ID capture

In my legal writing, I often use the Latin phrase shortcut “id.” or “Id.” to refer to a prior cite in the document (see the Wikipedia entry here). The problem is, those shortcuts are supposed to be in italics, which can slow you down as you are writing a brief or require you to return and format those statements later.

One way I’ve solved this issue is to use AHK. My script is relatively simple and is designed for use with Microsoft Word: “:*:id/::^iId.^i{space 2}”. You type “id/” and the script gives you Id. formatted appropriately.

Here’s how it works. AHK can do anything you can do on a keyboard. The script is telling the computer to replace the “id/” with keyboard shortcut Control + “i” to turn on italic formatting, the characters capital “i”, lower case d, a period, and then Control key + “i” again to turn off italics. The last part of the phrase tells the computer to press the space key 2 times. So, you can just keep typing after entering your cite. Slick.

You can also modify the script to make it case sensitive (e.g., id/ for lower case id. and Id/ for upper case Id.).

Now, typing the id. cite does not require any special formatting or finding and replacing after the fact. Hopefully, this tip will help you focus more on content creation, rather than formatting.

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