Within this section you’ll find our general musings and updates, along with a Spotlight section where we shine a light on individual members.

May 2023 - PowerPoint & Excel Tips and Tricks

We all have our lifehacks for saving time and making things easier – the same goes for working on our documents.  We love an opportunity to collaborate and learn from each other, so thanks to everyone that sent their favourite tips and tricks - from the little known, to the most popular - so that Clare could share them for everyone to benefit.

If you weren't able to join live, do watch the recording to find out what we learnt from each other at this virtual event.

Recordings from our previous events are also available on our Webinars page.

We'll be producing a quick reference guide detailing some of our favourite tips from the session, but in the meantime we'd like to share thoughts from Theresa Milmoe (European IT Trainer for Maples Group), who attended the session:

The "oooh" moments. As Clare said herself, it's what every trainer wants to hear in a training session. We know we've shared something that's going to save time or add value for whatever reason to the participants.

In the Tips and Tricks Excel and PowerPoint session, we had lots of silent "oooh" moments, in the Chat. Where lots of attendees (our informed DEG peers) were excited by some functionality that they weren't aware of before. For me, in PowerPoint it was holding the Shift key when creating shapes to ensure a pure square/circle/triangle, and the very topical Accessibility in PowerPoint – points to consider for future in house sessions!

In Excel, Alt + "+" for the Sum function. Right Clicking the Fill handle (why did I never do this before?) to only fill weekdays! and Ctrl + A, Alt & Shift, then right click to Copy as Path. I've been doing this via OneNote, and Copy text from picture, if it's a long list this would save so much time!

Document Accessibility – April 2023

Event write up by Hanneke ter Veen-Hockney, regular attendee

“If you don’t design for accessibility, it’s like saying to every fifth person who walks in your door, ‘I don’t really want your business.’”*

That’s 20% of your (potential) clients, but also of your (potential) employees. And that’s why, Julia Satov of Litera reminded us, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is so important. Making your documents, but also presentations, elearning, website, signage, and video conferences accessible from the outset ensures your clients and employee talent always feel welcome (and not just after they’ve had to ask for adjustments).

Julia was very honest and inspirational in saying that her organisation is not there yet, but their aspiration is to make their products and workplace accessible. By learning about the needs of their clients and employees. By putting accessibility at the forefront. Events like this one will hopefully help us all to learn about and normalise accessibility.

There is so much to learn on the topic. A list of all the knowledge and suggestions from the meeting would be a useful start. Here are some I remember:

  • Richard MacDougall mentioned he recently learned to add Alt text descriptions to any images for people with vision impairments.
  • The panel gave a brief demonstration of the Accessibility Checker in Microsoft PowerPoint and Word (on the Review tab > Accessibility), and Adobe Acrobat.
  • Julia suggested listing what accessible resources your organisation has.
  • The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) give helpful advice on accessible websites.
  • And my personal favourite: Accessibility made Easy (you can also follow them on LinkedIn).

Thankfully, accessibility is becoming easier with software providers like Microsoft and Adobe building it into their products. There is also a lot we can do to bake accessibility into our document templates and processes, like enabling subtitles in Zoom meetings. And as a trainer, I can build (checking for) accessibility into my PowerPoint, Word and house style sessions.

What could you do to welcome the 20%?

*quote by Bert Floyd, Team Lead of Assistive Technologies TD Bank, Canada, from the DEG panel presentation

Hanneke ter Veen-Hockney
Senior IT Training Consultant
iTrain Legal

Hanneke ter Veen-Hockney

About Hanneke

Hanneke is a Senior IT Training Consultant for iTrain Legal, and a regular attendee of Document Excellence Group events.  We love it when she joins us as she is always ready to contribute her knowledge and experiences in discussions.

April 2023 - Document Accessibility

As we consider the changes made in every workplace to address Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, we realise the progress we have made is remarkable. Over the decades we have widened entranceways, cut ramps into our walkways, provided facilities accessible to all, opened educational and career opportunities to women and the underserved  ...along with myriad other efforts to diversify the workplace, treat all with the human dignity we deserve, and make available the technologies that help us all succeed.

But what are we doing to leverage technological improvements to make our documents “accessible”?

During our April event we discussed the following questions:

  • Why is it important to consider accessibility for our documents?
  • How can we make your documents more accessible?
  • What features we are leveraging to make our document collections accessible?
  • What can we do to support this initiative?

If you weren't able to join us, or wish to recap any elements of the discussion, you can access the recording on our Webinar Recordings page, or review the slide deck: DEG Roundtable-Accessibility in Documents.

