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Barry MacDonnell's
Toolbox for WordPerfect

Macros, tips, and templates for Corel® WordPerfect® for Windows®
© Copyright 1996-2021 by Barry MacDonnell. All Rights Reserved.

Page updated Jan 5, 2016

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Modifying the legal Pleading feature

Pleading document

Related items -

•  Pleading Setup - an alternative macro to create a basic Pleading but with some differences from the WordPerfect Pleading feature (described in the right column ►)

•  Headers, Footers, and Watermarks - how to start, stop, suppress, edit, change, replace, delay, overlay, and remove them

•  Using two footers simultaneously (one for page number, the other for separator line and filename, etc.) so that items do not overlap

•  The EdgeText macro - place text, date, or filename outside the page margins

•  Creating and modifying custom templates 

•  Formatting a legal Transcript document 

WordPerfect menu choices (below) refer to the <WordPerfect> menu (right-click on the top menu bar for a choice of menus).

If you use a <Microsoft Word> menu, the choices might be absent from your menu (but not from the program), or they might be found under another menu selection. If the menu choices or toolbars discussed below seem to be missing from your program, see here.

The Pleading 

To create a basic legal pleading format ("pleading paper") in the current document you can use one of the following methods.

[Method A] Use the Tools, Legal Tools submenu of the standard <WordPerfect menu> if you have an edition with this feature. You can also make the Legal toolbar visible with View, Toolbars, Legal:

Pleading toolbar

(Shown here is the WordPerfect X6 version.)

The first button creates the vertical lines and line numbers along the edge of the Pleading page, as well as some other page formatting. Clicking the button simply plays the Corel-supplied shipping macro,pleading.wcm, which displays a menu of choices and then creates the basic document structure inside a watermark (see the "Modifying ..." section below).

The second button (WordPerfect 11 and later) brings up the optional Pleading Expert Designer, which is a built-in, self-contained program module that helps design a legal pleading.

The third button displays the optional Pleading Expert Filler, which lets you organize and store reusable pleading document information.

[Method B] You can also just directly play the Corel shipping macro, pleading.wcm to create the basic document structure: Click on Tools, Macro, Play and type the word "pleading" in the File name field in the Play Macro dialog and press Play.

[Method C] For an alternative setup method, see the author's "Pleading Setup macro" in the main Library, which creates a basic Pleading but with some differences from the WordPerfect Pleading feature -- such as allowing more fine-tuning of the format, and optionally using single-space numbering in the margin of the pleading.

See also WordPerfect's Help (F1) and search for "pleading".

Modifying the Pleading

What you may not know is that the lines and numbers are created in a watermark (Watermark B) which is inserted into the document's initial style code by the Pleading Expert's pleading.wcm macro. [Note: This statement refers to creating a Pleading with Method A and Method B above. Method C uses a slightly different apporach.]

That's why the feature is often hard to find -- deliberately so, since most users have little need to modify it, and most would not want the [Watermark B] code deleted accidentally. So it is hidden inside the [Open Style: DocumentStyle] code in Reveal Codes. If you create a pleading document and double-click this code, you will see a [Watermark B] code in the Styles Editor's Contents field -- i.e., a code within a code (see the screen shot below).

Generally, you probably will not want to modify the pleading macro's hidden Watermark B, since you can modify the resulting document with graphics, text boxes, etc., but if you really want to do it, here are the steps. (You will need two empty documents available.)

  • 1. Create a new Pleading document (as above, with either Method A or Method B).

    We will call this "Document A."

    Open Reveal Codes (View, Reveal Codes). Double-click on the [Open Style: DocumentStyle] code (that is, the document's initial style code) at the very top of the Pleading document, to edit it. (Make sure you are at the top of the main document window and not inside a header.)

    The Styles Editor pops up:

  • 2. Select the code. Place the cursor in the Contents pane, to the immediate left of the [Watermark B] code, which is the code that produces line numbers, etc., in the Pleading. Hold down the Shift key and press the right arrow key once. This selects just the watermark code containing the Pleading formatting.

    Pleading document Styles Editor

    If there are lots of other codes and/or text in the Contents pane, make a note of where the [Watermark B] code is located. You will want to return there in Step 9.

  • 3. Temporarily remove the [Watermark B] code. Press Ctrl+X to cut the code from the Styles Editor to the Windows clipboard.

  • 4. Relocate the [Watermark B] code. Exit from the Styles Editor (with OK) back to the main document. Open a new blank document ("Document B"), and paste the copied [Watermark B] code into the body text area of that blank document with Ctrl+v.

