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Word Tips for Legal Writers

Word tips for law students and other legal writers.

URLs

Inserting a URL:

You can type in a URL or copy and paste it from your browser:

The law library's website, https://lib.law.uw.edu, is packed with useful information.

If you know that your reader will be reading the document online, you don't have to display the URL:

The law library's website is packed with useful information.

To insert a URL: Insert > Links > Hyperlink.

Keyboard shortcut: ctrl-k (PC), command-k (Mac).

Long URLs and white space:

Sometimes a URL is too long to fit on a single line in Word and the hyperlink breaks and stops working when it wraps to the second line. Or, when you insert the URL, it moves to the second line creating lots of extra white space. You can use the no-width optional break character in Word to tell Word where to break the URL without breaking access to the resource you're citing, and/or to get rid of the extra white space. This added charater is invisible. To do this:

  1. Put your cursor where you want to insert the character. Ideally this would be after a slash or dash in your URL.
  2. Click Insert>Symbol>More Symbols
  3. Click on the Special Characters tab
  4. Scroll down to No-Width Optional Break
  5. Click Insert

This TechRepublic blog on how to Use Word's no-width optional break character to facilitate wrapping provides some examples and more information.