Paperless & remote working in Covid-19 times: 2

Paperless advocacy has fast become essential for any barrister working in our court system during the pandemic. Part 2 of this two-part series shows you how, step-by-step, to make your e-bundle fully searchable, insert/remove pages, and annotate – using Adobe Acrobat and PDF Expert

By Darren Howe QC, Elizabeth Isaacs QC, Matthew Maynard, Matthew Richardson and Lucy Maxwell


This is the second of two articles providing slimmed-down versions of the skills papers provided at the Family Law Bar Association paperless working seminars on 26 March 2020. In the first part we addressed the steps to be used with Adobe Acrobat Pro DC and PDF Expert version 7 to produce indexed and paginated e-bundles. In this second part of the series we describe how to change your bundle to a fully searchable format, and how to annotate and create summaries of your annotations.

Adobe Acrobat Pro DC

Converting your bundle into a searchable digital file (OCR)

The ‘optical character recognition’ (OCR) function on Adobe Acrobat Pro DC is extremely useful. It changes the documents in your bundle into a format that can be searched by the software.

To convert the bundle:

  • Open the bundle in Adobe Acrobat Pro DC.
  • Click on ‘TOOLS’.
  • Click on ‘ENHANCE SCANS’ or ‘SCAN & OCR’.
  • Click on ‘RECOGNISE TEXT’.
  • Click on ‘IN THIS FILE’.
  • Click on ‘All Pages’ or ‘Page Range’ if you want to choose specific pages to do first.
  • Click on ‘English UK’.
  • Click on ‘RECOGNISE TEXT’.

 

You cannot work on the file whilst it is running the OCR so it is best done early when receiving the files or e-bundle. You will notice the pages that were photocopied on a slant will be straightened and the text will appear clearer on the screen.

Searching the converted bundle

To search the bundle:

  • Open the bundle in Adobe Acrobat Pro DC.
  • Click on ‘EDIT’ at the very top of the screen.
  • Click on ‘ADVANCED SEARCH’.
  • Insert your search terms.
  • Click on ‘SEARCH’.
  • You key word or phrase will appear in the list of results (within the sentence it appears on each page).
  • If you click on the icon of the floppy disk, you can download the search results.

 

NB A basic search can be done by clicking on ‘EDIT and then ‘FIND’ (or cmd + F or Ctrl + F). Type your search terms and it works very much like the equivalent in Word files or an internet browser.

PDF Expert

The steps set out in this document in regular text are for PDF Expert on Macbook. The steps set out in bold are for PDF Expert on iPad.

Converting your bundle into a searchable digital file (OCR)

Currently, OCR conversation is not possible on PDF Expert. The lack of ability to do this is one of the biggest drawbacks with PDF Expert.

Searching the converted bundle

To search the bundle:

  • Open the bundle in PDF Expert.
  • Click in the search bar in the top right-hand corner:
  • Or, press the following shortcut: ⌘F.
  • Search hits appear in a window in the right-hand side of the screen.

 

This feature works best on a bundle that has been converted by OCR either by you in Adobe Acrobat Pro DC before sending it to your iPad or by OCR being applied before the e-bundle was sent to you.

Adobe Acrobat Pro DC

Inserting or removing pages to/from an existing bundle

Often an e-bundle will be received and marked-up for a hearing and then additional documents or an updated version of the bundle will be received. If you have already annotated the bundle you will want to add the new pages to your existing bundle so that your notes are not lost.

Extracting pages

To remove pages from a new/updated e-bundle:

  • Click ‘TOOLS’.
  • Click ‘ORGANISE PAGES’.
  • Select the pages you wish to extract (click on the first then press Shift and then click on the last or use cmd/Ctrl if you are not selecting sequential pages).
  • Click ‘EXTRACT’.
  • Do not Select ‘DELETE PAGES AFTER EXTRACTING’ – is a good idea to leave the pages if taking from a new bundle to add into an existing bundle – just in case you need the whole new bundle for any reason or you make a mistake with your extracting.
  • If you select ‘EXTRACT PAGES AS SEPARATE FILES’, each page will be a new PDF file. You are unlikely to want this as you will want all pages in one PDF.
  • The pages extracted appear as a new file with the title ‘Pages from…’ in the open file tabs across the top of the Adobe window. To rename this file use ‘SAVE AS’ in the ‘FILE’ menu. This new file should be saved if it is to be inserted into a new bundle.

