Editing in Word

Editing in Word: Building Efficiency

Presentation by Hilary Powers
April 22, 2008
Notes by Wendy Moseley

In her presentation at April's forum, author an editor Hilary Powers shared what she has clearly determined from working with Microsoft Word over the years: that you, the editor, can (and should) make Word do what you want it to do, rather than simply accepting what Word is automatically programmed to do. According to Powers, mastery of Word is a matter of attitude adjustment. Repeat to yourself: "I can be in control of Word."

Powers reviewed with the group options to adjust and customize Word for editing onscreen. She advised six steps you can take when faced with aspects of Word that elicit responses such as "I hate this!" "I wish I could just..." "I'm tired of this!" "It'd be nice if..." or "Why can't I do this an easier way?" These steps are reset, record, write, request, buy, and adopt.

Resetting turns off aspects of Word that get in the way or complicate editing. For example, unwanted options in AutoCorrect can be removed by simply "editing" AutoCorrect Options on the Tools menu.

Recording (a macro) will automate most repetitive tasks that editors may be performing manually; you can transfer the workload to Word by clicking record ("REC"), which appears at the bottom of your Word document screen.

When recording is difficult, you can write your own macros. Use Alt+F8 to bring up the box that lists already written macros; you may be able to add or build variations to serve you.

Powers admits that, years ago, her first steps in learning how to increase her Word efficiency seemed nearly impossible. But for editors still "crawling" when it comes to functions such as reset, record, or write macro, she encourages the next step: request. She pointed out that the Internet is filled with smart and generous experts who can help. If you are frustrated with some Word vexation but do not even know how to pose your question, Powers recommends Shauna Kelly's Web site. To get thoughtful answers to Word questions that you know how to ask, join Word-PC via this e-mail address: word-pc-subscribe-request@liverpool.ac.uk. Other resources she recommends: The Electric Editors and wordsnSync.

Even a "crawler" can take the next step: buy. Powers recommends trying any solution commercially available and then buying it if it works.

Powers' final step, adopt, entails paying attention to sources of free advice. She gave as examples Editorium Update, WordTips, a weekly newsletter with daily tips, and Office Watch.

Of course, the goal is to increase your efficiency as well as your income by eliminating the busy work so you can focus on editing. For detailed guidance on how to gain the upper hand with Microsoft Word, Powers's book, Making Word Work for You: An Editor's Intro to the Tool of the Trade, is available in paperback or the electronic version.




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