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Effective Onscreen Editing: new tools for an old profession

2nd edition update: The eBook (PDF) and print versions are now both available.

The 1st edition remains valuable, particularly if you're using a version of Microsoft Word older than Word 2003. The 2nd edition has been extensively revised (more than 10K words of new material) based on what I've learned teaching students, and now includes specific details for Word 2003 and 2007 for Windows and Word 2008 for the Macintosh.

If you purchased the 1st edition in December 2009 or later:

eBook (PDF): If you haven't already received a download link for a free copy of the 2nd edition, please contact me directly (with the date of purchase) and I'll send you a new link.

Printed version: I can't offer a free upgrade, but I can send you the eBook of the 2nd edition at no cost or offer you a large discount on the new printed edition. Contact me (include your receipt) to request details.

This page contains the following information:

Description of the book

Bibliographic information: Hart, G. 2010. Effective onscreen editing: new tools for an old profession. 2nd ed. Diaskeuasis Publishing, Pointe-Claire, Quebec. Printed version: 507 p. ISBN 978-0-9783227-4-8; PDF version: 723 p. ISBN 978-0-9783227-5-5

If you're increasingly being required to edit manuscripts on the screen ("onscreen editing") using a word processor, your editing skills remain the same, but transferring them into a word processor can be challenging. Effective Onscreen Editing eases the transition from on-paper editing: it provides the basics you need to get started, supplemented by proven tips and tricks to maximize your productivity and effectiveness. This book is based on my 22+ years of experience as an editor and as a mentor for other editors, supplemented by feedback from students who have taken my course on onscreen editing.

My goal is to illustrate general principles that will work in any word processor. To make those principles concrete, I use Microsoft Word (versions 2003, 2007, and 2008) to show how to implement these principles in the real world. (Because the examples only illustrate the principles, you'll benefit from the book even if you don't use Word. However, you'll have to learn how your word processor implements the techniques.) The information is provided in small chunks, designed for easy reading and browsing. You can dip into the book to solve a specific problem, or read it a chapter at a time to increase your mastery of the art of onscreen editing.

Read the reviews

Here's what readers have been saying about the 2nd edition of Effective Onscreen Editing:

Here's what readers said about the 1st edition of Effective Onscreen Editing:

Buy the PDF and print versions of the book!

The first edition of the book is still available for purchase; contact me for details. All sales via this page are only for the 2nd edition.

Teachers Want to add the book to your course reading list? Please contact me to obtain a free evaluation copy of the eBook, and a reduced price on the printed edition.

I offer student discounts of US$5 for both versions. Contact me from your university .edu e-mail address to obtain a link to the reduced price. (If you don't have a university e-mail address, please ask your teacher to contact me on your behalf.)

Everyone else:

PDF version (eBook)

Purchase and download a copy using your PayPal account or most major credit cards.

Although you can print the PDF file, it's not optimized for printing.


Printed version

Buy in bulk

Interested in buying many copies for your group? Please contact me so we can negotiate a bulk discount.

Detailed table of contents for the book (and a sample chapter)

This page provides an overview of the second edition. You can also download a free copy of Chapter 3 to confirm whether you like the style and content or download the detailed table of contents. I have provided tips on how to use this eBook on my Web site to help you get the most out of this book. The tips will also work for many other eBooks and PDF files.

I. Overview and introduction

Chapter 1. My goal and approach in this book
Chapter 2. Advantages of onscreen editing
Chapter 3. Writing and editing are human endeavors

II. Mastering the tools

Chapter 4. Personalizing how your software works
Chapter 5. Moving around the document and selecting text
Chapter 6. Using revision tracking
Chapter 7. Inserting and deleting text
Chapter 8. Using the search tools (find and replace) to improve consistency
Chapter 9. Developing style sheets: a tool for consistency
Chapter 10. Using spelling and grammar checkers
Chapter 11. Automating your edits
Chapter 12. Editing in special situations
Chapter 13. Coping when revision tracking isn’t available

III. Identifying and overcoming barriers

Chapter 14. Using the Internet to improve your editing
Chapter 15. Developing safeguards
Chapter 16. Solving the proofreading problem
Chapter 17. Coping with the human factor
Chapter 18: Putting the theory to work: a four-step implementation process

Appendix I. Developing a sound backup strategy

Elements of a backup strategy
Recovering the current version of your work
Recovering previous versions of your work
Protecting yourself against viruses and other malware
Protecting yourself against theft and damage

Appendix II: Protecting yourself from injury while using the computer

Aches and pains
Hand problems
Eye strain

Appendix III: Troubleshooting Microsoft Word

Coping with typical problems encountered by users of Word

Appendix IV: Word keyboard shortcuts (plus selected shortcuts at the level of the operating system)

Further reading

Useful references
Helpful Internet resources

Errata and additions to the 1st edition of the book

Inevitably, some errors and interesting new information slip through my net. You can see the errata and additions for the May 2007 and January 2008 releases of the first edition on this site. The January/February 2008 update is available (free!) to registered purchasers; it contains all the updates for the May 2007 edition, and replaces that edition. If you purchased the May 2007 edition and have not yet received a download link for the January 2008 edition by e-mail, please contact me (with the purchase date) to request the new version.

Errata and additions to the 2nd edition of the book

The 2nd edition was much cleaner than the 1st edition, but the environment for onscreen editing has changed quite a bit since this edition was published. Details of the changes appear here.

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