More effective legal research with Office 2003

Legal professionals are expected to speak well, write well, and stay current on legal decisions that affect their clients. To accomplish this, they may keep a thesaurus, a legal dictionary, a standard dictionary, and printouts of recent case law close by, perhaps on a nearby bookshelf.

Now, with the Microsoft Office System and the new Research task pane, you can quickly find information online and on your computer without leaving your Office program. You can easily insert definitions and other research information into your document, as well as customize settings to suit your research needs.

Does appellant have one "l" or two? What does the phrase "ab initio" mean? What’s a synonym for "plaintiff"? The answers to these questions and many more can be found by using the new Research task pane in Office 2003. From the Research task pane, you can search multiple sources or select a specific source.

In Microsoft Office Excel 2003, Microsoft Office PowerPoint® 2003, Microsoft Office Publisher 2003, Microsoft Office Word 2003, Microsoft Office Visio® 2003, Microsoft Office OneNote™ 2003, and Microsoft Office Outlook® 2003 (in e-mail reading and composing views), you open the Research task pane by clicking Research on the Tools menu. If your browser is Microsoft Internet Explorer and you click a Web link, the Research task pane travels with you and is displayed on the left side of your screen as you view Web pages. To open the Research task pane in Internet Explorer, on the View menu, point to Explorer Bar, and then click Research.

The following research services are available from the Research task pane:

  • Dictionary: Look up words or phrases in the Microsoft Encarta English dictionary while you work. No more referring to print or other online versions that take you from your workspace. The Encarta dictionary contains approximately 400,000 entries and includes definitions, pronunciation keys, word histories, and usage notes. You can also add other dictionaries, which are then compared with Encarta standards to ensure that you receive the best results.
  • Thesaurus: Look up synonyms while you work, and insert them into your document directly from the Research task pane. You can also click a result to look up additional words, and you can look for words in the thesaurus of another language.
  • Encyclopedia: Research your subject in the Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia, which contains more than 42,000 articles. If you're looking for foundations of modern-day law, maybe it's time to revisit the Code of Hammurabi. Ask a question and review the results. In the list of results, you can view summaries and click related links that take you to additional information on MSN.
  • Translation: Get translations quickly using bilingual dictionaries on your computer and online, or use machine translation on the Web. You can use the bilingual dictionaries to translate single words or short phrases. Machine translation services can translate phrases, paragraphs, or your entire document.
  • Company information: Look up company information while you work. If you aren't sure of a company name, type a few words. Search will find the name, and you can also insert the company information into your document and perform custom actions.

 Note   Custom actions are generated by smart tags (data recognized and labeled as a particular type. For example, a person's name or the name of a recent e-mail message recipient is a type of data that can be recognized and labeled with a smart tag.), a feature of these Office programs.

Comprehensive company information is provided by Gale, a company profile service provider. From the Research task pane, you can reference industry information, company fundamentals, contact information, and other company details.

  • Third-party services: Add third-party premium content to your list of research services, and the Office System will present the most relevant information, based on your search scope and question. Examples of third-party services include Factiva (news), eLibrary (news and periodicals), Gale (company profiles), WorldLingo (translation provider), and LexisNexis™ (legal research).
  • Intranet sites: If your company has an intranet site, you can add it to the Research task pane for easy access to briefs and memoranda written by other attorneys in your office. Microsoft Office SharePoint™ Portal Server 2003 sites are supported. (To add a SharePoint site to the list of All Intranet Sites and Portals, in the Add Services dialog box, type http://<your root directory>/_vti_bin/search.asmx.)
  • Web search: Search the Web alongside your document by using MSN Search. To read more, click a link to view more information on the Web.
Applies to:
Excel 2003, OneNote 2003, Outlook 2003, PowerPoint 2003, Publisher 2003, Visio 2003, Word 2003