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The January/February 2008 update is now available (free!) to registered purchasers. If you purchased the first edition and haven't received a download link for this version by e-mail, please contact me to request one. In addition, the fully revised 2nd edition is available. If you want to upgrade, please contact me (include the date when you purchased your copy) to request details of how to obtain the new version at a significantly reduced price.
All future corrections and additions to the book will appear on this page. If you find an error or problem that isn't included in this list, please report the problem to me so I can fix it. Comments and suggestions for improvement (including new material) are very definitely welcome!
This page contains links to the following updates:
In writing this book, I made a conscious decision to minimize my use of screenshots, mostly because there are far too many versions of Word out there for me to document all the possible interface variations. I recognize that in making this decision, I may have made life a bit more difficult for some readers. To accommodate your needs, I'll make such screenshots available via this page. Please contact me to request specific screenshots, and as soon as I can steal time away from work to create or obtain a copy, I'll provide access to the screenshot via this part of my site.
Pagination error in the first few sections: A numbering error appears to have crept into the file when I created the latest version of the PDF file. In the eBook itself, the page numbers at the bottom of the page are correct, and you can get to these pages with no problem via the index or by typing the page number in the "go to page" field at the top of the reader software (Adobe Reader, Apple Preview, etc.). However, if you have configured your reader software to display thumbnails (small images) of the pages at the right side of the screen, you'll see that up to the end of Chapter 2, the page numbers below the thumbnails incorrectly display with Roman numerals. This appears to be a bug in the Acrobat software, and I'm not sure how to fix it. It's definitely on my list of things to fix in a future version.
Page layout problem in the printed book: You may find that pages 187–211 and 483-490 appear closer to the gutter than to the outer edges of the book, are are therefore a bit more difficult to read. Sorry about that! I'm not sure why this happened: it looks fine on the screen. Another mystery to be resolved in the next version!
Missing Word files: For various reasons, Word files sometimes go missing in action. Microsoft has kindly provided an "official" solution on how to find missing files in Word 2003 and 2007. Most of these solutions will also work on the Macintosh, with minor modification.
Editing error on page 55, in the green sidebar: Currently, the text says "select text from the keyboard with the keyboard". Oops! You can "select text from the keyboard" or "select text using only the keyboard", and that's what it should have said. I'll fix that in the next version.
Customization cursor update: There are a few errors and additions to my description of the Customize cursor, which is obtained using the Control+Alt+Hyphen (Windows) or Command+Option+Hyphen (Macintosh) keyboard shortcuts. It appears that this cursor cannot be used to delete toolbar icons—at least, not in current versions of Word. To do that, you must still use the Customize dialog box. In addition, at least as of Word 2003, this cursor will only delete one menu item before it turns back into the regular cursor. That's an important safety feature, though not so nice as a dialog box warning you about what you're about to delete. If my interpretation is correct, the inability to delete icons is simply a bad design choice: the cursor doesn't change from a "–" to something else, such as the (\) symbol used in "no smoking" signs, when you hover it over an icon, but basic user interface design principles state that you should always change the cursor shape to communicate a change in cursor behavior (here, that it won't work to delete icons). In further testing, I noticed that on my Macintosh (Word X), the cursor sometimes erroneously changes from the "–" to a slightly different variant of the usual pointer arrow, even though it is still secretly the deletion cursor. That's an outright bug, folks. If you're using Word X on the Macintosh, beware!
Adding commands to menus: I haven't devoted any time to the topic of customizing menus, since most people won't want to do this. However, if you've inadvertently deleted a menu command using the Amazing Destructo Cursor of Doom® (better known as the Customize function), it helps to know how to undo the damage. The technique is basically the same as customizing toolbars: open the Tools menu, select Customize, select the Commands tab, then navigate through the list of commands until you find the one you want. To add it to a menu, simply drag the command out of the Customize dialog box and onto the name of the menu that will hold the command. But there's one more trick: you'll need to hold down the mouse button for a second or two until the menu opens. At that point, you can move the cursor down through the menu until you reach the desired position for the command. Release the mouse button and you're done.
