Tag Archives: styles

Shrink Files by Deleting Unused Styles

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.

Continue reading Shrink Files by Deleting Unused Styles

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!

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.
book cover cropped to banner size
Find out more about:
• Styles, starting on p. 68 of the book
• Macros, starting on p. 76
• Navigating with keyboard shortcuts, on p. 93

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:

Sub GTMapplyEndStyles() 
' 
' GTMapplyEndStyles Macro 
' 
' Selection.Style = ActiveDocument.Styles("NAME") 
Selection.MoveDown Unit:=wdParagraph, Count:=1 
Selection.Style = ActiveDocument.Styles("TITLE") 
Selection.MoveDown Unit:=wdParagraph, Count:=1 
Selection.Style = ActiveDocument.Styles("BIO") 
Selection.MoveDown Unit:=wdParagraph, Count:=1 
Selection.Style = ActiveDocument.Styles("TWEET") 
Selection.MoveDown Unit:=wdParagraph, Count:=1 
Selection.Style = ActiveDocument.Styles("WEB") 
Selection.MoveDown Unit:=wdParagraph, Count:=1 
End Sub

Troubleshooting Macro Recording

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.

Don’t use the mouse to select text when recording a macro, use keyboard shortcuts that Word will map, instead:

  • 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.)


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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

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.)

book cover cropped to banner size
For more on working with Styles, and ways to use Styles to hack your productivity, start on page 59 of the book.

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.

Troubleshooting

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.



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Try This! Restructure Using Styles

In this exercise, you’ll practice applying Styles and using the Outline View.

Heading levels must be indicated in the manuscript in some way. Heads can’t simply be formatted as body text—even boldfacing will help the designer as much as the editor. And the reader absolutely needs them.

The truly useful method of indicating heading levels (main, sub, sub-sub, etc.) is to apply heading Styles in Word. Not only does the background coding get used by multiple layout and design workflows including ebook converters and other CMS, but you’ll be able to use these styled heads to check (and alter) the structure and flow of the piece using Word’s Outline view (or Navigation pane on a Windows computer; Document Map, on a Mac), as we learned in a previous blog post.

Try It Now

  1. Use the mock Word document above. It’s been machine translated out of English so that the words don’t distract you.
  2. Turn on Track Changes in Word.
  3. Apply Heading Styles from the Home ribbon to match what the headings say. (E.g., a line containing H2 should be styled as Heading 2, etc. Normally the lines would not have codes in them; this was added only to facilitate this exercise.)
  4. Open the Navigation pane to check that the headings display properly. The figures below in the How Did You Do? section show what the Nav pane should look like on a Mac and on a Windows computer.
  5. Now switch to Outline view in Word, which you’ll find on the left side of the View ribbon.
  6. Click and drag the plus sign at “Subhead H3 point A” and drag that content to the end of the file. Release the click to drop the content into place.
  7. Next, click the plus sign at “Subhead H2 second” and drag that content up and drop it directly beneath the main title.
  8. Finally, click the square bullet before the word Ukushintsha, and drag that up to directly beneath the title, above the “Subhead H2 second”.
  9. Save your work.
banner eiw365
For more about working with Styles, start on page 59 of the book. Check page page 67 for more on Outline View.

How Did You Do?

After completing all steps, the Outline View should look like this. Click here to see the Windows graphics which are slightly different. To use accessibility features, download the solution file.

Does your finished document look like the figure at the right? Don’t worry if the font family or size of headings is different than the sample solution; you’re only concerned with the organizational levels. It’s the + and •, indenting and order that should match the figure at right.

Troubleshooting

If your file doesn’t look identical to the solution, try accepting all changes. Drag the content around until its order matches the solution. One common error is dropping the content at the wrong indent level, effectively changing how it is nested. That would make an H3 head into an H2 head, for example.

If that doesn’t do the trick, review the video demo and try the steps again.

Note that this doesn’t function well or at all when using the web version of Word.

Take It Further

The reason the “look” of these heads doesn’t matter is that they can be changed with a click; and the designer will surely be applying the publication’s specs. Applying Styles enables the designer to make such adjustments in a click or two, without manually brute-force-changing every head (and inevitably making a mistake because they’re human). Besides, the writer and editor know the content well enough to determine head levels; the designer should not have to read the document that closely.

Try It Out!

  1. Open the document and select a heading.
  2. Then, use the Font area on the Home ribbon to change how it looks; make it 16 pt bold orange Arial, for example.
  3. Finally, right-click on the selected Style in the Home ribbon and select “Update [style] to Match Selection” (that’s a cmd + click or two-finger tap for Mac users without a right mouse button).

See how all the heads at that level automatically changed to match this new gawdy look!? That’s just one way to modify a Style.

banner eiw365
For more about working with Styles, start on page 59 of the book which contains dozens more tutorials like this as well as dozens of demo videos.


