Electronic Editing: With Your Computer, Not Just On It Tipsheet

Electronic Editing: With Your Computer, Not Just On It Tipsheet

By Hilary Powers, from the March 16, 2004 forum:
Electronic Editing: With Your Computer, Not Just On It

Principles
"It's supposed to be easy. If it's not easy, you're doing it wrong." --Joe Kossoff
"The computer can't edit for you. What it can do is take over the drudgery and let you concentrate on editing." --Hilary Powers

Online Resources
a. Editorium: Free newsletter (with priceless archives), good book, amazing Word add-in software-some free, some at modest charge (with free trial).

b. Electric Editors: Discussion groups, free macros in Word and WordPerfect.

c. The Editor's DeskTop: One high-end editor's personal business site (an education in itself); includes several useful articles.

d. Word-PC (to join, send blank e-mail): Discussion group for users of Word on PC equipment. Note that blank means no text, no sig line, nothing.

e. Word-Mac (to join, send e-mail with this text: subscribe word-mac YourRealFirstName YourRealLastName): Discussion group for users of Word on Mac equipment. Do not change the specified subscription text other than to fill in your name; do not add a signature. Note: Rumor says this list may be moving to a new server. Check on McEdit if the address provided here doesn't work.

f. McEdit (to join, send blank e-mail): Yahoo discussion group for editors who use Mac equipment on the job.

From Hilary's Grimoire
Computer use has much in common with sorcery. If you do the right things in the right sequence, your powerful servant will bring you wealth and joy; if you screw up even the slightest detail, you will suffer for it. So herewith, in the tradition of Albertus Magnus, is a selection of spells reasonably safe for newcomers to the craft. If you don't know what a word or a sequence means, ask someone more knowledgeable than yourself.

Caveat: Hilary deals with the spirit known as "PC" via Windows XP Pro and knows not the requirements of the one that goes by "Mac"; equivalent functions are said to be either available or unnecessary for those who follow that force, who will need to consult practitioners of their own branch of the art for matters not native to MS Word. Those who employ earlier versions of Windows will find comments addressing their needs.

a. To make the screen comfortable to look at: Control Panel, Display, Appearance, Advanced (change whatever you wish), Themes (save your changes here). Windows 95 and Windows 98 users save changes as a "Scheme" from the Appearance dialog.

b. To get at all your files: Start, All Programs, Accessories, Windows Explorer-make shortcuts and put them in Start Menu and Quick Launch area. Windows 95 and Windows 98 users will find the Explorer at Start, Programs; Windows 95 users have no Quick Launch area available and should use the desktop instead.

c. To make Windows Explorer stop playing stupid games: Windows Explorer, Tools, Folder Options-set it to show all files of all types, including hidden files, with file extensions; pick the view you like and make it the default for all folders. Windows 95 and Windows 98 users: Windows Explorer, View, Options. You can set the view from View and whatever you choose will apply to all folders until you change it.

d. To open Word with no document active: Right-click on the desktop shortcut, Properties, Shortcut, Target, type /n at the end of the line.
e.Have "Autorecover" enabled (to rescue your work if Word crashes) and "Fast Saves" disabled (to prevent file bloat, corruption, and other embarrassments).

f. To find hot keys: The ones set locally-File, Print, Print what, Key assignments. The built-ins-Tools, Macro, Macros; set "Macros in" to "Word commands" and "Macro name" to "ListCommands."

g. To cure 90% of everything that makes a Word document behave unexpectedly: Copy everything but the last paragraph mark and paste it into a new blank file. (Press Ctrl+Shift+8 to see the paragraph marks.) Pick up the text in chunks, skipping the last paragraph mark in each section, if the document has sections and the first ploy doesn't do the job. If the problem involves styles, make sure the new file is based on a template with the ones you want. If you're really frustrated, paste as unformatted text (Edit, Paste Special) and reapply styles manually.