Selecting a vertical column of text: Most of this chapter describes how to select contiguous text by moving the cursor horizontally within a line, then vertically to select additional lines. However, Word also lets you select vertical swaths of text while ignoring text to the left or right of the vertical column. This is useful when you're trying to clean up e-mail imported into Word, since there's often a lot of wasted space. It's particularly useful when you're working with "delimited" text, which is often the case when you receive text extracted from a database or spreadsheet, with some character (usually a tab but sometimes a comma or other punctuation) used to mark the position (to delimit) the start and end of each vertical column of information. Wouldn't it be nice to be able to select only that one column of the text? You can! Simply hold down the Alt key (Windows) or Option key (Mac), click the mouse cursor at the leftmost position you want to include in the selection, then drag your mouse down and to the right until you've selected the final character at the rightmost edge of that column of text. You can now copy, cut, or delete the selected text.
Selecting a vertical column of text, take II: If the previous trick doesn't work for you, there's an alternative: the "rectangular selection" cursor. To use this, position the text cursor at the start of the vertical area you want to select, press the keystroke Control+Shift+F8 (Command+Shift+F8 on the Macintosh), then use the arrow keys to expand the selection. (You can also use this to expand the selection within a row, or combine it to select parts of a row and the text vertically below that.) If you make a mistake or change your mind, press the Esc key to cancel that function. Once the text is selected, you can copy it, format it, or whatever!
Quickly accessing files and folders: In Word 2007 (and presumably Word 2008 for the Macintosh, though I haven't confirmed this), the Work menu has been greatly expanded, so you can store more files there. But if you find this option too inflexible, and if the "Recent documents" option under the File menu in most programs can't store enough files for your needs, both the Macintosh and Windows provide additional ways to keep files close at hand for rapid access. In Windows, you can drag folders to the task bar at the bottom of the screen or add them to the Start menu so they become available with a single click; if you create shortcuts for commonly used files and store them in a single folder, this provides an elegant way to gain quick access to these files. On the Mac, you can accomplish the same effect using the Dock (the toolbar that most often appears at the bottom or right side of your screen and stores shortcuts to your programs and data files).
Concordance resources: It looks like Justus-Liebig University’s Web page on concordance software is missing in action. Until such time as it returns, the Wikipedia article on concordances should serve as a useful placeholder. It's a bit skimpy, so if you have a favorite concordance resource, please pass it along!
Macintosh concordance software: The "Conc" software I mentioned in the discussion of concordances seems to have fallen into disrepair, and probably won't work anymore on your computer. Instead, you may be interested in the AnalyzeText software (a commercial product); it's not clear whether this software is still being actively developed, so it might be worthwhile contacting the author to find out. Alternatively, try the free Concorder software or the equally free Concorder Pro software. Both appear to be in "beta" (i.e., still being tested and debugged), but since they're free, it won't hurt to try them out.
Interrupting a spellcheck to edit something: If, as sometimes happens, you're running Word's spellchecker and spot something else that needs fixing (such as adding a missing word), you don't necessarily have to stop the spellchecker before you can fix the problem and then start the spellcheck over again from the top of the file. Instead, click the mouse cursor inside the document window, correct the problem, click the spellcheck dialog box, and then click the Resume button to pick up where you left off. You can also try pressing Control+Tab (Windows) or Command+[`] (the accent on the key to the left of the 1 on the keyboard) on a Macintosh to "switch the focus" between the document and the spellcheck dialog box, and back again. (This won't work in all versions of Word.)
Text too small in the spellcheck dialog box? One problem with older versions of Word is that the font used to display the text being checked is too small for easy reading. You can't change that text size, but there's an alternative: increase the size of the text in the document window (by opening the View menu, choosing Zoom, and selecting a larger magnification) before you begin your spellcheck. Now, if the spellcheck dialogue box is too small to let you read the word that Word claims to be spelled wrong, you can simply reposition this dialog box (if necessary) and read the word directly in the document window, which is clearly visible behind the dialog box.
Rich Adin's "wordsnSync" suite of editing tools is now available. If you need industrial-strength tools for really long jobs, have a look!
Autocorrect backups: Allen Wyatt has provided more information on backing up your Autocorrect entries at the WordTips site.
Obtaining correct capitalization using Autocorrect: Word's Autocorrect feature doesn't distinguish between shortcuts typed using different capital and lower-case letters; for example ]EOE and ]eoe will produce the same result. If capitalization is important, the solution is to create different autocorrect shortcuts. For example, create the shortcut ]eoecaps for "Effective Onscreen Editing" and ]eoelc for "effective onscreen editing".
