Tag Archives: troubleshooting

Tracking Changes in PowerPoint Slides

Forced to edit a slide presentation and missing Word’s Track Changes? “Compare” to the rescue! Just save the PowerPoint file with a new name, and make your changes. Then, select Compare on PowerPoint’s Review ribbon. (Only Windows users get this option, sorry Mac users.)

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Try This! Track Changes in Word

Track Changes is a feature of Word that lets each person on the team show their suggested revisions and leave comments “attached” to content without becoming part of the content itself (and thus avoiding the disastrous embarassement of comments making it into the final product).

Download this 132 kb file, then try the steps below. Check your work against the answer figure shown at the end.

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Reduce Picture Bloat in Word Files

You already know how to remove all pictures from a file in a single click, but what if you need to keep those images in place? Checking visual content is a key editorial task, after all. Or what if the Word file is producing the output so the pictures are required? Many reports and ebooks are designed in Word!

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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.

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5 Ways to Select Big Chunks of Text in a Word Document

Selecting unwieldy content doesn’t have to be a snafu experience.

You know that ctrl + A will “select all” contents of a Word file, but did you know that selecting less — large amounts but not all contents — can be as easy? No need to drag the mouse, jumping unexpectedly and far; it doesn’t have to be a tedious, glitchy, or imprecise experience. Just use one of these methods:

  • triple-click
  • outline view
  • ctrl + shift + up/down arrows
  • F8 (4 times)
  • zoom out, then select


Select a whole paragraph or table cell by triple-clicking somewhere within it. It’s also possible to triple-click and drag to select whole paragraphs in a row.

Outline View

In outline view, you can select any paragraph of text, section (with subsections), subsection, full chapter, or any such whole hierarchy of content. Instructions for that are in another post. This is the best!

Ctrl + Shift + up/down

Holding shift while you press arrow keys selects text, we know. But if you press the ctrl key too (cmd for Mac users) while you press the down ⬇️ arrow, it will select everything to the end of the paragraph. Press the arrow again and it will select the next paragraph too.

Shift + Ctrl + End/Home

Hold shift and ctrl (cmd on a Mac) while you press the End key to select everything from the cursor’s position to the very end of the document.

To select “up” instead, press the Home key while holding the shift key. The key step is to place the cursor at the right starting point!

F8 + F8 +F8 + F8

Yes, you have to press the F8 key four times, but that will select an entire paragraph around wherever the cursor is sitting. Press it a fifth time and it will select all. (Three presses selects a single sentence in its entirety. Not exactly a “big chunk” of text in most cases, but still useful.)

Note that you probably have to press the FN (function) key along with the F8 as most F-keys these days are mapped to common actions such as volume control and screen brightness. Pressing the FN key at the same time gives access to the program-related F-functions.

To exit this mode, press Escape.

Zoom, Select

To select text over several pages, change to “two page” view then zoom out until there are many pages onscreen. Then use one of the other methods to select the desired text.

For more tips on working with tables, download the free book!


Text that is in a table or a text box can be selected with many of these methods, but you’ll have to get into the text box first and read these specifics for 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!

Osprey photo by Paul VanDerWerf used under CC BY-2.0 license.

Six Uses for Highlighting in Manuscripts

The highlighter is found on Word’s Home ribbon. Click the little down arrow to open the colour selection panel.

Highlighting jumps off the page as you scroll past, alerting you to content that needs attention. But you can also search for highlighted text, making it a useful “fail safe” (if not entirely safe from failing) as a final check for things left to be done such as fact checking.

Uses for the Highlighter

Highlighting has uses far beyond a study technique. In editing and production workflows, they can be used to

book cover cropped to banner size
Learn more about the Highlighter tool starting on page 36 of the self-study book.
  • flag items for fact checking
  • identify correct spellings and symbols
  • flag cross-references
  • flag instructions [set within brackets for extra assurance]
  • create a searchable content category for editing
  • colour code materials for formatting purposes

Highlighting all correct spellings of a name—or any true degree symbol—helps you know that any that are not highlighted are errors.

In really complex tables, highlighting can be used to help spot outliers in data or formatting. Here, a Find & Replace-with-highlighting makes those cells that don’t contain the ± symbol stand out by way of not being highlighted.


To remove highlighting, select the text then apply highlighting that is “No Color.”

Highlighting you can’t remove is probably actually a background colour, not highlighting.

book cover cropped to banner size
Learn more about using Find to locate formatting starting on page 56 of the self-study book.

When searching for highlighting, Word will find all highlighting; this cannot be restricted to finding only one colour of highlight.

The last/active highlight colour is applied by the Replace field. Using a macro, however, it is possible to specify which colour of highlighting gets applied. More on that in the book.

Windows users can also use a pseudo highlight feature that temporarily highlights strings of “found” text.

If you used the “Reading Highlight” option in Find (Windows users), it’s not permanent. The colouring will stay in place only until you remove one of the highlights or manually highlight something else. Then all of the reading highlights will disappear.

Avoid using highlighting to leave queries in the body text. These are prone to ending up in the final product, sometimes to enormous embarrassment.

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!