Tag Archives: best practice

Google Docs, Meet Word

When editors work in Word, they have access to many customizable tools and advanced features that make their work more consistent and faster:

Import–Export Handshake

The good news is that Google Docs plays well with Word, now. The bad news is that this requires you to (and only works if you do) export the document into a Word file, work on it, and then re-upload it to Google Docs when you are done.

I’ve let a couple of my editing students use it (for reasons) and am thrilled to find that Google Docs now produces great markup of the Tracked Changes and Comments when it makes a Word file. It also maintains my markup and comments from Word when I reupload it to Google Docs!

I still do better, faster editing work by using all my macros, plug-ins, and dozens of other customized tools in Word, so this compatibility is very hopeful news.

Markup Using Google Docs

The Suggesting feature in Google Docs marks up text much like Word does with Track Changes and Comments. The reason you want to use this is not only so that the changes stand out for review and can be easily accepted or rejected and so that comments are easy to find. More importantly, by leaving “suggestions” and tracked changes, you avoid having your comments and other infelicities end up in the final product because someone missed deleting them! This has happened many times and it is always an enormous embarrassment as it’s shared widely across the internet.

In Google Docs, click on the speech bubble icon at the top right of the screen. This opens the small menu shown in the image below. Click the Suggesting option to turn on the tracking mode. Then, type additions and delete text without further concern—they will be tracked. Add comments by clicking the speech bubble icon with the plus—the one just to the left of the pop-down menu in the example below.


A dummied-up example of the “Suggesting” markup used in Google Docs. Additions appear in green and deletions are crossed out with a green line. Comments appear in the margin alongside a bubble for each text change.

Troubleshooting

Do not let the writer keep working on the Google Doc while you are editing in Word. These are now two separate versions of the file—the on in GDocs and yours in Word—and their changes will not be incorporated into your edits. You’ll be uploading a new version, separately, since you can’t upload–convert into an existing Google Doc. Ideally, you will lock the old Google Doc from further changes.

At minimum, add in a very large, colourful font at the top of the original Google Doc reading: DEAD FILE. Changing the colour and font family of the body content would also give visual signals that it is not the file to work on. Also change the doc’s name to include the words dead file.

While you might be frustrated by the seemingly endless updates (changes) to Microsoft products, Google Docs updates even more often. So what I say here may be out of date by the time you read it. So far, Google Docs keeps getting better and more functional. So let’s hope that’s what you find.

Styles and internal cross-references do not get carried over elegantly from Word to Google Docs. Just be aware of this, and plan on fixing the flubs in production/layout.

Erin Brenner of Right Touch Editing recently described her method of editing in Google Docs and limiting the pitfalls of working in a live document within GDocs, separate from Word. Check out her advice.

book cover cropped to banner size
For more details on using track changes and everything else mentioned in this post, check out the enhanced self-study workbook.


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Delivery image modified from original base image by mohamed Hassan on Pixabay.

This PDF Hack Accesses Your Word Wizardry

Missing all your Word tools because you’ve got a PDF to mark up? Never fear!

Open Word, then tell Word to open the PDF file. It’s that simple. Word will import all of the text and graphics so you can access your macros, plug-ins, and other secret Word weapons to proofread the content. No need to pay for any third-party translation or shell out for Acrobat Pro! Word has you covered.

Any changes will have to be transcribed onto the PDF, not simply tracked in the Word file; but that’s easy. This quick tutorial shows how to leave professional proofreading markup using the industry standard free software: Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Troubleshooting

Bad breaks or false ones may occur at the bottom of pages where footers including folios are set in text boxes. Some body text and captions may also appear in text boxes. Be sure Word is including such text in any checks, and be prepared to excuse layout weirdness. You’ll have to check design elements on the PDF itself.

If there’s any markup on the PDF, Word will try to replicate it, too. Just be aware of it so you can ignore those sections.



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Q&A: Easy selecting in tables, 5 ways

Skip to the demo video.

Q Is there a sure-fire way to select just the content of a table cell, or a single cell vs the whole table? Word seems to have its own views on what I should be selecting.

A Arrow keys are the most precise way to select text or cells (even rows and columns) in a table, but double-clicks and triple clicks are great shortcuts:

  • Shift + arrow selects individual characters until it reaches the end of a cell, then it switches to selecting whole cells.
  • Double-click the mouse to select a single word.
  • Triple-click the mouse to select a whole cell.

The (table) Layout ribbon offers some selection options. Click the Select icon on the far left. This is great when your hand isn’t feeling steady enough to activate the selection arrow by hovering at the top or left side of the table column/row, or when Word is having a tantrum. Just make sure the cursor is already placed in a cell within the column/table you want to select.

decorative
Use the grab point at the top left of a table to select the whole table. Click inside the table or hover the pointer over it to reveal the grab point.

Troubleshooting

To reveal the (table) Layout ribbon, place the cursor in the table. If the ribbon does not appear, you’re not working in a true table. Reveal hidden characters and you’ll likely find that the alignment was forced (faked) with spaces and tab marks. Undo that shit.