Autocorrect in Word 2007 (Windows) and 2008 (Macintosh): In the two most recent versions of Word, Microsoft bumped up the power of the Autocorrect feature by introducing what it now refers to as "building blocks". These are stored in the Normal.dotm template file (the counterpart to the new .docx document files and the younger sibling of the old Normal.dot template), and you should include this file in your regular backups to protect your investment in creating these shortcuts. To move building blocks between templates, select the Insert tab of the ribbon, and in the Text set of commands, open the Quick Parts menu and select Building Blocks Organizer. You can now use this feature to copy the building blocks between template files.
Run certain macros automatically: It's helpful to
be able to ask Word to run certain macros automatically, without your
intervention, under certain circumstances. You can do this by giving
the macros that have been predefined by Microsoft to run under certain
circumstances. For these macros to run automatically, they
must be stored in a global template (typically, in Normal.dot)
that makes its macros available to any open Word document.
The macro names and the corresponding circumstances are:
– AutoNew: runs whenever you create a new document
– AutoClose: runs whenever you close a document
– AutoExec: runs whenever you start Word (must be stored in Normal.dot)
– AutoExit: runs whenever you shut down Word
– AutoOpen: runs whenever you open a document
Because these macros run automatically, they will trigger Word's macro virus warning if they are present in a template that you send to a colleague, so be sure to warn them about this so they don't fear that you're sending them a virus.
Editing mathematics manuscripts: If you need to edit Tex or LaTex files with revision tracking, investigate the Lyx software, which is available for Macintosh, Windows, and Linux. Haven't tried it myself, but it's been recommended to me by a LaTex expert, and the features list seems promising.
Revision tracking in InDesign, sort of: For some time now, Adobe's InDesign desktop publishing software has been paired with an editing program called InCopy, which lets you edit stories in InDesign using revision-tracking tools. Early versions attracted somewhat unfavorable reviews. Although it's still not perfect, Adobe seems to have finally gotten it right with the latest version. See the MacWorld review for details.
Medical dictionary: Stedman's medical dictionary is available online. Type the word you're looking for in the "Look up here" field just below the navigation bar.
A collection of useful reference resources: The Teaching Tips site offers an eclectic gathering of "100 unbelievably useful reference sites you've never heard of" (if the link breaks, search for that title), ranging from the eminently practical (online dictionaries and librarian references) to resources that are harder to justify as anything more than just fun (e.g., "the ultimate swearing dictionary").
Improving your Google searches: Google offers two useful ways to refine your searches. If you want more control over the search parameters than the standard search field provides, click the "Advanced search" hyperlink that appears to the right of the field in the standard Google page where you type your search terms. This lets you apply useful criteria such as the date of the document (e.g., published within the last year) or its source (e.g., a discussion forum) to narrow down the results. Alternatively, once you have performed a search, you can search within those results by clicking the "Show options" hyperlink that appears at the top left side of the search results screen. This provides access to many, but not all, of the options provided by "Advanced search".
Style guides: The Reuters style guide is available online. So is the IBM style guide, the IEEE Computer Society style guide, the U.S. Government Printing Office style guide, and the NASA style handbook.
Proofreader's marks in Acrobat: If you own the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Professional (version 8 when I wrote this), the software provides built-in tools for simulating proofreader's marks or Word's revision tracking. Adobe Reader offers similar tools (with the caveat discussed below). In Acrobat Pro, the revision tracking tools are hidden away under the Tools menu: select Comment and Markup Tools, then Text Edit, then the Text Edit tool. With this tool selected, you can click between words or letters and start typing to insert something. Acrobat helpfully draws the proofreader's standard insertion caret and opens a text box that holds whatever you type. Double click or drag to select a word, press Backspace, and Acrobat highlights it with a strikethrough format. Selecting text and then starting to type combines both functions and both forms of markup. There are other options I haven't explored since I don't do this kind of work much anymore. Version 9 of Adobe Reader also provides a "Comment and Markup" toolbar, but you'll never know it's there unless you open the Tools menu and select Customize Toolbars. For this toolbar to be available for a given document, the creator must "enable document rights" when they create the PDF.