    This document is a "temporary work area" where you can modify the Watermark code's contents in isolation from the original document.

  • 5. Open the relocated [Watermark B] code for editing. With Reveal Codes still open, edit the watermark by double-clicking on its [Watermark B] code in Reveal Codes (or use the Insert, Watermark choice on the top menu bar).

    You should now see "[(Watermark B)]" at the top of the WordPerfect program's window to let you know you are editing the watermark:

    Pleading document watermark window title

  • 6. Make your desired changes to Watermark B.

    • For example:

      While in the Watermark B editing window you could add a text box (with Insert, Text Box) containing some identifying information
      such as your firm's logo and/or name. See steps 6(a) and 6(b) below.

      When finished filling the text box, click the Close button on the property bar (or use File, Close) to return to the Watermark B editing window.

      Then re-position the text box outside the watermark's left or right margin.


        ☼  You can format the text in the box with (e.g.) columns or other text formatting.

        ☼  You can also use merge codes if the document is to be used as a merge form. [See the tip under the sample image below.]

        ☼  Text boxes (like headers, footers, footnotes, etc.) get their basic formatting from the default document style. Hence if double spacing is used as a default in the document (such as in a Pleading) the text box probably will be double spaced, too. To force single spacing in the text box: Edit the text box (click inside it), then double click the [Open Style: BoxText] code in Reveal Codes. Then, when inside the Styles Editor that pops up, add single spacing with Format, Line, Spacing. Click OK.

      ☼  Instead of using text characters inside the text box, you can insert a logo that you might have created as a graphic image, then rotate the text box's contents to rotate the image.

      There are a couple of ways to do this:

      (a) You can do it manually by right-clicking on the completed text box, then optionally choose "Content" to rotate it 90 (or 270) degrees, then right-click the box again to choose "Position" (and then "Attach box to Page"); click OK.

      Attaching the box to the Page will let you select it (right-click, then Select Box) and drag the box (mouse over the perimeter, then left-click-drag) from its current position to a location outside the page margin guidelines (i.e., into the margin area).

      Other right-click options let you remove or change the box's border
      with Border/Fill, and so forth. (See also the Advanced tab on that dialog, which lets you adjust spacing inside and outside the box, and the Fill tab to let you add a custom fill to the box.)

      Or: To automate the creation of a rotated, filled in, outside-the-margin text box and the insertion of it into the Pleading watermark, you could use method (b) instead:

      (b) You can exit from Watermark B, and select and copy just the [Box] code produced in any separate document's watermark by the EdgeText macro.

      That is, you can play that macro -- which has several formatting options -- in a separate document to produce a watermark containing your firm's name, etc., outside the page margin. Then edit that new document's watermark (Insert, Watermark ... Edit) to "clip" just the [Box] code inside it to the Windows clipboard (with Ctrl+c) and paste it (Ctrl+v) here, into your Pleading document's Watermark B. The [Box] code will already have the rotation and position on page information, etc., stored internally, so all you need to do is paste that single [Box] code into the Pleading's watermark.

      Either way, the text box should look something like this on your "[(Watermark B)]" editing screen (i.e., while editing the watermark with Reveal Codes open):

      Pleading document with text box


      ☼  Instead of a rotated text box containing ordinary text, you can also -

      - insert a graphic logo that you might have created, then rotate the text box's contents to rotate the image.

      - use merge codes in the text box if you want to have the ability to easily modify the firm's information for future merges by simply editing the data file that contains the firm's information. (Try using ordinary text first to see how it will look; then remove the text from the box, add the merge codes, and re-test it.)

  • 7. Exit from the Pleading watermark (Watermark B) editing window with File, Close (or with the Close button on the watermark's property bar).

  • 8. Back in the body text area of the main document (i.e., in "Document B"), and still with Reveal Codes open, select just the newly modified [Watermark B] code in Reveal Codes:

    Pleading document - modified watermark

    [Tip: Selection of items in Reveal Codes can often be easier and more precise with Shift + arrow.)

    Use Ctrl+C to copy (or use Ctrl+X to cut) that code to the Windows clipboard.

  • 9. Go back into "Document A," the one where you originally cut the watermark code from its [Open Style] code. Edit that document's [Open Style] code again by double-clicking it and paste the now-revised [Watermark B] code into its original location (step 2) in the Contents field with Ctrl+V.

  • 10. Close the Styles Editor.  The revised watermark should show in the document.

    If it is satisfactory, you could repeat these steps in a custom template so the new Pleading will be readily available whenever you need it.
What about directly editing the Pleading document's initial style code? 