Note this (table) Layout ribbon is different from the Layout ribbon that is always visible (I’ve crossed out that other Layout tab at the left end). This special ribbon appears only when the cursor is inside a table.

If the content you want to select is at the end of a cell, it can be nearly impossible to select just that bit rather than the entire cell. Add a character (say, a period), then select up to that point (which will no longer be the end of the cell). Remember to delete that extraneous mark afterward!

To make sure you’ve selected an entire row (and not just the cells), look for the row end marker selection. See this in action in the demo video below at about minute 1:08.

Download a free workbook for editing tables. And check out the other blog posts on Working With Tables.


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Tracking Moved Text

Sometimes I want to move text. It’s nice when Word will mark it as moved. That causes less pain to my writer who at first thinks I deleted a bunch of their wonderful words.
My Word options are set to mark moved text as shown above.
Image by skeeze from Pixabay

The problem is that this function is glitchy in Word. Sometimes you just can’t get the text to be marked as “moved.” After checking that the Preferences for Track Changes (see figure below) are indeed set to mark moves, try these two solutions:

  • Make sure to select the entire sentence right up to the terminal punctuation. Then drag it with a mouse/pointer/whathaveyou.
  • After selecting the text that you want to move, use this keyboard shortcut to move the text up or down a whole paragraph at a time:

Mac: ctrl + shift + up arrow

Windows: alt + shift + up arrow

Check the Moves group in the middle of the Track Changes preferences dialog.

Troubleshooting

‘Move’ tracking doesn’t work for a phrase or just part of the sentence, it has to include the terminal punctuation. You could hack this by adding terminal punctuation, moving the phrase, and then deleting the punctuation. Just be sure to do the adding and removing of punctuation without tracking or it will look very confusing and sloppy.

This is a newer function that may not work on doc files, so make sure they’re saved as docx.

If it just. won’t. cooperate. Leave a comment explaining the move, with or without tracking, based on the needs of your writer.

book cover cropped to banner size
For more tips on making the most of Track Change, start on p. 8 of the book.


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Pro Tip: Identifying Dashes

The difference between – and — is one of those dog-whistle edits that people in the know find make a document elegant versus incorrect, and literally nobody else even notices in the slightest. One of the challenges in using dashes correctly is simply seeing which one is in use: en or em length. In some font families, the dashes are nearly identical length! While editing, you can make this blazingly obvious by colour coding the various dashes so they stand out while you work. At the end, simply remove all highlighting.

How to Colour Code Dashes in a Manuscript

Fig. 1 Highlighting colour choices on the Home ribbon.
  1. Turn off Track Changes. You’re going to undo this highlighting later, so there’s no need to bog down the file by tracking this.
  2. Select the teal* highlight tool on the Home ribbon (Fig. 1), or by selecting it from the pop-up when you right-click on a Windows computer.
  3. Using Advanced Find and Replace, search for a hyphen (just type a hyphen in the Find field).
  4. In the Replace field, type a hyphen again, then from the Format menu in the More options, click Highlight (Fig. 2 below). Word applies the highlight colour that was selected in Step 2.
  5. Click Replace All.
  6. Close F&R and start over at Step 2, this time selecting green, then search and replace for an en dash in Steps 3 and 4 (Fig. 3).
  7. Repeat with violet for the em dash.
Fig. 3 Click the down arrow to open the menu of special codes (regular expressions) and select En or Em Dash if you don’t know the keyboard shortcut.
Fig. 2 Click More to see this menu on the Advanced Find & Replace dialog. Select Highlight… here in Step 4.

Proceed with your edit as usual. Then, at the end, select all and set Highlighting to No Color. (See Troubleshooting below.)

*The colour of highlighting you choose for each doesn’t really matter; that can be your choice. What matters is that they are different colours from each other and that they are different from any other highlighting you use to colour-code your manuscript. That way you can remove highlighting from these characters later without removing highlighting you want to keep.

Fig. 4 Hyphen, en and em dashes in the manuscript will end up looking like this.

Side-by-side, it’s easy to tell the various dashes apart, but the highlighting will help you identify them without effort when they appear alone.

Of course, you could put this in a macro that runs at the beginning of your edit along with removing double spaces, setting the language, the zoom, etc. For instructions on how to do that, look inside the book.

Pro-pro Tip: Add this sequence to your start-up macro and it will happen automatically every time.

Troubleshooting

If there is highlighting in your document that you need to preserve — such as highlighting instructions to production about inserts or special characters — do not remove all highlighting at the end by setting the whole document to Highlight > No Color. Instead repeat Step 2, selecting No Color for the highlight, then do Steps 3 to 7 to remove highlighting from just the dashes and hyphens.



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Working With Tables: The Ruler

Previous posts showed you how to align table cells and numbers in columns using the ruler. It’s also possible to set margins, an indent, a hanging indent, and more on the ruler! Watch the demo at the end to see how, or just drag the related element where you want it.