h. To retain tracked changes when moving text: In Word 2000 and later versions, just turn off tracking in both sending and receiving file, Copy, Paste, then turn the tracking back on. In Word 97, Copy doesn't pick up tracking, so you have to get sneaky. To move a passage, select it, then go to Insert, Bookmark and put in a bookmark name. Note: That names the whole selected passage as a block of captured text. Save the file (under a new name if you're moving text within a file), and then move the insertion point to the place you want to put the text. Make sure tracking is off in the target file. Open the File, Insert dialog and enter the name of the bookmarked file in the "file name" box and the bookmark name in the "range" box. Word will insert the captured text in the new location. Turn the tracking back on, and remember to delete the captured text from its original location if you're moving it within the same file.

i. To stabilize styles: Format, Style; make sure the style definition dialog boxes have "Automatically update" UNchecked.

j. To use the Windows key for something besides keeping the Ctrl key away from the Alt key:

WIN: Display the Start menu.
WIN (release), then first letter of Start menu item: Launch item. (If more than one item starts with the same letter, press the letter repeatedly until the one you want is highlighted, then press Enter.)
WIN+F1: Display Windows Help.
WIN+D: Minimize or restore all windows.
WIN+E: Display Windows Explorer.
WIN+F: Display Find: All Files.
WIN+CTRL+F: Display Find: Computer.
WIN+M: Minimize all windows.
WIN+R: Display the Run command.
WIN+BREAK: Display the System Properties dialog box.
WIN+TAB: Cycle through buttons on the taskbar.

k. To display the Start menu on a PC with no Windows key: Press Ctrl+Escape.

l. To right-click without touching your mouse: Press the Context Menu key, which sits between the right-hand Windows and Ctrl keys.

m. To adapt to various clients without worrying about their requirements while you work: Make a separate template with tailored macros for each client, and assign parallel functions-author queries, headings, typecoding-to the same menus and hot keys in each template. Consult commercial grimoires for the details on how to accomplish this; it's easy, but takes a while to describe. Start with the back issues of Editorium Update that are filed under "Customization" and "Templates."

n. To record a macro: Double-click the "REC" box on the status bar, then follow the prompts, giving the macro a one-word name like the ones in the "Introductory Macros" section. Practice the moves you intend to record first until you're sure you can do them smoothly. Further tips, courtesy of uber-editor Dan Wilson of The Editor's DeskTop:

  • If you need to use Find or Replace in the macro, get set up before you start recording. That is, open the dialog, click More, and empty the text and options boxes. Make sure All is selected in the Search drop-down menu, then close the box and begin recording.
  • Open dialog boxes after you start recording. If you need to use more than one tab on a dialog box, close the dialog after the first tab. Then reopen it, click the tab you need and use it, close the dialog again, and so on.
  • Remember that you can use the mouse to select menu commands but not to select text. Use F8 to select text. (Click to place the insertion point where you want it-the recorder will ignore you-then press F8 twice to select a word, thrice to select a sentence, four times to select a paragraph, five to select a section of the document, and six to select the whole doc.)

o. To adopt and use somebody else's macro: Copy the text from "Sub" through "End Sub" and then click Tools, Macro, Macros; type the macro name; click Create; paste the text over the "Sub" and "End Sub" lines in the resulting screen and close out the screen. For more detailed instructions, go to Editorium Update and look up "Using Found Macros" (Editorium Update, May 30, 2001), under "Macros and Programs." Caveat: This is the easy way to snag a macro; it is not the best way. If you do this, be sure to back up Normal.dot (as Normdate.dot or somesuch) every time you add something to it.

p. To learn enough VBA to rework macros: Find a copy of Word 97 Annoyances by Woody Leonard and work through the VBA exercises. Or just look at macros that do things like what you want and try to steal pieces from them. The macros in the next section will get you started.