One of our regular attendees Hanneke ter Veen-Hockney provided her thoughts on the event in this useful and interesting writeup.  Thanks Hanneke!

Manipulating PDFs – February 2023

Event write up by Sharon Gordon, regular attendee

The DEG event, Manipulating and Managing PDFs, that took place in February 2023 was very enlightening, and I am very glad I was able to attend as I learned a lot about PDFs and how they are being used today.

I recall many years ago when PDFs were fairly new, it was used so that people couldn't edit or manipulate the contents of a document.  Fast forward to today and that is definitely a thing of the past.

I have been using PDFs for a very long time throughout my life and in my careers and I still picked up lots of new information about them and I have to say, things have changed with PDFs a lot!

What I found fascinating was the way in which PDFs can now be edited and manipulated like a Word document.  How did we get here?  That was one of the questions asked during the event and I was very interested to hear what reasons were given for this.  One answer given was that people wanted to be able to manipulate scanned documents and to restyle them.  That's fine, but why can't this be done in Word?

All the speakers participating in the event, Lee Trevallion, Michael Lawton, Sheila Quansah-Solomon and Rob Simcock, were very knowledgeable and answered all the questions they were asked fully and thoroughly and shared so much information about the life of PDFs.  I would like to say thank you to the team for all the information they shared with the group.  I found it very, very useful and I can now share that information in my own training sessions.

Thank you to DEG for putting on this and other events and I look forward to attending more in the future.

Sharon Gordon
IT Trainer and Change Specialist
SG Web Craft Ltd.

Sharon Gordon

About Sharon

Sharon is an IT Trainer and Change Specialist who helps businesses to navigate their system changes to ensure a smooth transition and encourage good use of new software and/or ways of working and she is currently contracting for a high street retailer in their Communications and Change Management team.  As well as creating and updating training guides and videos, she does training where required and helps with firmwide communications regarding system updates.  She has worked in the legal and financial field for many years.

If training is identified as required during a transition period, Sharon will create and deliver the relevant courses, create training documentation and videos and be the ‘go-to’ person for any questions following training.

February 2023 - Manipulating PDFs

A big thanks to everyone that joined in our event on the benefits and challenges of working with PDFs.  This was a virtual event with a lively discussion led by Sheila Quansah-Solomon and Joanne Humber, joined by Michael Lawton (Kofax), Lee Trevallion (Kofax) and Rob Simcock (Kutana)We also had many questions and contributions from the 90 attendees that joined us.

The topics discussed included some background of the PDF format, as well the real world challenges of manipulating PDFs, the tools available when working with them, and considerations that should be taken into account now that editing PDFs has become more accessible:

  • PDF as a document format and its intended workflow
  • Benefits of PDF vs other document formats
  • The need to manipulate… and who is driving this?
  • What are the challenges?
  • Are security, compliance, signatures, etc compromised in the process?
  • Maintaining compatibility
  • PDF formats, what are they and are they needed?
  • What’s new in PDF software features?
  • Is there a danger of PDFs becoming another editable format?

This session was recorded; and is available to view here: Webinar Recordings 

A big thanks to our member Sharon Gordon, who provided her thoughts on the event: Manipulating PDFs – member write-up

Upcoming Event: 22 February 2023 Event - Manipulating PDFs

Virtual: Manipulating PDFs – Join the DEG community on 22 February.  We'll be exploring the real world challenges of manipulating PDFs, the tools available when working with them, and considerations that should be taken into account now that editing PDFs has become more accessible.  We’ll also discuss the implications of manipulating a PDF when you shouldn’t, and get some tips from the experts.

This will be a virtual event available to our international community, with the time scheduled as follows:
4:00 pm to 5:00 pm (GMT)
11:00 am to 12:00 pm (EST)
8:00 am to 9:00 am (PST)

If you would like to register for this event, please complete this form, so that joining instructions can be sent to you.

January Double Bill - Ask the Experts/DEG Teams Talk

January brought us something of a bonanza - with two events running back to back on the 22nd, and an opportunity for networking in-person for anyone in London. The topics covered at the two round-tables were "Ask the Experts", and Microsoft Teams.

A big thanks to our sponsor Kofax for supporting these events.

Kofax Power PDF banner - Our January 2023 sponsor


In-person (London)/Virtual: Ask the experts - Our panel and an expert audience discussed document production initiatives and solutions to common challenges. This was our first in-person event for a while, with Milbank opening their new office in London to us as a venue.  In addition large number of attendees from around the world were able to join via Zoom.  For those able to join in-person in London, there was a networking event with food and drinks and lively conversation afterwards.

