Law firms and lawyers have specific needs when it comes to using Microsoft Office products. From performing legal reviews to creating citations, learning these tasks is critical for legal success and organization. In this post, we will review using the Research Pane within Microsoft Word 2013.
Using the Research Pane
The research pane no longer appears by default within Word 2013, and must be added to the Quick Access toolbar or the Ribbon before it can be used. The Research Pane functions as a dictionary, thesaurus, encyclopedic reference, and translation tool all-in-one. Also note that you can purchase additional plug-ins from legal reference vendors, such as FindLaw and LexisNexis, that can add additional reference material to this pane. These third-party plug-ins allow you to do research while creating your legal research papers within Word without having to open a separate browser window.
If using Word 2013, you can add the “Research” button to the Quick Access toolbar in order to access the Research Pane. To do this, click the “Customize Quick Access Toolbar” drop-down button at the right end of the Quick Access toolbar and then select the “More Commands…” choice within the drop-down menu that appears. Within the “Word Options” window that opens, select the “All commands” choice from the “Choose commands from:” drop-down at the right side of the window. Then select the “Research…” command within the list below the drop-down, and click the “Add >>” button to the right of the list to move the “Research…” command into the leftmost list. Then click the “OK” button at the bottom of the “Word Options” window to add that command button to the Quick Access toolbar. You can then click the “Research” button within the Quick Access toolbar to display the Research Pane at the right side of the Word application window. You can hide the Research Pane by clicking the small “X” button in the upper-right corner of the Research Pane or by clicking the “Research” button within the Quick Access toolbar again.
To open the Research Pane within Word 2010:2007, click the “Research” button in the “Proofing” button group on the “Review” tab within the Ribbon. The Research Pane will then appear at the right side of the Word application window. When you want to turn off this pane, you can either click the small “X” in the upper-right corner of the Research Pane, or you can click the “Research” button again to turn it off.
Within the Research Pane, you can select a specific type of research provider from the drop-down menu that appears at the top of the window. You can then hold down the “Alt” key on your keyboard and then click on any words that you have typed into your research paper to quickly reference the words that you click using the reference source or sources selected. You can also use the drop-down to select another reference source to search for the selected term, if needed. Any results that are found will be displayed at the bottom of the Research Pane. If you don’t want to use the “Alt” key test selection method to search for terms, then note that you can simply click into the “Search for:” text box at the top of the pane and enter a term for which to search. Then click the adjacent “Start searching” button to search for the term you entered.
Adding Research Providers to the Research Pane
You can also choose which research service providers are used by your Research Pane. If you have subscribed to a research service provider, you can also add them to the Research Pane. Note that there is a hyperlink at the bottom of the Research Pane that you can click to open a web browser that will show you some of the most commonly purchased research providers.
To select your Research Pane service providers, click the “Research options…” hyperlink at the bottom of the Research Pane to open the “Research Options” dialog box. Within the “Research Options” dialog box, you will then see the default service providers, grouped by category.
You can check the reference services that you want to have available within the Research Pane. If you need to add a service manually, you will need to find its hyperlink reference address by consulting your research provider. Once you know the correct address to enter, you can then click the “Add Services…” button to open the “Add Services” dialog box. You can then add the service provider’s hyperlink address into the “Address:” text box. When finished, click the “Add” button to add the service to the listing shown. Depending on the provider, you may also need to step through a small set-up for the reference service. When you have finished adding the service, click the “Close” button to return to the “Reference Options” dialog box.
When you are finished setting your service provider options, you can then click the “OK” button to close the “Research Options” dialog box.