TexasBarBooks FAQs

How Do I Modify the Word or RTF Files?


Many but not all TexasBarBooks digital downloads include Word or RTF files that the user can manipulate to generate documents customized to suit particular scenarios. Many of the Word forms are designed for use with the TexasBarBooks Navigational Toolbar, which makes modifying the forms easier. (See the current list of products containing forms designed for use with the toolbar.) All editable text files included with TexasBarBooks' digital downloads, even if designed for modification using the toolbar, may be modified without the toolbar.

See the important note about using the digital download's editable text files to prepare documents in your office.

Below is an overview of how the Word and RTF files are set up for user modification.

  • Text formatting, variables, and hidden text

    • General text formatting

      • Word forms in digital downloads of forms manuals:

        General text formatting in the Word forms should not require much, if any, additional manipulation.

        Nearly all the Word forms are in single-spaced, left-justified, twelve-point Times Roman format. When statutorily required, the use of all-caps, bold-faced type, and larger font sizes is retained in the Word files. Type that appears in small caps in the manual is in regular all-cap type in the Word files. The use of small caps for the designation of p.m. or a.m. in the manual is retained in the Word files.

        A few forms require the use of a table or column format (e.g., form 18-16 in the Texas Family Law Practice Manual, third edition).

        Headers and footers are not used except in forms where a special header or footer is used in the manual. For example, the header reading "Attorney/Client-Privileged Information" on the questionnaire forms in chapter 2 of the Texas Family Law Practice Manual, third edition, and the footer providing a space for initials on each page in the property agreement forms in chapter 63 of the same are included in the corresponding Word files.

        Form titles and headings are generally formatted as they are in the manual, i.e., centered bold-faced type for the titles and flush-left italicized or bold-faced type for the headings.

      • Word files in digital downloads of the PJCs

        The text files replicate the charge/instruction language contained in the printed version, including italic designations, phrases, and bracketed instructions that are intended to be replaced or deleted; additional wording changes may be needed for particular situations. In every case, consult the Comment following the charge/instruction for guidelines on choosing the correct language for a particular jury charge/instruction.

        For general instructions about the hypothetical examples used in the PJCs (civil), see section 4. ("Principles of Style") of the introduction to the book.

        For detailed guidelines on drafting a criminal jury charge, consult the Texas Criminal Pattern Jury Charges volume introduction and "Quick Guide to Drafting a Jury Charge."

    • Text variables

      Text variables, such as "[name of seller]," and instructions that are embedded within paragraphs, such as "[include if applicable: optional language]," which need to be replaced or deleted by the user, are bracketed and appear in bold-faced type. Text choices and optional language, such as "[is/are]," are bracketed and appear in normal roman type. In some products (such as with the PJCs), bracketed, italicized text can also indicate instructive text (e.g., "[Hand out the written instructions.]").

      In some products, such as with the PJCs, the names of hypothetical parties and facts have been italicized (e.g., "Paul Payne" or "Don Davis") to indicate that the names and facts of the particular case should be substituted.

      Many text files have instances where information must be added and where there is not a bracketed item to instruct you to do so. Generally these instances are indicated by a colon (e.g., "Property:"). Searching your documents for colons is recommended to find such occurrences.

      Blank lines in text files generally indicate signature lines or other items that would be filled in after the document is prepared, usually by parties other than the one generating the document, such as your client, a jury foreperson, or a judge. Blank lines, therefore, should almost always be retained in the finished, printed document.

    • Hidden text

      See the general note and important caveat about TexasBarBooks Word forms' instructions set as red, hidden text intended to be manipulated by the toolbar.

      The following items from the forms in the manual will appear as red-colored hidden text:

      • the form or clause number, which corresponds to the one in the manual

      • introductory notes to the form

      • the form title if it would not be part of the finished form; e.g., the title of form 1-1 ("Letter Declining Representation") in the Texas Foreclosure Manual, third edition

      • the bracketed statement alerting the user to insert a caption

      • marginal notes (marginal notes are used in some longer forms to aid navigation through these forms and provide statutory references for the user)

      • boxed instructional text, such as "Select one of the following"

      • boxed warnings, alerts, and informational text

      Be aware that the red, hidden-text instructions in forms often precede paragraphs that must be modified or deleted entirely to suit the given scenario or separate two or more variable paragraphs that must be selected between for the scenario, and unless you are using the form from the manual as a guide as you prepare the electronic one, the hidden text instructing you to make choices will be the only indication that you must modify or delete portions of text. (In instances where the necessity of choosing only some parts of the text is readily apparent, no instruction appears in either the printed or electronic version.)

      The editable text files included with PJC digital downloads do not include any instructions set as hidden text.

  • Read-only protection

    The Word and RTF files included with TexasBarBooks digital downloads are set as read-only so that when the user tries to save a file after modifying it, the word-processor will instead prompt the user to save a copy of the file with a different name and leave the original file unchanged. That way, the user will end up with the modified version saved in a location of the user's choosing with a file name of the user's choosing as well as the original file that came with the digital download ready for use again with the next scenario.

    To make a permanent alteration in a Word or RTF file so that the change will be present every time you open the file for use (such as adding your letterhead or signature block), follow the instructions below:

    1. Navigate to the folder housing the digital download's Word or RTF files (see how the digital downloads are organized here).

    2. Before opening the desired original file in the digital download, right-click over the file name, and in the options that should appear, select "Properties."

    3. In the window that opens, turn off the read-only setting. Click "OK" to close that window.

    4. You may then open and modify the original file as desired.

    5. Save your changes to the original document, close it, and set it back to read-only.

  • Removing metadata before e-sharing

    Click here to see how to remove hidden text, personal information, and other metadata before filing or sharing a document electronically.

TexasBarBooks Contact Information

(800) 204-2222, ext. 1499
(512) 427-1499 (in Austin)