Increase Effectiveness Using Software and Internet Resources

Increase Effectiveness Using Software and Internet Resources

October 20, 2004
Presented by Bonnie Britt and Hilary Powers

BAEF chairperson Bonnie Britt, a freelance editor, writer, and former newspaper reporter, put together an engaging and informative presentation to make our jobs as writers and editors easier. Former BAEF chair, editor, and Word macro expert Hilary Powers contributed greatly to the program.
These are Bonnie's tips in three categories:

  • Help for Microsoft Word
  • Tools to Diagnose and Prevent PC Problems
  • Miscellaneous Software and Advice for Editors

Help for Microsoft Word
Without mincing words, Bonnie said she "hates Microsoft Word" and many publication professionals who were present shared the sentiment but conceded that Word dominates a major part of the industry in which we work. Bonnie's suggestions are aimed at co-existing with Word. Her recommendations follow:

  • – Bonnie considers this the single best resource for MS Word issues. She calls it "well organized, detailed and brilliant. The authors' approach is systematic in solving MS Word problems and they do entertain questions." An example is the discussion of master doc problems:

  • Editorium – Both Hilary and Bonnie proclaimed Editorium as "the premier site for MS Word as it bears on editors." Editorium contains information on how to use Word's wild card "search and replace" capability, and the intricacies of how to write macros. Hilary is a frequent contributor to the newsletter, called Editorium Update. Writer and Editor Jack Lyon supports these efforts at sharing what he knows by giving away some and selling other software and templates that make working in Word easier.

  • contains helpful articles on MS Word features like ways to paste text within a document without reformatting it, how to create and apply styles, and how to use and not do battle with styles. The site also addresses how options in MS Word work in current and earlier versions. Shauna Kelly's site is listed among the pages of other outstanding Word experts at

  • – This is a Microsoft knowledge base organized more thoughtfully than where "it takes a long time to find what you need." Susan Barnhill and Dave Raider discuss topics here, such as setting tabs and how to create page numbers. Both also contribute to

  • contains the secrets of how to verify the authenticity of Microsoft products, including any you buy from eBay or other after-market sources.

Tools to Diagnose and Prevent PC Problems Unfortunately, if you do not take steps to protect your PC, you are apt to be inundated with viruses and annoying programs that can paralyze any PC. Bonnie suggested a few tools to protect your investment.

  • – Zone Alarm is a free software firewall or first line of defense against intrusions to your PC from the wilds of the Internet. It allows you to control most access to and from your PC, making it more difficult for unwelcome visitors to use your computer's resources. "I had used the free version of Zone Alarm for a number of years and can also recommend the upgrade to Zone Alarm Pro for additional features such as virus and worm stoppers," Bonnie said. Another important line of defense against Internet intruders is to purchase a router, which is hardware that also protects against intruders. The combination of ZoneAlarm and a router provides maximum security.

  • Spybot Search and Destroy is shareware that identifies and eliminates spyware on PCs.

  • – Ad-Aware sometimes catches tracking cookies that Spybot does not notice. Bonnie said, "I use both Ad-Aware and Spybot Search and Destroy. In different ways, they both help to keep my PC free of intrusions as well as tracking cookies."

  • If you publish your email address on the Web, consider encoding it in script that is not readable by robots that roam the Web collecting addresses for junk emailers. Encode your email address using and paste what looks like gibberish directly into the coding where an email address would ordinarily be placed on an HTML page. It will appear correctly on the Web.

  • To determine whether your virus software is working as advertised, scan your computer to double-check:

  • Get info on your computer speed:

  • Learn what's bothering your PC:

Miscellaneous Advice for Editors
We all have our favorite software programs for small and large publication-related tasks, utilities that allow us to work faster or spots on the Web where we can help outselves out of a jam when a major deadline is near. Here are a few items of interest:

  • UltraEdit is a powerful and versatile plain text editor used widely by journalists and programmers. It searches (and replaces) easily across files and folders, opens HTML files for editing and contains so many other fine qualities you soon won't be able to live without it. At a cost of $35, Bonnie calls it "Notepad on steroids," and often "a fast cure for fixing whatever ails Word at the moment." If you are a Mac uer, you likely know about BBedit, also a powerful Notepad replacement.

  • Gadwin PrintScreen is an inexpensive screen capture program that allows editing of parts of a page captured in bitmap or gif format. This was suggested by a forum member.

  • - For anyone learning the ropes in Adobe InDesign, Anne-Marie Concepcion's pages and newsletters are "must reads."

  • – Here's where you can address and maybe even resolve serious software and hardware problems.

  • is the premier non-Adobe spot for FrameMaker and Acrobat issues.

  • .mht files. Bonnie said this may be one of the only three reasons to use Internet Explorer. To save an entire Web page, including graphics and photos, in one file, use IE to "save as" (fill-in-filename).mht without the parentheses. The other two reasons to use IE are to collect Microsoft patches and to use ZoneAlarm to scan for tracking cookies. Beyond that, there are too many continuing security issues in Internet Explorer to trust it.

  • Mozilla Firefox – Bonnie says the "best free browser is Firefox. With its endlessly useful personal toolbar, this browser is faster, cuter and less vulnerable to spyware than Brand X."



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