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.
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:
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.
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.)
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
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.*
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: