Tag Archives: copyediting

Delete All Images from a Word Document

Mac users click the down arrow beside the Find field in the Find and Replace pane to select the Graphics option. (Do not select the gear icon.)

Images can be integral content in a manuscript: graphs convey huge volumes of data and information about their relationships; flowcharts relay sequences and relationships; pictures convey context and describe scenes. Images need to be seen while developing a manuscript or reviewing one, because they are so important. But images can also make files enormous to the point of crashing Word or email. Rather than deleting images one by one so that you can work with the file, delete them all at once with this simple Find and Replace in the Find/Navigation panel:

  1. In the Find field, select Graphic from the drop-down menu. Or, type the special code/regular expression ^g in directly.
  2. In the Replace with field, type nothing at all.
  3. Click Replace All.

You’re done! Now your file contains no images or graphs!

Windows users click the down arrow beside the Search document field in the Navigation pane to select the Graphics option.

Insert Placeholders in That Click, Too

Instead of replacing images and graphs with nothing, you may want to write [image placed here] in the Replace field. These replacement words won’t say which image or graph appeared there in the manuscript, but it will alert you that one was present!


book cover cropped to banner size
Find out more tricks for working with Find and Replace starting on p. 45 of the book.

Save a backup of the original file.

Tables, shapes, and equations created in Word will remain in place. They are not treated as a graphic. “Smart Art” elements created in Word will be erased.

While working with embedded images can be helpful during the development process, the images in that docx are not likely to be good enough resolution for the designer to work with. Make sure you have a folder full of original images at high resolution (note that means at least 300 dpi for print and about 120 dpi for modern hi-res screens).

Got a gnarly Word problem? Submit your problem and we’ll try to answer it in the Q&A thread.

© 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!

Turbo Boost Manuscript Styling with This Simple Macro for MS Word

Like many manuscripts, this imaginary sample has a standard sequence of content that can be styled automatically with a macro applied on each heading line: head, first paragraph, subsequent paragraphs.

Styles have many wonderful uses, so it behoves any editorial process to use them. We’ve looked at several ways to apply styles, now we’ll look at a macro that will apply several styles in one click!

A common sequence of styles is one for a heading, one for the first paragraph (say, non-indented, perhaps), and then one for a regular paragraph setting that would apply to the remaining paragraphs until the next (sub)heading.

How to Create a Macro to Apply a Sequence of Styles

I put the cursor where I want to start, turn on the “start macro” recording, assign a keyboard shortcut to it, make sure it gets saved in the right template, then apply the style, use the arrow key shortcut to jump to the next para, apply style, jump to next para, apply style, etc., hit “end recording macro” and then save the template, or quit Word, to make sure it gets saved.

Editor Madeline Koch shared her smart trick of putting this sequence in a macro.
book cover cropped to banner size
Find out more about:
• Styles, starting on p. 68 of the book
• Macros, starting on p. 76
• Navigating with keyboard shortcuts, on p. 93

Sample Multi-Style Macro

In one of Madeline’s recent projects, the macro she created looked like the code below. Note the Style names are particular to her project and not standard options, so this won’t work on your computer unless you create styles with those names first:

Sub GTMapplyEndStyles() 
' GTMapplyEndStyles Macro 
' Selection.Style = ActiveDocument.Styles("NAME") 
Selection.MoveDown Unit:=wdParagraph, Count:=1 
Selection.Style = ActiveDocument.Styles("TITLE") 
Selection.MoveDown Unit:=wdParagraph, Count:=1 
Selection.Style = ActiveDocument.Styles("BIO") 
Selection.MoveDown Unit:=wdParagraph, Count:=1 
Selection.Style = ActiveDocument.Styles("TWEET") 
Selection.MoveDown Unit:=wdParagraph, Count:=1 
Selection.Style = ActiveDocument.Styles("WEB") 
Selection.MoveDown Unit:=wdParagraph, Count:=1 
End Sub

Troubleshooting Macro Recording

Always keep a copy of the original file! When making global changes, there’s always some table or list that turns out to have been created in an unsophisticated way and gets messed up by your steps. You’ll want the original to refer back when cleaning up such items.

