Most people have used Word, but how many people use all of its functions? Very few, I suspect. I imagine that I use more Word features than most but I am still discovering new features – some more useful than others. There are a lot of tools packed into Word and it takes some time to get to grips with them all. Editors spend a lot of time talking about macros and getting to grips with macros will increase the number of tasks you can automate (see my macro baby steps series if you want to take the plunge), but you can make your editing life a lot easier just by using the tools that are already built into Word.
On your Word ribbon, tucked away at the top right-hand corner of the Paragraph group, you will find this symbol ¶. Hover your mouse over it, and it says “Show/Hide ¶ – Show paragraph marks and other hidden formatting symbols”. Click on the symbol and all the “characters” that you don’t usually see appear.
Sue Littleford recently wrote about using checklists in editing for The CIEP blog. I use OneNote for my checklists: it’s handy as it’s available on all my devices and I get to tick jobs off as I do them. I have a folder for each of my clients with a client-specific checklist in each, and I add a new page for each job.
“I’m never going to get my head around macros and wildcards!” I hear this quite a lot and, I have to confess, I make sure I only sigh on the inside. I hope that having read my Macro baby steps posts that you will realise almost everyone who uses a computer to edit (or proofread) text should be able to install and/or record at least a few simple macros. I am equally convinced that most editors could keep a list of handy wildcards to use on occasions. But, people talk about these things as if macros and wildcards are essentially the same thing – which they are not – and as if they are equally baffling, whereas, in fact, they are quite different and making use of each needs a different set of skills.
In Macro baby steps part ii – Recording your own macros, I mentioned that macros can be edited. In fact, being able to edit macros is one of the great things about them, so it’s quite useful to understand enough about how macros work to have the confidence to tweak your own macros – and other people’s.
Andrea at Yours Truleigh Editing