 

Inserting pages into an existing bundle

To add pages to an e-bundle:

  • Click on ‘TOOLS’.
  • Click on ‘ORGANISE PAGES’.
  • Click on ‘INSERT’.
  • Select ‘FROM FILE’.
  • Chose file to be inserted from saved filed and press ‘SELECT’.
  • Select location – ‘Before’ or ‘After’.
  • Select ‘First’ or ‘Last’ depending on whether you are adding pages to the beginning or end of the bundle or ‘Page’ and then type in the PDF page number if adding pages within the section.
  • Click ‘OK’ – the pages will insert and adopt the appropriate PDF page number but you will need to add a ‘Footer’ to give the new pages their section page numbers (if you have built your own bundle and added electronic section and page numbers this will automatically update).

 

PDF Expert

Inserting or removing pages to/from an existing bundle

Extracting pages/removing pages

To remove pages from a new/updated e-bundle:

  • Click the page thumbnails icon again: 
  • You can click on individual pages to select them (hold ⌘ as you click to select a number of different pages. If you want to select a continuous run of pages, click on the first page, hold down ⇧ key and then click on the last page).
  • Click  and then save.

OR:

  • Press on the ‘thumbnail view’ icon.
  • Press on ‘select’ on the top right.
  • Select each page to extract
  • Press ‘extract’.
  • Chose save location.
  • Press save.

 

Inserting pages into an existing bundle

To add pages to an e-bundle:

  • Follow the same process as merging (see Part 1).

 

Saving your bundle so it can be accessed on all your devices

We have all had to undertake GDPR certification and should all, by now, be saving our files to a secure cloud-based storage facility. The advantage of using a cloud-based service is that you will be able to access your newly constructed and annotated bundle from any of your devices with access to that cloud.

Adobe Acrobat Pro DC

Annotating your bundle with comments and highlighting

Highlighting

If you want anything you highlight to be copied and pasted into a comment and the comment list (very useful as we shall see later) you need to ensure your Adobe settings are changed to do this:

  • For a Mac, Click on ‘ACROBAT PRO DC’ at top of the laptop window (not the Adobe window) on the top left next to the Apple icon. For a windows laptop click on the ‘EDIT’ menu.
  • For a Mac, click on ‘PREFERENCES’. For windows click on ‘PREFERENCES’ at the bottom and in the list on the left choose ‘Commenting’.
  • When the menu appears (under ‘Making Comments’) tick ‘Enable text selection for Highlight, Strikethrough and Underline’.
  • Also tick ‘copy selected text into Highlight, Strikethrough and Underline and replace text comment pop-ups’.

 

To highlight text on a page (this needs to be searchable text ie after you have done the OCR process (above)):

  • Click on ‘COMMENTS’ if a Highlighter icon is not already showing in your tool bar.
  • Click on the ‘Highlight text’ icon (that looks like a highlighter pen).
  • Press and drag the cursor over the text that you wish to highlight.
  • The text should now be highlighted and entered into your comments list.
  • To view your comments list (if not already visible) click on the horizontal right facing arrow on the right-hand side of the Adobe window.

 

To change the colour of your highlighter:

  • Click on the coloured circle in the horizontal icon toolbar (this additional toolbar is only visible when you have clicked on the ‘COMMENTS’ tool).
  • Select and click a new colour.

 

Making comments

To make a comment (a link to a note you make about a something on the page):

  • Click on ‘COMMENTS’.
  • Click on the speech bubble icon on the far left of the horizontal icon menu that is called ‘add sticky note’.
  • Move the cursor on the page where required and click.
  • A box appears in the comment list on the right side of the page.
  • Type in your note.

 

Click on ‘post’ and you comment with appear in the comments list on the right-hand side of the page.

Replying to a comment

Whether the comment is created by highlighting or by entering a note, you can reply to each comment entered into the comment list. To do this:

  • Click on the ‘COMMENT’ in the list.
  • A reply box will appear.
  • Click on ‘REPLY’.
  • Type your reply.
  • Click on ‘POST’.

 

This function is useful when preparing a case as you can use it to create lists of matters upon which you want to take instructions or challenge in cross-examination. As all your comments are searchable (see below) you can use key words in comments or in replies and then obtain a list of references/pages containing those references. You might use the words ‘CHECK’ if you need to take instructions and ‘CHALLENGE’ if you need to deal with a matter in cross-examination. You can then search the whole bundle and obtain a list of all matters you need to check or challenge – very useful and saves a huge amount of time.

Other annotation tools

The horizontal menu of icons contains a number of other tools you will find useful such as underlining and strikethrough. Again, experiment with each of these tools to see what might be useful for you.