Work out the sequence of moves for your macro in advance. Test it out on a dummy document or copy of the file before trusting it.

Speed up application of the “subsequent paragraph” style by using an advanced Find and Replace to change all “normal” styling to “subsequent paragraphs” style before you do anything else.

Saving the macro in a template is a great idea, but not necessary.

Don’t use the mouse to select text when recording a macro, use keyboard shortcuts that Word will map, instead:

  • Jump down one whole paragraph from the cursor with opt + down arrow. (In Windows: ctrl + down arrow). To jump up one paragraph, use the up arrow! Note that you may have to jump up twice, as the first move takes you only to the top of the current paragraph.
  • Don’t press only the arrow keys to move the cursor, as that records the exact number of key presses, which will not work on lines/paragraphs of different lengths. (Occasionally, a heading will run over more than one line.)

Got a gnarly Word problem? Submit your problem and we’ll try to answer it in the Q&A thread.

© 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!

Quick Tricks for Applying Styles to Word Documents

Styles are applied to many good ends, in Word: production workflow, ebook coding, and making restructuring easy, to name a few. There are several easy ways to apply styles, too!

  • Styles area of the Home ribbon
  • Styles panel
  • Format painter
  • Keyboard shortcut

Word 365 Ribbon

With the cursor placed in the desired paragraph (or with all applicable text selected) click on the desired style in the Styles group on the Home Ribbon. Windows users can click the expand arrow (that the red arrow is pointing at here) to open the Styles Pane.

The Styles Pane(shown at right) is another way to access and manipulate the styles, as well as to check which styles have been applied (shown in the “Current Style” field at the top of the list).

Mac users click the Styles Pane icon on the Home ribbon. Windows users click the “expand icon” in the Styles group.

Click any entry to apply that style wherever the cursor is currently placed in the document.

Format Painter on Word’s Home Ribbon

The paintbrush icon on the left edge of the Home ribbon will copy and paste Styles. With the cursor placed in styled text on the page, click the paintbrush to copy the style (not the text), then click and drag the cursor over the text you want to apply the style to. Release, and the text will be restyled!

Double-click the icon to copy a style and stick with it! Then you can paste that style in several locations without having to copy it again.

Keyboard Shortcut for Word Styles

⌘ + ⇧ + C copies the style of whatever text is currently selected. (Windows users use: shift + ctrl + C.)

book cover cropped to banner size
For more on working with Styles, and ways to use Styles to hack your productivity, start on page 59 of the book.

To paste that style as many times as you want, simply place the cursor in the paragraph you want to apply that style to and click ⌘ + ⇧ + V. (Windows users use: shift + ctrl + V.)

This “clipboard” remains until you copy the next style, even if you copy and paste text, pictures, or other content as well.


If the text doesn’t look right even though you’ve applied the style, check that the source text actually has a style applied and isn’t just manually formatted. Secondly, clear all formatting from the troublesome text, then reapply the style.

Got a gnarly Word problem? Submit your problem and we’ll try to answer it in the Q&A thread.

© 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!

Paste Options in Word 365

Not nearly as flavourful as that paste we ate in preschool, but maybe more useful, Word has several options for you to paste content with. Get at the the options from the ribbon. Just click the little down arrow beside the Paste button on the left end of the Home ribbon to see the options.

Here’s how they’re useful:

  1. The first button pastes content in the same format it was copied with. This means text from one place will keep its font, size, and style when pasted in a new location or file.
  2. The second button with the arrow changes the pasted text to match the formatting of where the cursor is currently placed. That can jettison some problematic formatting and makes sure that the pasted text won’t mess up text surrounding its new location.
  3. The button with the picture on it pastes a picture. This seems to be a Windows only option but Mac users can just cmd + V or select the Picture button on the Insert ribbon.
  4. The last button (with the A) pastes text only. This helps you jettison all formatting, fonts, XML coding, etc. and paste only the words. This is great help when pasting a citation from an online or PDF source. It can also help you strip problematic code or formatting from a section of the document that’s causing trouble. This is especially useful at times when the basic cmd + V (ctrl + V) feels like a crap shoot in which Word is making up its own mind on how to paste the content.
  5. Paste Special … that little text option at the bottom opens up another dialog that lets you tell Word what unusual format the content in the clipboard takes. This can be used to convert files to Word format, but it rarely works.