Thanks to Joanne Humber for her write up on the event, and Danielle John-Charles for providing us with photographs - available to view on our gallery.

Virtual: DEG Teams Talk: A roundtable discussion about the journey to Microsoft Teams - This was an in-depth discussion chaired by Richard MacDougall, with input from Sherry Kappel, Tracy Kraft, Pat Mansuy, as well as the attendees providing their own experiences.  Much useful information was shared, with the conversation included tips for getting the best out of Teams, (including features) we might not be aware of, best practices, and governance considerations.

Watch the recording here:

Thumbnail for Teams Roundtable

Thanks again to Joanne Humber for her write up of the proceedings.

January 2023 - Round Table Events

On January 25th, the DEG Organising Committee are excited to be able to bring two round table events to our community:

  • Ask the Experts  (Virtual and In-person - London)
  • DEG Teams Talk (Virtual)

For anyone able to attend in-person in London, there will also be the opportunity to network afterwards at a nearby venue.

To find out more about either event, click here.

Document Excellence Day – 12 October 2022 (virtual)

Once again, our Document Excellence Day was held as a virtual event, allowing attendees to join from all over the world.  Sessions were hosted in the U.K. and U.S. -  it was fabulous to hear from our wonderful speakers, as well as the enthusiastic contributions to discussion from all the attendees.

A big thanks to everyone that helped make this day possible, especially our sponsors this year, who were:

Document Excellence Day 2022 sponsor logs

Supporting Materials

Conference Agenda


Welcome - New Committee Member - Martin Dentith

We're pleased to welcome Martin Dentith onto the Organising Committee.  Martin has worked in the legal IT sector for over 15 years, working with a variety of UK Legal 500 law firms. Currently with Simmons & Simmons LLP, he is the defacto go-to person for all things document related within the Simmons & Simmons family. He has a passion for delivering intuitive and innovative solutions to streamline the document creation and maintenance process and also works closely with the M&BD department to deliver legal documents that are more engaging to the client, alongside delivering a strong brand experience.


Document Excellence Day 2022 - Thanks to our Contributors

Thank you to all the speakers and panelists who have given up their time to discuss and educate us on a variety of topics around the theme of "The Future – New Core Challenges”.



Document Excellence Day - Sponsors 2022

Thank you to our sponsors
your support is invaluable to us

Find out more about our sponsors

Document Excellence Day Agenda 2022

Check out the agenda for the Document Excellence Day.  You can Download it here.

Calling Document Specialists

Are you a Document Specialist who has to struggle with marketing and business development documents? Would you join a panel at the Document Excellence Day (virtually) to discuss the challenges of producing branded / marketing documents. Contact - we'd love to hear from you.

Document Excellence Day 2022 - Save the Date

We’re pleased to announce the next Document Excellence Day will take place on 12th October 2022.

Once again, the event will be virtual.  This can be joined from any location giving us the opportunity to connect internationally with as many of our friends and colleagues as possible. Watch this space for more information - the full Agenda and Joining Instructions will be available soon.


Find out more about the Capabilities Matrix

What skills exist within our Document Center teams? What is our succession plan as long-time staff retire? Do we know what capabilities will be lost? Since our Document Centers have started providing expertise in emerging technology, how do we assess our team to determine the capabilities to develop or hire?

The DEG Capabilities Matrix is designed to catalogue and visualize the capabilities of the document center team. It can be used to communicate, analyze, and visualize trends.

Watch Sherry Kappel and Richard MacDougall explain the background, how it works and take you through a real life example.


Welcoming a new Committee Member

We’re really pleased to welcome Richard MacDougall from Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton on to the organising committee. Richard is a passionate legal technology strategist with extensive experience supporting global law firms. He approaches technology challenges in the evolving legal tech landscape with open-mindedness, flexibility, and a willingness to learn. With 30+ years of experience within law firms and another five years working for legal technology vendors, he implements, guides, and teaches innovation that is critical for firms and their user communities to grow and adapt to change. Even before joining the committee, he played a huge part in the development of the Capabilities Matrix.

Changes to the Organising Committee

There have been some changes on the Organising Committee.

  • Angela Crossland – Chair
  • Clare Waller – Secretary
  • Joanne Humber  – Membership Secretary
  • Julie McCarthy – Treasurer

Other Committee Members are

  • (UK) Andrea Bowyer, Annette Brown, Kim Walton, Maria Clancy, Sheila Quansah Solomon
  • (US) Heather Morrow, Richard MacDougall, Sherry Kappel, Tracy Kraft

You can find out a little more about them by clicking here.

If you'd like to become involved please contact us at