You can create a new Pleading document (as above). Then open Reveal Codes (View, Reveal Codes). Double-click on the [Open Style: DocumentStyle] code (that is, the document's initial style code) at the very top of the Pleading document. (Make sure you are at the top of the main document window and not inside a header.) Make changes as appropriate, then exit from the Styles Editor.


While in the Styles Editor, if you double-click on the [Watermark B] code in the
Contents pane the watermark's own Styles Editor opens ...but... this method can cause WordPerfect to freeze!

Sometimes directly editing a style (and a Watermark is a form of style) while inside another style (here, the document's initial style code) can cause the program to lock up, requiring you to stop the program with the Windows Task Manager (Ctrl+Alt+Delete).


You can cut and paste that [Watermark B] code to a new blank document for editing, as described in the above procedure, then copy and paste the edited version back into the original location.


  • Make it easy to use again. The above method -- and including some of the other tips below -- could be used in a custom template so that new customized pleadings can be loaded when needed. To create custom templates see "Custom templates". To create automated custom templates see here.

  • Did the numbers and lines disappear? Be aware that Watermarks -- like Headers and Footers -- are "repeating elements" and therefore can be superseded (replaced) by another such item of the same type (A or B). Hence, your Pleading could seem to disappear if another Watermark B is used further "downstream" in the document.

  • You can suppress the Pleading marks on a page in the main document. Just place your cursor at the top of the page where you want it suppressed and click Format, Page, Suppress, Watermark B. [See also the tip on Delaying the Pleading, below.]

  • For more information on these items, see "Headers, Footers, and Watermarks - how to start, stop, suppress, edit, change, replace, delay, overlay, and remove them".

  • Related macros. You might be interested in other items on this site, such as -

    • LineBorders - Create a fixed, user-specified line border around pages outside page margins (or any specified printable location)

    • PrntCopy - A macro that can print a copy of your document marked with a stamp outside the margin. [After creating a pleading, play this macro and check the two menu boxes, "Stamp original document" and "For the stamp use Watermark A" (the pleading macro uses Watermark B). Be aware that local jurisdictions may dictate what is required and what is permitted in pleading documents.]

    • See the Library for more macros, and the main Tips page for more tips.

  • You can delay the appearance of the Pleading -- that it, make it skip "x" pages from the start of the document. Let's assume you want to delay the appearance of the Pleading marks until page 3 (if there is a page 3). NOTE: Be sure to carefully follow these instructions, since the procedure -- though simple -- is a bit tricky.

Step 1. Create a Pleading in the current document, which, as we now know, creates a Pleading watermark [Watermark B] code inside the document's initial [Open Style] code.

Step 2. Double-click the [Open Style: DocumentStyle] code (the document's initial style code) at the top of the current Pleading document. In the Styles Editor that pops up, place the cursor to the left of the [Watermark B] code, hold down the Shift key, and press the right arrow key once. This selects just the watermark code. Then press Ctrl+X to cut the code from the Styles Editor to the Windows clipboard.

NOTE: You can take the opportunity at this point to modify the Pleading watermark before using it in a Delay code.

  • Exit from the Styles Editor;
  • paste the watermark code into a new blank document;
  • edit the [Watermark B] code (just double-click it in Reveal Codes);
  • make changes to the Pleading watermark;
  • exit from the watermark window;
  • then select just the revised [Watermark B] code and paste it into the Styles Editor in step #3 below.

Step 3. Still in the Styles Editor dialog, use its own menu to create a Delay code: Click Format, Page, Delay Codes., and set the number of pages to 2, then click OK. This will force WordPerfect to skip the first two pages before displaying the Pleading marks. If the document has fewer pages, the Pleading marks will not display.

Note: The Styles Editor dialog immediately changes to the Define Delayed Codes dialog. Also notice that a floating toolbar appears at the bottom of your screen with 5 buttons on it. You will use it to exit the Define Delayed Codes dialog.

Step 4. Paste the [Watermark B] code in the Styles Editor's Contents field with Ctrl+V.

Step 5. Close the Define Delayed Codes dialog with the Close button on the floating toolbar on the bottom of your screen. You cannot close this dialog with the dialog's OK button. If you try you probably will "hang" the program.

Step 6. Now, press the OK button on the dialog to return to your document. The Pleading numbering will show up on page 3, if there is a page 3. It will not show up on pages 1 and 2.

Note: You can use more than one Delay code in the document's initial style. For example, you can cut a [Delay] code that resets page margins from the main document and paste it into the [Open Style: DocumentStyle] code's Styles Editor, alongside the other [Delay] code(s). Or you could delay the appearance of a header or footer.