Keyboard Shortcuts

If keeping your hands on the keyboard is more efficient for you, a little finger yoga can achieve the fancier paste options:

Keep source formatting — cmd + opt + V
(ctrl + alt + V for Windows users)

Match destination formatting — cmd + opt + shift + V
(crtl + alt + shift + V for Windows users)

Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content

cover of editing in word 2016 2nd edition

Quick Trick to Remove Hyperlinks

They got rid of Clippy but not many of the other annoying automated features in MS Word. Automatic formatting is something that most editors want to turn off before they work. In fact, this is why turning off most automation is covered in the “Get Ready to Edit” section of the book.

When you get a document in which all of the URLs (web addresses) are blue and underlined, and active (hyperlinked), you’ll most likely want to remove them so they don’t cause design problems or (horrors!) end up in print. You can do this one at a time, or in one fell swoop (globally).

The advantage of removing hyperlinks one at a time is that a hyperlink found in the text can help you detect text that has not been adequately cited. If you remove all the hyperlinks at once, you won’t have this clue to aid your editing anymore.

Individual Method

screen shot of the context menu that opens when you right-click on a hyperlink in Word

To remove the single hyperlink, right click on the hyperlink, then select Hyperlink > Remove Hyperlink from the context menu that opens.

There are at least three other ways to do this. This first two ways keep your hands (mostly) on the keyboard:

1. Place the cursor within the link using the arrow keys (see troubleshooting) and then key cmd + Shift + F9 (ctrl + Shift + F9 for Windows users).*

screen shot of the hyperlink control dialog box that opens when you key cmd + K within a hyperlink in Word

2. Place the cursor in the link, then key cmd + K (that’s ctrl + K for Windows users) to open the hyperlink dialog box. Then click the Remove Link button at the bottom left.

3. If your version of Word has menus (looking at you, Mac users), open the hyperlink dialog box by clicking Hyperlink on the Insert menu.

4. For those who prefer to use Ribbons, look for the Links button on the Insert ribbon and then click the Link button to open that dialog box.

Global Method

To remove hyperlinks in the whole document at once, select all and then key cmd + Shift + F9 (ctrl + Shift + F9 for Windows users).


If the link keeps opening when you try to right-click on it, use the arrow keys instead to place the cursor within the link, then follow the alternative instructions 1 or 2 above.

Laptop users may have to add the fn to the F9 key sequence: fn + Shift + F9. The fn key tells the computer not to do whatever action the F keys are mapped to (such as volume control) but to activate their F functions instead.

If you don’t have a right mouse button, tap the touchpad with two fingers, or hold cmd (ctrl for Windows users) while you click the mouse or track pad.

cover of editing in word 2016 2nd edition

Fonts for Editing

Font geeks love to debate readability and myriad other details about fonts. The other thing that matters when editing is being able to tell when the wrong character has been used. Font choice can cleverly conceal a wrong character hiding in a document: a 1 looks like an l, a superscript o looks like a °, an ‘ masquerades as a ′…

screen capture showing one and ell are nearly identical in Times New Roman font as well as the similarity between a superscript letter O and a degree symbol.
Times New Roman makes telling the difference between a 1 and an l nearly impossible. The superscript O versus the degree symbol is easier to spot; if you know what it should look like, that is.
colour reveals which character is the one
The pink character in this word is actually the digit one. There are some indicators such as spacing and height, but it’s not easy to tell at usual working magnification.