Proofreader's marks in Acrobat, take II: If you need to add proofreader's marks in Acrobat PDF files, you can do this manually using Acrobat Pro's "stamps" tool, but it's not a particularly elegant solution. If you need to do this a lot, have a look at the "Paperlessproofs" Web site, which offers a more efficient product for annotating PDF files using traditional proofreader's marks. Currently available only for Windows, but a Macintosh version is supposed to be in development.
Jack Lyon's long-awaited Microsoft Word for Publishing Professionals is now available. If you've been a long-time fan of Jack's Editorium Update newsletter, you'll appreciate this book: it gathers together many years of accumulated wisdom in one convenient package.
Word 2007/2008 .docx format: If you're using Windows, Microsoft offers updates for Office 2003 (use Windows Update) that will let you open Word 2007's .docx files. Microsoft's .docx conversion utility for Macintosh has been in beta for some time, but reports from the field suggest that if you're running OS X 10.4 or later, it works well. If you're using an older version of the operating system, consider using an online file-conversion service such as Zamzar instead. This service is free, but paid options with more flexibility are also available. If you're using Apple's OS X 10.5 (Leopard) operating system and don't want to install Microsoft's converter, the latest version of the TextEdit software will both open and save files in the new .docx format. The Pages word processor that comes with the most current version of the iWorks software is also claimed to do a good job of converting .docx files. For a more professional solution, try the Dataviz MacLinkPlus conversion utility, which includes a wide range of additional format conversions.
Restoring Word 2003's menus in Word 2007: If you really miss the old-style menus from previous versions of Word, consider Shah Shailesh's solution, which adds the old menus to Word and other components of Microsoft Office 2007. A bit of snooping suggests this solution was implemented using Visual Basic, and if that's correct, users of Word 2008 for the Mac are out of luck. You can also restore the menus and toolbars using ToolbarToggle, the Word 2007 template provided by IndelibleInk, or the ClassicMenu product distributed by Addintools. UBit Software offers another utility to restore Word 2003 menus (free for home use). If you know of any comparable Mac solutions, please let me know!
Training in Word 2003 and 2007 (also useful for Macintosh versions): Microsoft offers some useful (and free!) tutorials for more recent versions of Word. Though focused on the Windows versions, most of the Word 2003 tutorials and the Word 2007 tutorials will apply to a greater or lesser extent to current Macintosh versions. In case those links break, navigate to <http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/training/default.aspx> and follow the links to training on your specific version of Word. There's also some Macintosh Word training available, though the Web page doesn't seem to mention which versions it applies to. In case that link breaks, navigate to <http://www.microsoft.com/mac/help.mspx> and follow the "Courses" link.
More Word 2003 to Word 2007 tips: Microsoft now offers an Excel spreadsheet that shows where Word 2003 commands have been moved in Word 2007: the "Word ribbon mapping workbook", an Excel spreadsheet. It's claimed to work only with Excel 2003 and later, but I haven't tested this.
Word 2007 equivalents for customization
features from older versions:
(courtesy of Jack Lyon's Editorium Update)
Word 2003 and older
Word 2007 equivalent
Tools --> Customize
Office button --> Word Options --> Customize.
Tools > Templates and Add-ins
Office button --> Word Options > Add-Ins --> Manage -->Templates, then click Go.
Tools --> Macros
View (on the ribbon) --> Macros
Tools --> Options
Office button --> Word Options --> Advanced.
Adding shortcuts to the Word 2007 Quick Access toolbar: The Quick Access toolbar is a special toolbar you can use to hold your own frequently used commands, and will display these commands no matter what other tabs are being displayed. Microsoft has provided details of how to customize this toolbar.
Repairing corrupted Word files: If you don't own InDesign and still want to repair a corrupted Word file, or to open a damaged file that Word itself can't open, you may want to consider GetData's (currently free but only available for Windows) Repair My Word; the company also offers several other interesting-looking tools for file and data recovery. Note that even if you're using a Macintosh, you can still use this software if you have a model of Mac that lets you run Windows, though of course you'll have to install Windows. For another free alternative that runs on both Macintosh and Windows, consider OpenOffice: the main site provides one-size-fits all versions for both Windows and Macintosh, and there's also a spinoff, NeoOffice, that is claimed to be more Macintosh-friendly.