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Working with Tables: Aligning Numbers

Left and right alignment aren’t going to cut it when aligning numbers in tables. Best practice to align numbers on the decimal. Aesthetics dictate that the numbers also be centred. Tab settings make this process elegant, and the ruler makes it intuitive. See it in action in the demo video at the end, and read the steps below.

  1. Select the cells whose contents you want to align by clicking and dragging across them.
  2. On the ruler (revealed via the View ribbon), click the left corner edge several times to change the tab mark selection to “decimal align” (the up arrow on a point, shown at right).
  3. Click on the ruler to place the tab.
  4. Click on the tab mark and drag it along the ruler to adjust its placement.

Word is not a layout tool, but sometimes, it is what you have to use. Compositors also appreciate having table formatting close to ideal, so editors end up tweaking alignment frequently.

Check out all the other posts in this series about Working with Tables and download your free multimedia ebook of them all!



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Working with Tables: Aligning Cell Borders

Sometimes column edges don’t align. There are a number of ways this can happen. Sometimes fixing it is easy, and occasionally, its the very opposite of easy. To make this task easier, be sure that the cell borders are visible, then try the fixes shown in the demo video at the end of the written instructions.

Drag the edges of the cells

resize pointer (double-headed arrow)
The resize cursor.
  1. With no table contents selected, hover over the border between cells until you see the “resize” cursor (shown here).
  2. Click and drag either until the cell borders line up or until it snaps to a location. Sometimes it’s not possible to make the edges line up exactly on the first try, but now you can select the other misaligned part and snap that border to the same point as the first.

From then on, the edges you’ve aligned should move as one entity.

Drag the markers on the ruler

  1. On the View ribbon, select the Ruler option.
  2. Click in the cell you want to change.
  3. On the ruler, click on the gutter marker between columns and drag it to the desired location.
Grab the gutter marker on the ruler to resize columns.

Troubleshooting

If a row is shorter than the others, it will not behave well. Split cells or recreate the row so that the right and left edges align with the table. (Shown in the video demo below.)

Sometimes, it feels impossible to get cell borders to align so that they create a single smooth column. The fastest fix is to insert a new row and drag the contents over, then delete the problematic row. Do watch out, though: deleting problem areas can “move contents up/left” in a way that messes up the rest of the table. On rare occasions, creating a fresh table and transcribing contents (via click and drag) is the fastest method.

demo video: https://youtu.be/ZLqpO3hbrKY

Check out all the other posts in this series about Working with Tables and download your free multimedia ebook of them all!



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Working with Tables: Making them Pretty

Place the cursor within a table in Word and a Table Design ribbon will appear (shown below). In the middle of that ribbon, you can choose from dozens of looks for the table. Most publishing workflows ask for simple tables with minimal “design” to them. Most style guides prefer the least possible formatting, barely even borders or “rules”. So we’ll focus on working within those parameters.

Access this panel of design options for your table by clicking the arrow at the bottom right of this group on the ribbon (in Windows) or hovering over the middle of the group and clicking the arrow tab that pops up (Mac).

If, instead, Word is the design tool (common for internal office reports and proposals, for example), start by selecting one of the options on that ribbon that fits the design specs; most likely, pick an option that from the design “theme” of the product. After that, the rest of this post applies to you, too.

Use Styles for Contents

The problem with changing the font and alignment of table contents is that if the cell contents are still set to Normal style, you’ll lose all that manual finessing the second any change is made to Normal (such as changing the alignment or first line indent) or if Normal style is “reapplied” somewhere in the document. It’s better to set table contents in their own style. So, select the whole table and create a new style for Table body, Table heads/stubs, and any other style it needs to use.

Then, you can set attributes for the table contents such as a smaller hanging indent for bullets or smaller font size by modifying each of those Styles.

Set the Borders

On the Table Design ribbon, click the Borders icon at the right edge and apply borders (rules) to the rows and columns according to your document’s requirements. Pay attention to which cell the cursor is in, as borders are applied to that cell only. To apply borders to a whole column or row, select it first.

To Indent Cell Contents

To manually indent table contents or insert a tab space within a table cell, hitting the tab key doesn’t work. That just jumps the cursor to the next table cell! To indent contents of a cell, either move the slider on the ruler or hold down the option key, then hit the tab key. (Windows users should hold the alt key then press tab.)

Set Alignment of Contents

Left, right, or centre alignment of table contents can be set from the Home ribbon, as with any other content. It’s also possible to set margins, an indent, a hanging indent, and more on the ruler. Just drag the related element (discussed in a coming post).

To align numbers, it’s most useful to use the “align on decimal” option on the ruler.

Check out all the other posts in this series about Working with Tables and download your free multimedia ebook of them all!

In the coming Word Wrangling Wednesday posts, we’ll talk about tidying up cell border alignments, creating spanning heads, and the like.



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