector regularly, having an extra set of quick-access tools can be very helpful. If you only use it once or twice a year in trial, when it comes to crunch time you may find you've forgotten them. Under pressure, they need to flow automatically. For a smaller trial, it may not matter if you take a little extra time. If it is a large or complex trial, you may want to consider bringing in someone who does this stuff on a daily basis. Here is a link to download your own TrialDirector Shortcuts sheet in PDF format.

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