PDF Expert

Annotating your bundle with comments, underlining and highlighting

You can access ‘noting-up’ tools via the bar at the top of the page: 

Click on ‘annotate’ and the following suite of tools appears: 

Highlighting

To highlight text on a page after you have done the OCR process (above):

  • Click on the highlight function and it will turn blue: 
  • Different colour options will appear down the right-hand side of the page.
  • Press and drag the cursor over the text that you wish to highlight.

 

Making comments

To make a comment (a link to a note you make about a something on the page):

  • Click on ‘COMMENTS’ box: 
  • Move the cursor on the page where required and click.
  • A box appears.
  • Type in your note.
  • Click off the box, and an icon is left on the screen.

 

There are many other annotation options in PDF Expert so please experiment.

Adobe Acrobat Pro DC

To create, export, print and search comment lists

As described above, making notes that you are able to search is very useful and saves time.

To create different comment lists that are arranged on the basis of the type of annotation:

  • Click on the golf-tee icon in the comments list.
  • Click on the type of annotation which you wish to search or use to make an exportable list.
  • Click on the 3 horizontal dots icon on top left of comments list window.
  • Click on ‘Create a comment summary’.
  • Select choices in the menu as appropriate. You are likely to only want a document that contains the pages that show a comment, so untick ‘Pages containing no comments’.
  • Click ‘Create a comment summary’.

 

A new PDF page will appear that has each page marked and the comment made.

To search all of your comments or any sub-list of comments created:

  • Click in the ‘Search comments’ box.
  • Type in the search terms, such as ‘challenge’.
  • Each note that contains the word ‘challenge’ will appear in the list and the word itself is highlighted within the comment.
  • Click on the note and you are taken to the page to which the comment attaches.
  • To export the list of search results, click on the 3 dots icon.

 

Searching your comments and creating exportable files of the notes you have made saves time when preparing examination of witnesses and submissions. You can create lists of issues to consider for submissions or even re-examination as your client is being cross-examined. If you are smart and consistent in the labels you use for your notes, you will be able to find references extremely quickly.

PDF Expert

To create, export, print and search comment lists

To create different comment lists that are arranged on the basis of the type of annotation:

  • Click on the ‘annotations’ tab.
  • Whilst hovering over your list of annotations, drag down gently with two fingers on your trackpad and a search function appears (on iPad drag down on bookmarks or outline list in the right-hand menu).
  • Words can be searched in the search bar.
  • The grey disc with a red strike-through allows you to select different types (and colours) of annotations.
  • To export all highlights and annotations, do so by clicking ‘export annotations’ at the foot of the screen.

 

To search all your comments or any sub-list of comments created:

  • Click in the ‘Search comments’ box.
  • Type in the search terms.
  • Click on the note and you are taken to the page to which the comment attaches.
  • To export the list of search results, export as above.

 

Adobe Acrobat (not available on PDF Expert)

Converting a PDF to a Word document

It may be that we have the need to amend a document received as a PDF. If adding text or making text alterations this is better done in Microsoft Word than in Adobe.

To convert a PDF to a word document:

  • Click on ‘FILE’ at top of main window.
  • Place cursor on ‘Export to’ and then on ‘Microsoft Word’ and then on ‘Word document’ and click.
  • A window will then appear giving you options for saving the Word document.

 

Once amended, you can save your document as normal and add whatever security measures you wish:

  • Click on ‘FILE’ at the top left of the main screen.
  • Click on ‘Properties’.
  • Click on the ‘Security’ tab in the pop-up menu – on the top 2nd from left.
  • Click on ‘Security method’ and add whatever type of security you wish.
Category: 
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Author details: 
Darren Howe QC

Darren Howe QC of 1GC Family Law specialises in complex child protection cases and private law children disputes. Darren sits as a Deputy High Court Judge and has been ‘paperless’ for three years.

Elizabeth Isaacs QC

Elizabeth Isaacs QC of St Ives Chambers is a family law silk specialising in public and private children law and sits as a Deputy High Court Judge. Liz has been 'paperless' for two years.

Matthew Maynard

Matthew Maynard is a family law specialist practising from St Ives Chambers, Birmingham. He is a family law arbitrator and sits as a Recorder. Matthew has been ‘paperless’ for three years.

Matthew Richardson

Matthew Richardson is a family law specialist and mediator at Coram Chambers, London, where he is also head of IT and joint head of wellbeing. Matthew has been ‘paperless’ for 10 years. 

Lucy Maxwell

Lucy Maxwell of 1GC Family Law practises in all areas of work heard in the Family Court and the Court of Protection.