Tag Archives: productivity

Little-known Word Shortcuts

book cover of eiw365
Learn more about shortcuts and productivity boosters throughout the self-study book.

If you are using control + S to save like you’ve got a twitch (and what MS user hasn’t learned to save obsessively), you already know that shortcuts will save you a lot of time over using menus. Here are some surprising, lesser-known keyboard shortcuts that will speed up your productivity.

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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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Google Docs, Meet Word

When editors work in Word, they have access to many customizable tools and advanced features that make their work more consistent and faster:

Import–Export Handshake

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.

Erin Brenner of Right Touch Editing recently described her method of editing in Google Docs and limiting the pitfalls of working in a live document within GDocs, separate from Word. Check out her advice.

book cover cropped to banner size
For more details on using track changes and everything else mentioned in this post, check out the enhanced self-study workbook.

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!

Delivery image modified from original base image by mohamed Hassan on Pixabay.

This PDF Hack Accesses Your Word Wizardry

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.

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!

Q&A: Easy selecting in tables, 5 ways

Skip to the demo video.

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.

Use the grab point at the top left of a table to select the whole table. Click inside the table or hover the pointer over it to reveal the grab point.


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.

Note this (table) Layout ribbon is different from the Layout ribbon that is always visible (I’ve crossed out that other Layout tab at the left end). This special ribbon appears only when the cursor is inside a table.

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.

Download a free workbook for editing tables. And check out the other blog posts on Working With Tables.

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!

Q&A: Word won’t suggest the correct spelling!

QWhen running a full Spellcheck, Word won’t suggest the right word. What can I do besides writing down the misspelling and searching it out later to correct it manually?

AYou’re in luck! Just click in the document itself and make the change (Fig. 1), then return to the Spellcheck (now called Editor) window and resume. See details and demo video below.

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Tracking Moved Text

Sometimes I want to move text. It’s nice when Word will mark it as moved. That causes less pain to my writer who at first thinks I deleted a bunch of their wonderful words.
My Word options are set to mark moved text as shown above.

The problem is that this function is glitchy in Word. Sometimes you just can’t get the text to be marked as “moved.” After checking that the Preferences for Track Changes (see figure below) are indeed set to mark moves, try these two solutions:

Continue reading Tracking Moved Text

Pro Tip: Identifying Dashes

The difference between – and — is one of those dog-whistle edits that people in the know find make a document elegant versus incorrect, and literally nobody else even notices in the slightest. One of the challenges in using dashes correctly is simply seeing which one is in use: en or em length. In some font families, the dashes are nearly identical length! While editing, you can make this blazingly obvious by colour coding the various dashes so they stand out while you work. At the end, simply remove all highlighting.

How to Colour Code Dashes in a Manuscript

Fig. 1 Highlighting colour choices on the Home ribbon.
  1. Turn off Track Changes. You’re going to undo this highlighting later, so there’s no need to bog down the file by tracking this.
  2. Select the teal* highlight tool on the Home ribbon (Fig. 1), or by selecting it from the pop-up when you right-click on a Windows computer.
  3. Using Advanced Find and Replace, search for a hyphen (just type a hyphen in the Find field).
  4. In the Replace field, type a hyphen again, then from the Format menu in the More options, click Highlight (Fig. 2 below). Word applies the highlight colour that was selected in Step 2.
  5. Click Replace All.
  6. Close F&R and start over at Step 2, this time selecting green, then search and replace for an en dash in Steps 3 and 4 (Fig. 3).
  7. Repeat with violet for the em dash.
Fig. 3 Click the down arrow to open the menu of special codes (regular expressions) and select En or Em Dash if you don’t know the keyboard shortcut.
Fig. 2 Click More to see this menu on the Advanced Find & Replace dialog. Select Highlight… here in Step 4.

Proceed with your edit as usual. Then, at the end, select all and set Highlighting to No Color. (See Troubleshooting below.)

*The colour of highlighting you choose for each doesn’t really matter; that can be your choice. What matters is that they are different colours from each other and that they are different from any other highlighting you use to colour-code your manuscript. That way you can remove highlighting from these characters later without removing highlighting you want to keep.

Fig. 4 Hyphen, en and em dashes in the manuscript will end up looking like this.

Side-by-side, it’s easy to tell the various dashes apart, but the highlighting will help you identify them without effort when they appear alone.

Of course, you could put this in a macro that runs at the beginning of your edit along with removing double spaces, setting the language, the zoom, etc. For instructions on how to do that, look inside the book.

Pro-pro Tip: Add this sequence to your start-up macro and it will happen automatically every time.


If there is highlighting in your document that you need to preserve — such as highlighting instructions to production about inserts or special characters — do not remove all highlighting at the end by setting the whole document to Highlight > No Color. Instead repeat Step 2, selecting No Color for the highlight, then do Steps 3 to 7 to remove highlighting from just the dashes and hyphens.

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!