Introductory Macros
If computer use is sorcery, macros are cantrips that produce specific effects when you want them. Here are a few samples, chosen to provide useful tools and to give you a look at some of the kinds of things you can do as your command of the language develops. Note that the single quote character turns the remainder of a macro line into a comment-something for humans to read, not computers.

a. Cut and Paste Combined: To make revision marks easier to follow, it's often useful to remove a word or sentence that has accumulated several small changes and put it back in the same place as one unit. Pressing Ctrl-X followed by Ctrl-V seems easy the first half-zillion times you do it, but eventually it gets old. I have the following macro assigned to Ctrl-R (for replace):

  1. Sub CutPaste()
    ' Macro recorded 11/22/02 by Hilary Powers
      Selection.Cut
      Selection.Paste
    End Sub

b. Serial Comma Added: If you work in a world of AP authors and Chicago publishers, you find yourself doing a lot of mousework to place the insertion point exactly right for that fiddly comma in front of the "and." This macro will let you add the comma as soon as you see the need, as long as no other "and" intervenes. (As an exercise, create a "SerialOr" macro that will let you do the same for lists that use "or" instead of "and" in front of the last item.)

  1. Sub SerialAnd()
    ' Macro written 02/27/03 by Hilary Powers
      Selection.Find.ClearFormatting
      With Selection.Find
        .text = "and"
        .MatchCase = True
        .MatchWholeWord = True
      End With
      Selection.Find.Execute
      Selection.MoveLeft Unit:=wdCharacter, Count:=2
      Selection.TypeText text:=","
    End Sub

c. Automated Lists Frozen: Word makes it easy to create bulleted and numbered lists, but the feature is fugitive; page makeup programs can't use it. If your client insists on real bullets and numbers, this macro will give them to you. Its numbers are OK as is; its bullets are in Symbol font, which may be a problem. If you want something else, record Find&Replace steps to change them into the font and character you need, and then paste those steps into the macro. (Just plop them in ahead of the "End Sub" line.)

  1. Sub FreezeList()
    ' Posted to Electric Editors Grapevine by Iwan Thomas 9-8-2000
      ActiveDocument.ConvertNumbersToText
    End Sub

d. In-Text Citations Prepared for Checking: In a manuscript with lots of author-date citations, it's tiresome to stop and check each one against the reference section as you come to it. The first of the following pair of macros allows you to select the whole citation with one hot key-after you put the insertion point at the beginning, which may be inside or outside the parens with the date. The second picks up the selected text, copies it to the second document (of the two you have open for this trick), advances to a new line there, and then returns to the main document and finds the next opening paren. At the end of a chapter, use Find&Replace to separate semicolon-delimited lists into individual items, then tag each item with its chapter number (at the end of the line). After assembling all citations, sort them by author, print the list on scratch paper, and compare them to the references, fixing or querying as you go.

  1. Sub Fillerup()
    ' Macro cannibalized by Hilary Powers 1/30/04
      Selection.Extend
      Selection.Extend Character:=")"
    End Sub
    Sub GetThat()
    ' Macro recorded 1/29/2004 by Hilary Powers; Window-switching
    ' line fixed per Jack Lyon of the Editorium, 1/30/04
      Selection.Copy
      ' ActiveWindow.Next.Activate
      WordBasic.NextWindow
      Selection.PasteAndFormat (wdPasteDefault)
      Selection.TypeParagraph
      WordBasic.NextWindow
      Selection.MoveRight Unit:=wdCharacter, Count:=1
      Selection.Find.ClearFormatting
      With Selection.Find
        .text = "("
        .Forward = True
        .Wrap = wdFindContinue
      End With
      Selection.Find.Execute
      Selection.MoveRight Unit:=wdCharacter, Count:=1
    End Sub

e. Style Sheet Maintained: One of the joys of electronic editing is the ease of preparing a style sheet, but the cut-and-paste sequence can still seem tiresome. In the following pair of macros, the first copies selected text and places it on the style sheet (the second of two docs you have open for this trick), then stops there so you can add the part of speech or otherwise adjust the pasted text. The second moves to a blank line in the style sheet, returns to the main document, and clears the selection.