Changing the font to one that shows a more drastic difference between characters is one solution. Some editors prefer to edit in Helvetica, Calibri, or Verdana for just such a reason. If you modify the font of the “Normal” Style, it’s easy to undo this font change before finalizing the file. The client will never know the trick that helped you spot those apostrophes that should be primes. Just turn off Track Changes when you change the font.

cover of editing in word 2016 2nd edition

A Guide to Word’s Squiggles

Into every Word file, a few squiggles must fall.

tools spelling out the word tool

In the 2019 release that is a snapshot of Word 365, the grammar and spelling tools are grouped together in a feature Microsoft has called the Editor. On screen, Word flags errors by underlining them. The underlining it uses mean the following:

  • red squiggle = misspelled
  • blue dots = formatting error
  • blue double straight = word choice or grammar error

The flagging of homonyms has improved, as you can see in the left-hand figure, but Word still misses a lot of grammar errors and some of the formatting errors — even when it has flagged those exact errors elsewhere. The errors shown in the screen grabs below are particularly bad, but Word even misses errors they used as illustrations in Word’s own help files.

Turning On Grammar & Spelling Display

  • On a Mac, go to Word > Preferences > Spelling & Grammar.
  • Windows users, click Options on the File menu, then select Proofing. In the area headed “When correcting spelling and grammar in Word,” click the Settings… button.
Windows users look in the Proofing area of Options from the File ribbon.

Turning Off Grammar & Spelling Display

You can turn off grammar checking, and you can deselect a lot of the checks, but even if you turn off the display of spelling errors, homonyms will still be flagged. (Right figure, top.)

While many editors turn off the grammar checker because Word’s advice is misguided more often than not, the blue “wrong word” checker cannot be turned off.

To get rid of the flags, select “Check Document” or “Recheck Document” in the spelling & grammar settings after deselecting “Mark grammar errors as you type” and “Check grammar with spelling.”

book cover cropped to banner size
Find out more about making the most of “Editor” (formerly Spellcheck) starting on p. 27 of the book.

cover of editing in word 2016 2nd edition

Add Your Own Custom Shortcuts in Word

A fox dives head first into the snow to catch its prey. (Public domain image from Yellowstone National Park, USA.)
A fox’s shortcut to food involves a head-first dive. Keyboard shortcuts are a tad easier.

Keeping your hands on the keyboard is a prime way to speed up work. The less you are hunting around ribbons and menus for the tool you need, the more efficient (and less frustrated) you’ll be. Learning existing shortcuts for navigating a document, cutting and pasting, etc. is an obvious way to keep your hands away from the mouse. Adding shortcuts for the things you do most is the productivity hack.

You can add a keyboard shortcut for almost any command, without creating a macro. Below you’ll find instructions for Windows users and Mac users. The core of the method is customizing the keyboard, and finding the command you want within the huge list of commands that are available.

Create a Keyboard Shortcut

  1. Open the keyboard dialog:
    • On a Windows computer, right-click on a blank grey area of Word’s ribbon, then select Customize The Ribbon… from the context menu that pops up. Then, click the Customize… button beside Keyboard Shortcuts: at the bottom of the left-hand list.
    • On a Mac, select the Customize Keyboard… option at the bottom of the Tools menu.
  2. In the keyboard dialog box that opens, scroll down the left-hand list of Categories: and click a category to look in. Figure 1 shows the Mac and Figure 2 shows Windows.
  3. Next, scroll until you find the desired command in the right-hand list of commands, then select it.
  4. Click in the Press new keyboard shortcut field, then press the combination of keys you want to assign to this command.*
  5. When you find a suitable key combination, click the Assign button, then OK.

*Note the text beneath the Press new keyboard shortcut field; it shows whether that key combination is already assigned. There are several dozen existing shortcuts and no online list seems to be thorough. You just have to try one. You can overwrite an existing shortcut just by doing the last two steps above. You might decide to “reassign” the shortcut for Close File since you always use Close Window, for example.

Figure 1 Mac Customize Keyboard dialog
Figure 2 Windows Customize Keyboard dialog

List Your Shortcuts

Remembering shortcuts can be challenging. If you go back into that keyboard dialog (Step 1 above), you can always look up a command (Step 2 and 3) and see what shortcut you assigned to it. It will be listed in the Current Shortcut field. Even better, keep a list in your work area. Periodically print out a list:

In any document, click Print to open the Print dialog. Select Word settings, and in the Print What drop-down, select Key assignments (Fig. 3 shows the Mac interface, Fig. 4 shows Windows, though these dialog boxes vary slightly on any computer, depending on your OS and your printer).

print options in Word for Mac, showing how to print the key assignments (keyboard shortcuts)
Figure 3 Mac Print dialog
print options in Word for Windows
Figure 4 Windows Print dialog

This only prints a list of the shortcuts you created, not those built into the system, such as those for Select All or Save.

