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:

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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!

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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
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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:

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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).

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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.

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Fix the Tiny Type Size in Word’s Comments

[updated for Modern Comments, Nov 2022]

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 classic Comments in Word 365 for Mac and for Windows. (Instructions on increasing font size in Comment balloons are in this other post, but they don’t work in the 2019 version of Word because Comments are now set to “normal” style, nor does adjusting styles work with Modern Comments.)

Zoom the Reviewing pane to increase the font size in Comments

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