With the cursor placed in a table, we can see table-specific elements on the ruler:
a. the waffle marking the gutter or edge of a column,
b. the left margin for the second (and subsequent) lines,
c. the left margin,
d. the first line left indent,
e. a tab (left) mark, and
f. the right margin.

To remove tab marks, just pull them off the ruler.

Note you want to do this for all affected lines at once; select the lines in the document before changing the ruler.

Troubleshooting

Can’t see the ruler? Select it in the Show group on the View ribbon.

If you can’t see the margin markers on the ruler, try Draft view and scroll wayyyyy over. Or, change which style that paragraph is in, then change it again (do not “undo”).

Moving the waffle that marks the column border changes only that column. The other columns stay as they were, so the right margin will get pushed around and may go outside of the page margins. Adjust all the columns until they sit right. (See also table resizing.)

Too many tab marks? Or, having trouble selecting them? Double-click on a tab mark to open the Tabs dialogue, then delete or change the tabs there.


Check out all the other posts in this series about Working with Tables and download your free multimedia ebook of them all!



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© This blog and all materials in it are copyright Adrienne Montgomerie on the date of publication. All rights reserved. No portion may be stored or distributed without express written permission. Asking is easy!

Q&A: Stop Tables Resizing

DoubleTable - expanding table 2010 on Behance

Q: I keep resetting the width of a column in my table, but when my client opens it, the column snaps back to 6″ wide! The same thing happens to me if I open the file on another computer.

A: Ugh, this is a great example of why Word is not the best choice for document design. But, there are three settings you can change to try to stop the table from resizing at least until the file goes to layout. These options are not fail-safe, but they’re your best bet:

  • Table properties
  • Table options
  • Autofit settings

Table Properties

The usual culprit behind endless resizing is found on the Column tab in the Table Properties dialog. Open that by clicking the Properties icon on the (Table) Layout ribbon. Deselect the option that sets a preferred width. Make sure the cursor is placed in the offending column, first.

Word's table layout ribbon
The (Table) Layout ribbon appears when the cursor is placed in a table. If your screen is wider, the icons at left where the Properties icon is found will be laid out in a line, no stacked.

Table Options

Screen Shot 2020-04-01 at 9.32.10 AM.png

Deselect the “Automatically resize to fit contents” option? Find that from the Options button on the Table tab in the Table Properties.

Autofit Settings

Screen Shot 2020-04-01 at 9.34.56 AM.png

Selecting “Fixed Column Width” (see pic) from the menu that opens when you click the AutoFit icon on the (Table) Layout ribbon.



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Working With Tables: Moving Rows & Columns

This is as simple as select, click, drag, release. To rearrange columns and rows, just select the row or column and then drag it where you want. Release the mouse to place the contents. Watch the demo below to see some of the snafus in action, as well as how to avoid them.

Troubleshooting

Click and drag too finicky? Page scrolling out of control? Use cut and paste instead. Cut the entire column or row, then place the cursor where you want to insert the text — be sure it’s at the beginning of the text in the first cell of that row/column — and then paste.

Merged cells (like spanning heads) can wreak havoc. Try inserting a blank row/column and move the selection there, then erase the blank.


Check out all the other posts in this series about Working with Tables and download your free multimedia ebook of them all!



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Working With Tables: Get Your Free Booklet

If you’ve found this series on editing tables helpful, download it all in one concise, updated ebook. Links to the demo videos are included, plus you’ll get exclusive access to a checklist for quality control and a self-check exercise with answer keys for various style guides. Download it now, free for your preferred ebook reader.*

Support independent publishing: Buy this e-book on Lulu.

Tables are one of the great functions that Word offers over an old typewriter. You can change the format and content without retyping! You can give a table complex or simple formatting with just a few clicks. And you can quickly convert typed tables into true tables, or vice versa. This booklet summarizes everything you need to know to work with tables in MS Word 365 whether on a Windows computer or Mac. Be sure to watch the 11 demo videos and download the exercise file to test your learning, too. Just follow the links inside and use the password given in the book.

*Don’t have an ebook reader? Download a free emulator app for computer or phone:



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Check out all the other posts in this series about Working with Tables and download your free multimedia ebook of them all!

Working with Tables: Checking Totals

Formulas are built right into Word, so you can check totals with a click! Errors love to lurk in tables, checking the numbers can make an editor look like a hero. Just click the Formula icon on the right edge of the (Table) Layout ribbon. But watch for the snafus (see Troubleshooting).

Troubleshooting

Address most of these issues by pasting the table into Excel and using its more sophisticated formula functions.

The “ABOVE” parameter stops at empty cells, as shown in the demo. It’s possible to specify a row range instead e.g., 3:11) but it’s unclear how Word numbers the rows.

Check out all the other posts in this series about Working with Tables and download your free multimedia ebook of them all!



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