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.

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© 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

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.

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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.

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