  1. Sub StyleThat()
    ' Macro adapted from GetThat by Hilary Powers 1/30/04
      Selection.Copy
      WordBasic.NextWindow
      Selection.PasteAndFormat (wdPasteDefault)
    End Sub
    Sub HedOnBack()
    ' Macro adapted from GetThat by Hilary Powers 1/30/04
      Selection.TypeParagraph
      WordBasic.NextWindow
      Selection.MoveRight Unit:=wdCharacter, Count:=1
    End Sub

f. Selected Text Converted to Alternative: Sometimes you have text that needs to be changed in some instances but not in others, so a global Find&Replace won't work. At the touch of a hot key, this macro will take any specific thing and change it to any other thing you name. It's based on one that converts numerals 1-99, plus even hundreds, ordinals, and other useful stuff-edited down here to save space. (Exercise: Restore the missing items. Use the Word automated numbered list feature, FreezeList, Find&Replace, and Cut and Paste to simplify the task. Note the double quotes around the Case names that convert items that include any text or spaces.)

  1. Sub Numword()
    ' Based on macro written by Hilary Powers, June 2000
    Dim vNumerals As String
    If Selection.Type = wdSelectionIP Then
      MsgBox "Select something to convert first."
      GoTo Last
    Else
    vNumerals = Selection.text
    End If
    Select Case vNumerals
    Case 1
      Selection.TypeText text:="one"
    Case "1st"
      Selection.TypeText text:="first"
    Case 2
      Selection.TypeText text:="two"
    Case 30
      Selection.TypeText text:="thirty"
    Case "30th"
      Selection.TypeText text:="thirtieth"
    Case "30s"
      Selection.TypeText text:="thirties"
    Case 100
      Selection.TypeText text:="a hundred"
    Case "00 "
      Selection.TypeText text:=" hundred "
    Case "000 "
      Selection.TypeText text:=" thousand "
    Case ",000 "
      Selection.TypeText text:=" thousand "
    Case "U.S."
      Selection.TypeText text:="United States"
    Case "United States"
      Selection.TypeText text:="U.S."
    Last:
    End Sub

g. Specific Choices Offered: Sometimes you want the computer to ask you what to do next. One way to get this effect is to write a macro that puts up a dialog box and asks for your input, then does one thing or another depending on your reply. You can take the following example and expand it to any number of options, and replace the "Case" text with the guts of any macro (the text between-but not including-"Sub" and "End Sub").

  1. Sub ChoiceShell()
    ' Macro written by Hilary Powers 02-09-04 to illustrate dialog use.
    Dim DialogTitle
    DialogTitle = "How are you feeling?"
    Dim Prompt As String
    Dim UserResp As String
    Dim UR As Single
      Prompt = "1. Fine" + vbCrLf
      Prompt = Prompt & "2. Frustrated" + vbCrLf
      Prompt = Prompt & "3. Sick"
      UR = 0
      While UR < 1 Or UR > 3
    ' Preceding line sets UR > number equal to number of choices.
    ' If you have ten choices, make it say UR > 10.
      UserResp = InputBox(Prompt$, "How are you feeling?")
      UR = Val(UserResp)
      If UR = 0 Then UR = 1
    ' Preceding line makes the first choice the default.
    ' That means users don't have to type in the number 1; they get
    ' the first effect by just running the macro and pressing Enter.
      Wend
      Select Case UR
      Case 1
      ' Do stuff for choice 1 here
        Selection.TypeText text:="Great! Let's get to work!"
        Selection.TypeParagraph
      Case 2
      ' Do stuff for choice 2 here
        Selection.TypeText text:="Take a deep breath...."
        Selection.TypeParagraph
      Case 3
      ' Do stuff for choice 3 here
        Selection.TypeText text:="Take two aspirin and call me in the morning."
        Selection.TypeParagraph
      End Select
    End Sub

h. Bonus-Freeze Fields: Word fields bounce when they hit page makeup programs. Since the page has room, here's how to convert them to plain text. (Ctrl+A, Ctrl+Shift+F9 also works.)

  1. Sub FreezeField()
    ' Macro recorded 03/28/02 by Hilary Powers
      Selection.WholeStory
      Selection.Fields.Unlink
    End Sub

Copyright 2004, Hilary Powers

 

 

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