Troubleshooting Word: In addition to the temporary files I described in the book (files with the .tmp filename extension and files whose name begins with a ~ character), Word sometimes forgets to get rid of various other files that can lead to problems. Files that have "Autorecovery save" in the name can also accumulate. If this happens on your computer, add a note to your calendar program to remind you to periodically look for and delete these files. If Word is behaving oddly or crashing more often than usual, and you're using Windows, try starting Word without allowing any add-ins or templates to load: open the Start menu, select Run, then type the following (minus the quotes): "winword.exe /a". If the problem goes away, one or more of your templates might be corrupted, or add-in software such as a non-Microsoft spellchecker might be at fault. Try removing the templates one at a time and restarting Word normally (or uninstalling the add-in software) to see if that fixes the problem. Phil Rabichow provides some other suggestions, but they're a bit complicated, and not for the faint of heart.
Word 2003 service pack problems: It's important to keep your software "patched" and up to date by downloading updates (often called "service packs") from the developer. If you installed service pack SP3 for Word 2003, and discovered that you suddenly can't access a bunch of older files, the 22 October 2007 issue of the Office Watch newsletter, "Office 2003 service pack 3: yes or no?" explains the problem and provides suggestions on how you can solve it.
Discovering keyboard shortcuts: If you open the Options (Windows) or Preferences (Macintosh) dialog and select the Display tab, you'll see a checkbox labeled "Screen tips". If you select this option and close the dialog, Word will display a small popup that describes toolbar buttons and other icons when you hold the cursor over those tools. If a keyboard shortcut has been defined, more recent version of Word will also display that keyboard shortcut.
Loading documents and templates automatically: Most current versions of Word offer a "Startup" folder that lets you launch certain things (such as a template or an add-in such as the Adobe Acrobat toolbar for Word) each time you start Word. This is hidden at different places on your computer, depending on your operating system and version of Word, but is most often one or two layers deep in the Microsoft Office folder that is created when you install Word. To install something that should open (files) or become available (custom tools) whenever you launch Word, simply drag it (or a copy) into this folder. (Custom tools such as the Acrobat toolbar may require an installtion program to do this correctly.) To prevent something in this folder from opening when you launch Word, simply open the folder and drag out the offending item. To define your own Startup folder, open the Options (Windows) or Preferences (Macintosh) dialog and select the File Locations tab. Towards the bottom, you'll see a cryptic line labeled "Startup". Select it, click the "Modify" button, and then navigate through the file selector until you find the correct location. Click the "New folder" button or icon to create a new folder.
Word's "disk full" error: Users of MacWord sometimes encounter an error message that suggests there may be no more space left on their disk drive. Microsoft has developed a couple workarounds that may help you solve this problem. (If that link breaks, search the site for the article entitled "Microsoft’s “Disk Full” Error Workaround".)
Escaping comment balloons: If, like me, you hate to take your hands off the keyboard while editing you'll appreciate this shortcut for comment balloons: when you're finished editing the comment text, simply press the Esc key to move the cursor from the balloon back into the main document window. Thanks to Jack Lyon of the Editorium for the tip.
Track changes in Framemaker: If you're using the latest version of FrameMaker (8.x), Adobe has added a new track changes feature similar to the one provided in Word. Visit Adobe's site to learn more about tracking changes in Frame. If you're still using an earlier version of Frame, InTech offers a track changes plug-in for Frame.
Industrial strength document-comparison software: If you need a really powerful tool for comparing two or more documents, consider the Araxis Merge software. MacWorld reviewed the Araxis software in January 2009; if that link breaks, search the MacWorld.com site for the name of the software. The MacWorld article also lists alternatives to this software that are worth investigating.
Editing and collaborating over the Web: Though I covered the "chat" or "instant messaging" category of software, I somehow managed to omit the category of software that lets you actually collaboratively edit a document over the Web. Two strong contenders in this category are SubEthaEdit and EtherPad. Tidbits.com offers a review ofEtherpad and a comparison with SubEthaEdit. You might also be interested in Google's "GoogleDocs" service, currently in extended beta testing.
Revision tracking if you use MadCap software: MadCap's X-Edit family of software offers powerful tools for collaborative editing. The software comes in versions ranging from a free tool that gives reviewers everyhing they need to mark up a document, to more sophisticated (paid) versions that offer more features. Currently, the software works only with files created using MadCap's Flare software (for creating online help) and Blaze software (for creating a family of customized long documents from a single set of information.
The University of Oregon grammar guide is available online.
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