Structural Editing Using Word’s Outline View

Not only does Outline view in Word let you assess the structure of a document, it lets you move chunks of content with a click.  On the View ribbon, click Outline in the Views group on the far left. Or at the far right of the document frame, click the icon on the bottom that looks like a bullet list (Figure 1). This displays the document as chunks of content, each marked by a square, minus or plus sign as shown in Figure 2. A plus sign means that there is content “within” that level. In the example, the Shortcut heading has no content “within” it but the List heading does.

Figure 1. The outline button on the bottom border of the window looks like a bullet list.

Moving Content Chunks

Figure 2. Each chunk of heading is marked by a minus or plus sign in outline view, and paragraphs are marked with a dot.

Each block of content can be selected by clicking on the square/plus/minus sign. Then you can drag it to a new order. Dragging the content slightly left or right will also nest it under a headline. When a plus sign is clicked, all content “within” that heading level is selected as well as the heading. Clicking a square selects that chunk alone.

First Line View

Parading the topic sentences is a great way to check a document for flow. Rather than scrolling for hours, use Outline view to show you only the first line of each paragraph. To do this, enable Outline view to open the Outlining ribbon shown in Figure 3. Then click the box in the Outline Tools area that says “Show First Line Only.”

In “first line view” you can still select whole blocks of text and move them around. You can even select whole sections or chapters, moving them without scrolling for days. Just remember that when you select a heading chunk, all content “within” that heading is selected too.

Figure 3. The Outlining ribbon.

Headings View

The flow of headings is as important as the flow of paragraphs. To view just the headings in the document, change the “level” of content that is visible. In the Outline Tools (Figure 3), select how many levels of content you would like to see from the “Show Level:” box. The “level” of content is set by applying Styles in Word. If you’re using custom styles, levels need to be set for them for this view to work.

Viewing headings only, you can move whole swaths of content (even whole chapters) easily just by clicking a blue selector, then dragging the chunk.

Exit Outline View

To view all content again, either set “Show Level:” to “All Levels” or go to a Draft or Print view.

Try It Now!

Head over to the new post with an exercise you can use to test your understanding.

And see this other post for another way to use Styles to see structure, and even work with it a bit in the Navigation pane.

In another post, we’ll look at other uses for Outline view, such as changing “levels” of content in the document.

book cover cropped to banner size
For more tips on working with Outline view, start on p. 68 of the book.

Got a gnarly Word problem? Submit your problem and we’ll try to answer it in the Q&A thread.

© 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!

Fix the Tiny Type Size in Word’s Comments

Tired eyes, tiny type? Bump up the font size in the Reviewing Pane to read Comments and tracked changes in MS Word with less strain.

The easiest fix is to change the zoom setting in the Reviewing Pane. This doesn’t change the actual font size, but it makes it easier to read! Scroll down for video demos using Word 365 for Mac and for Windows.(Instructions on increasing font size in Comment balloons are here, but they don’t work in the 2019 version of Word because Comments are now set to “normal” style.)

Zoom to increase the font size

Use cmd + H (or ctrl + H on Windows) to open this sidebar. Then click the page-like icon to see this Reviewing Pane.
  1. Place the cursor in any comment you can see in the Reviewing Pane. (That’s on the left-hand sidebar shown above).
  2. From the View menu, select Zoom, then click 200% and OK. (Or simply move the zoom slider at the bottom right of the Word window.)

Mac demo

Windows demo

Other resources:

book cover cropped to banner size
Find out more about using Track Changes starting on pp. 8–26 of the book.

Got a gnarly Word problem? Submit your problem and we’ll try to answer it in the Q&A thread.

© 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!