Tag Archives: tip

Take Advantage of Word’s Editing Tools for PowerPoint Files

Editing files in PowerPoint means you don’t have access to Word’s macros and other tools that make editing faster and more consistent. Sure, you could copy the content from each text block on every slide into a Word file, but the net savings just aren’t found in that method.

Enter the export: in PowerPoint, export the file as an RTF, then open that RTF in Word, save it as a docx file, then run your usual magic. Edits need to be transcribed into the PowerPoint file, but it’s still more efficient and effective than plodding away, old school.

Don’t Forget the Speaking Notes

To export the speaking notes, take a few more steps:

  1. Select Print in the PowerPoint file.
  2. In the Layout options, select Notes (shown below).
  3. Select PDF as the output, then Save/Print.
  4. Open the PDF and select all, copy, then paste the text into a Word file.

Showing Changes to Files

There’s no Track Changes function in PowerPoint. But using the Compare tool in PowerPoint itself will mark up differences between the original and edited file for everyone to see — and vet — them. Vetting the mark-up is not exactly the same as approving changes in Word. Each change would have to be undone by hand rather than by clicking “reject”. The team might find it easier to work on a final version with the marked-up changes used for reference only.

An Imperfect Solution

Getting the content of a slide presentation into Word for editing isn’t a perfect solution:

  • exporting speaking notes takes an extra step (or more);
  • changes are not marked up as they are when using Track Changes in Word; and
  • changes must be transcribed into the slides.

But it’s better than working without Word’s efficiency altogether.

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!

Anonymize Metadata in a Word File

actress with heavy makeup hiding behind a matching mask from the Beijing opera (Pixabay)

Sometimes editors don’t want their work time-stamped, as MS Word does automatically when tracking changes or comments. Or the editor wants the “user name” removed from the tracked changes because they used someone else’s computer, for example. They don’t want the client thinking they outsourced the work without permission.

There are two ways to change the user name tags on comments and tracked changes. One method is to use the Compare Documents function, which lets you specify a user name for all the changes found between two documents, giving them all identical time stamps. We’ll talk about that more in another post.

The other way we’ll discuss here is removing all personal data from the file. That means the tracked changes, comments, and metadata will no longer contain your name, address, etc., or anyone else’s. All changes remain tracked and all comments stay in place. They simply get tagged with “Author” instead of a name.

How to Remove Personal Data

  • On a Mac, go to Tools > Protect Document… > and check the “Remove personal information form this file on save” option in the Privacy area at the bottom of the dialogue box.
  • In Windows, select Info on the File ribbon, then in the Inspect Document area, pick Inspect Document from the list that opens for the Check for Issues icon. In the Document Inspector dialogue that opens, click Document Properties and Personal Information, then click the Remove All button beside the line that says it found personal information. (See the figure here.)


Both methods of removing the user data from a file affect ALL changes and comments in the document. So if there are comments from different members of the team, those will become indistinguishable. To retrieve or revert to show multiple users, you’ll have to recover a previous version of the file.

book cover cropped to banner size
Find out more about Customizing Word starting on p. 106 of the book.

Once a file is set to remove all personal information, it will do so on every save, even after you close the file and send it to the next stage of production. So remember to deselect that option if you want future changes to be tagged with the user’s name.

Want to anonymize your PDF markup? Check out these instructions.

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!

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.

Figure 1. The outline button on the bottom border of the window looks like a bullet list.

Moving Content Chunks

Figure 2. Each chunk of heading is marked by a minus or plus sign in outline view, and paragraphs are marked with a dot.

Each block of content can be selected by clicking on the square/plus/minus sign. Then you can drag it to a new order. Dragging the content slightly left or right will also nest it under a headline. When a plus sign is clicked, all content “within” that heading level is selected as well as the heading. Clicking a square selects that chunk alone.

First Line View

Parading the topic sentences is a great way to check a document for flow. Rather than scrolling for hours, use Outline view to show you only the first line of each paragraph. To do this, enable Outline view to open the Outlining ribbon shown in Figure 3. Then click the box in the Outline Tools area that says “Show First Line Only.”

In “first line view” you can still select whole blocks of text and move them around. You can even select whole sections or chapters, moving them without scrolling for days. Just remember that when you select a heading chunk, all content “within” that heading is selected too.

Figure 3. The Outlining ribbon.

Headings View

The flow of headings is as important as the flow of paragraphs. To view just the headings in the document, change the “level” of content that is visible. In the Outline Tools (Figure 3), select how many levels of content you would like to see from the “Show Level:” box. The “level” of content is set by applying Styles in Word. If you’re using custom styles, levels need to be set for them for this view to work.

Viewing headings only, you can move whole swaths of content (even whole chapters) easily just by clicking a blue selector, then dragging the chunk.

Exit Outline View

To view all content again, either set “Show Level:” to “All Levels” or go to a Draft or Print view.

Try It Now!

Head over to the new post with an exercise you can use to test your understanding.

And see this other post for another way to use Styles to see structure, and even work with it a bit in the Navigation pane.

In another post, we’ll look at other uses for Outline view, such as changing “levels” of content in the document.

book cover cropped to banner size
For more tips on working with Outline view, start on p. 68 of the book.

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!