Track Changes is a feature of Word that lets each person on the team show their suggested revisions and leave comments “attached” to content without becoming part of the content itself (and thus avoiding the disastrous embarassement of comments making it into the final product).
Download this 132 kb file, then try the steps below. Check your work against the answer figure shown at the end.
Word files can get bloated, taking up far more MB than they should. If you’re dealing with a book-length manuscript full of tracked changes and comments, that bloat can bog down the computer and lead to failures, glitches, and basic Office malfeasance.
Click less when resolving tracked changes with this pro tip!
Reject changes you do not like, and leave the rest. That leaves a document full of changes that you do want to accept. Then, select Accept All Changes from the Review ribbon and clean up the file with a single click!
All comments can similarly be deleted with one click: In the Comments area of the Review ribbon, click on the little arrow beside the Delete icon. Then select Delete All Comments in Document.
Always give a document a once-over in Simple Markup or No Markup view before submitting it as a finished edit. This often reveals a bunch of formatting errors that arise from working with markup displayed (that is, with Track Changes visible). Common errors often obscured by the redlining on the screen include:
double spaces between words,
spaces around punctuation, or
no spaces between words.
Note that this only affects whether changes are visible. It doesn’t accept or reject changes. As soon as you select All Markup, all tracking will be visible again.
Whether you need a word count for estimation or billing purposes, or for something else entirely, MS Word comes to the rescue. There are two easy ways to get text from a PDF into Word:
Paste the contents into Word
Open the file in Word
Pasting text into Word is simplest, but it doesn’t work with every file type. To get the whole contents of a slide set, for example, first print the slides to PDF, then copy all from that new file.
Open the file
Select all (ctrl + A, or cmd + A on a Mac)
Open Word and Paste
Open Word, then tell it to open the PDF. Word will convert the PDF and the Word count will appear along the bottom edge of the screen.
It may take a few seconds for Word to do its count; just wait. If it seems stalled, scroll down a few pages or go right to the end.
Word can make all kinds of errors detecting the text in a PDF, especially if that PDF was a scan rather than a “print” of an original file. (Misread ligatures and insert spaces mid-word.) Word will also include all of the markups and notes made to the PDF, and if those notes overlap text, that text will be excluded. Body text from a marked-up PDF is best gotten into Word by the copy–paste method.
This captures the running feet and heads too. If the word count needs to be precise, do a search-and-destroy for those.
Yes, you can export a slide set as an RTF, but we’re talking PDFs here.
Right on the Home ribbon in MS Word you’ll find a Sort button. It’s handy for alphabetizing, to be sure, but you can use this as a hack to find duplicates in a bibliography too.
Some bibliographic styles list references in the order they are mentioned within the body of the text. This means they’re in 1, 2, 3 order rather than alphabetized by author name. Especially when a text is team written, duplicate entries can happen, and they’re hard to find when the bib or refs list is long.
Sort, to the rescue! With a couple steps, first. Watch the demo video or follow the 3 easy steps below.
Copy the reference list to a new doc, but when you paste, select Keep text only from the options in the Paste icon on the Home ribbon.
Select all, then select Convert Text to Table either from the menu, as shown in the demo, or from the ribbon as shown in the image below.
Place the cursor in the table, then select the A→Z sort icon on the Home ribbon (beside the ¶).
Tell Word to sort by column 2, and you’re ready to skim the list for duplicates.
This sort trick can also help you spot small inconsistencies in author names, such as Departmentfor defence vs Departmentof defence.
Do this in a new document, so you don’t mess with the formatting of the original.
To maintain the auto numbering in the original document, make your changes by hand rather than pasting a revised list back into the original.
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Has your writer used all uppercase letters “for legibility”? Did they use them liberally for emphasis? Fix it all with a click (or 3):
Select the text to change, then
click the Change Case icon on the Home ribbon and
select the preferred style.
shift + fn + F3
Keep your speed up by not taking your hands off the keyboard. You can access the Change Case function with a little finger yoga. Keying shift + F3 will toggle through the cap settings for whatever text you have selected (or whichever single word the cursor is currently placed in). It becomes finger yoga when you also need to press the fn key to access the basic F3 function instead of “show all windows” or whatever action that key is mapped to by default.
To select text without taking your hands off the keys, hold the shift key and option (alt for Windows users) keys while you arrow across words. This even works with the up and down arrows, and the home and end keys!
shift + opt + ➡️
Word doesn’t track these changes. You can either type the changes to have them tracked or do some fancy copy–paste moves to show it’s been done. Some editors just leave a comment noting that it was done, either globally or on each instance.
Capitalize Each Word actually does capitalize every word. It doesn’t create title case; even mid-phrase “the” and prepositions like “to” and “in” will be capitalized. But this may still be a big time saver.
Try a different change, then the one you want, if it doesn’t seem to be working.
They look nice, and some would say they facilitate reading ease. But curly quotes can cause snafus with macros, wildcards, and content management systems (CMS) like online education interfaces and website back ends. And sometimes Word just doesn’t want to create a mark with the right curl. Here’s how to fix those snags.
Correcting the Curl
If your quotes (or apostrophes) are simply facing the wrong way, the easiest thing to do is type a second mark beside it then erase the wrong one. Or, use one of the keyboard shortcuts listed in the table below. Alt codes work on both operating systems but Mac users may have to turn on the alt codes (or even the unicode) keyboard first. Windows users should type the first two keys together, then press the keys that follow the comma.
opening single quote
alt + 0145
opt + ]
closing single quote
alt + 0146
opt + shift + ]
ctrl + ‘, ‘
opening double quote
alt + 0147
opt + [
shift + “
closing double quote
alt + 0148
opt + shift + [
ctrl + ‘, shift + “
Solving F&R Errors
If your find and replace string isn’t working, or it is royally messing up the manuscript, try replacing all the curly quotation marks with straight ones before you run the F&R. Then change them back.
Editors sometimes use highlighting in MS Word to flag content. My publisher clients have asked me to highlight design and production instructions within the text, and I use highlighting to flag item for fact checking or a second look. (Design instructions include things like [table near here] and [note this is a mu symbol].)
Therefore, one of my final checks on a file is to review all the highlighting. Word makes this easy, using the Advanced Find and Replace to skip through all instances of highlighting.
Mac users can open Advanced Find and Replace either from the Edit menu (Edit > Find > Advanced Find and Replace) or by clicking the gear icon in the left-hand Search panel. Windows users can click the down arrow in the Navigation panel. (See screen shots below.)
Expand the dialogue box by clicking the button on the lower left corner. On a Mac, it’s just an arrow. Windows users will see the word “more” with arrows. It should now look like the image here.
Click the Format button, and select Highlight.
Click Find. It’s that easy!
Searching for highlighted text is one of the last checks I do while editing a manuscript. That lets me address any lingering items I had flagged, and remove all unnecessary highlighting so it doesn’t get into “print.”
Pro tip: Once you have found a highlighted item using this method, you can exit the Advanced Find and Replace and simply use keyboard shortcuts to find the next instance of highlighting, and then the next, and so on.
Mac, find next: cmd + pg down Windows, find next: ctrl + pg down