Tag Archives: editing

Next Edition Coming Soon!

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Find a faster way through Word

Now double the size, this expanded and updated edition incorporates an entire booklet on working with tables and three sections on ways to customize your workspace and combine and manipulate the features to hack the tools for maximum effect. Plus, it covers all of Word’s updates including changes to Modern Comments, Track Changes, Spellcheck, and the new Editor toolset.

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Q&A: Spellcheck Is Now in “Editor” in Word

QWhere did Spellcheck go!?

AIt’s tucked inside “Editor” now. It’s pretty much the same, except that readability statistics are found in an area of the Editor pane too, not after running Spellcheck. See the demos below.

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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

What to Do With an Edited Word File

Your manuscript just came back from the copyeditor or proofreader. Now what?

Mock Shock
After you freak out over all the mark-up, tell yourself this is typical for professional writing, take a breath, and roll up your sleeves.

It’s time to check the changes the editor made, answer their questions, and clear up any remaining issues. The file will probably go back to the editor for some final clean up. If it doesn’t, you have to clear ALL markup to make it ready for the printer/ production department.

There may be a lot of work left. This is typical and does not mean the writing is terrible. Even if an editor wrote it, she could expect as many edits on her work; writing is like that. Addressing edits takes an average of 1 hr per 2500 words, so settle yourself in and let’s go.

Short Version| Long Version

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Set User Info to Brand Your Comments in Word

When you’re working on a file, making edits and leaving comments, Word tags every change with your “name.” But is it really your name? Some computers will tag changes and comments with “Computer User”, and some will say gibberish like “adrn9bz”. Set up the system you’re using with your name, role, or business name to help everyone on the team decipher each person’s contribution and to build name recognition for your work.

Where to Find the Settings

You’ll find the “user name” setting in the preferences for Word 365 (Office 2016 or 2019 too).

  • On a Mac, it’s called User Information and is found in Preferences from the Word menu at the far left.
  • Windows users will find this setting in the Personalize your copy… section of the General “tab” in Options from the File ribbon. (File > Options > General >  Personalize your copy…)

This name will appear on tracked changes and comments in all Office programs, and in the metadata relating to the creator or editor of the file.

Branding Tip

Use your business name or moniker if your name is long, like mine, or to remind the team of your business name every time they see one of your comments. Repetition is key to branding and to marketing.

Some clients will want to see your role as the user name, so the team knows which changes were suggested by Copyeditor and which were by The Big Boss. You can change the user name when working on their files. Just remember that the user name applies to all documents you work on from that point forward, not just their file.

screen capture of name tag on a Comment and a Tracked Change in Word 365

It’s Not Working

There are three reasons that setting the user name goes wrong:

  1. It only works from this point forward. So it won’t change the “Author” tag on any existing changes. This is handy if you want to preserve others’ changes, but annoying if you only remember to change the name in the middle of your work.
  2. The computer’s log in name will be used unless you check the little tick box below the field you entered your name in. You can see the “Always use this name/these values regardless of [how I’m] sign[ed] in to Office” box in the screen grabs above in this post. The wording is slightly different on each operating system just to irk editors.
  3. The file is set to “remove personal info from this file on save.” That’s handy for dropping time stamps, but will completely scupper attempts to keep several reviewers’ input separate or to brand your work with your name. More on that in another post.

cover of editing in word 2016 2nd edition

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

Continue reading Fix the Tiny Type Size in Word’s Comments

5 Magic Ways to Select Text in MS Word

These fast and accurate ways to select text can revolutionize the way you work. Keyboard shortcuts are especially good when precision is required to cut, copy, or style content, or when a very large chunk is concerned. These shortcuts won’t jump unexpectedly like a mouse can.

Not only do these methods work in Word, they work in most other software including WordPress, Adobe Acrobat, and other content management systems. (Instructions for Windows users appear in brackets if they’re different from the Mac instructions.)

  1. Select the word the cursor is in, then the sentence, paragraph, or the whole document using this toggle repeatedly: fn + F8. To quit this mode, press escape.*
  2. Select an entire sentence with cmd + click anywhere in the sentence. (In Windows: ctrl + click)
  3. Select one word forward or back of the cursor’s position with shift + opt + right/left arrow. (In Windows: shift + ctrl + right/left arrow)
  4. Select one paragraph forward or back with shift + opt + up or down arrow. (In Windows: shift + ctrl + down/up arrow)
  5. Select a word with a double-click and the whole paragraph with three clicks.

*The fn key lets you access the root functions of the F keys that are now usually mapped to shortcuts like screen brightness and volume controls. If your F keys don’t operate computer functions, you may not have to press the fn key.

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Find out more about Alternatives to Macros, starting on p. 76 of the book.

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cover of Editing in Word 2016 2nd ed