An American Editor

February 17, 2016

EditTools & My Editing Process: Part III

Part I introduced the preediting steps (Steps 1 to 3). Part II discussed the remaining two preediting steps (Steps 4 and 5) and then discussed the first editing step (Step 6) in my editing process, which is editing the references. Part III finishes the editing process with Step 7, which focuses on editing the main text.

Step 7: Editing the Text

I use a three-monitor desktop system for editing. When I edit the text, I have the primary document open on the first monitor, the online stylesheet open on the middle monitor, and other needed documents, such as the references, open on the right-hand monitor. I also have open several of the EditTools tools I use while editing (see below for an example), such as Bookmarks, Click List, Reference # Order Check (if the references are numbered rather than name–date style), and Toggle Specialty Manager. Once I start adding author queries using the Insert Query macro, I may add Comment Editor to the open tools mix.

Sample of EditTools Macros

Sample of EditTools Macros

I keep these tools open on the desktop because I use them often. Bookmarks are both navigational aids and tracking aids. The Reference # Order Check provides a way to track reference callouts and renumbering them if renumbering is required. Click List provides a quick-and-easy method for inserting text or symbols. Toggle Specialty Manager lets me add to the active Toggle list new project-specific terms that I encounter while editing.

As I edit, I know that decisions will need to be made. For example, should I let an acronym stand or should I replace it with its spelled-out version? If the client has a rule governing usage, I need to be able to apply it. So, for example, when I come across travel risk management (TRM), I run the ESCR (Enhanced Search, Count, & Replace) macro, shown below, to determine how many times in the document the phrase travel risk management appears and how many times TRM appears.

ESCR looks for these variations (I can add additional ones)

ESCR macro

ESCR macro

and provides this report

ESCR Report

ESCR Report

Using the report screen, I can make changes to the text. For example, in the above report, travel risk management appears 10 additional times in the document. I can also see that the acronym TRM is often used. Consequently, for consistency, assuming that TRM is acceptable to the client, I need to change travel risk management to TRM. Thus I type TRM in fields #1 and #2 and I check the highlight box (#3) next to TRM. I also leave TRM3 as it is, because that is different from TRM and needs to be defined and searched for separately. Clicking OK then lets the macro change all 11 instances of travel risk management to TRM with tracking on. The macro also yellow highlights the 37 instances of TRM. As I edit the document now, when I see the yellow-highlighted TRM, I know that it has already been defined earlier in the chapter and that the decision was made to use the acronym rather than the phrase. Had the report come back saying there were only two instances of TRM, then the decision might have been to use the spelled-out version instead of the acronym.

If travel risk management (TRM) is not in my Word Specialty dataset, I add it (I also add it to the online stylesheet if it is not already there), using the Acronym/Phrase entry system (shown below).

Toggle Word Acronym/Phrase entry system

Toggle Word Acronym/Phrase entry system

In the future, if I come across an instance of TRM that needs to be spelled out, I can click Toggle Word and choose from among several options, as shown here:

Toggle Word Choice Menu

Toggle Word Choice Menu

If I need to query the author or make a comment to the compositor, I use Insert Query (see below). With Insert Query, I can call upon a previously written query that I have saved, or create a brand-new query, which I can save, or not, to the dataset for future reuse.

Insert Query

Insert Query

If I want to alter a query for any reason, or even if I want to delete a query — whether it is located 20 pages ago or where I currently am — I use Comment Editor, shown here:

Comment Editor

Comment Editor

Comment Editor lists all of the queries I have inserted in the document (#1). There is no limit to the number of queries Comment Editor will list. One of the nice things about Comment Editor is that I do not need to go to the page where the query is located to edit it. I select the query that I want to edit and the complete text of the query appears in the Text box (#2), where I can edit or completely rewrite it. If I want to go to the query in the manuscript, I can click Go To Comment (#3). That will take me to the query’s location. To return to where I was in the document, I click Return to Before (the name is odd but it refers to the bookmark that was inserted). I can also delete a query by selecting it and clicking Delete (#4). With Comment Editor I do not need to spend time trying to locate the query I want to modify, going to it, and then returning to where I was in the document.

As I indicated earlier, I use the Bookmarks macro as a way to track figures, tables, and text boxes. I also use it to mark items I need to return to for some reason. Unlike Word’s Bookmark feature, EditTools’ Bookmarks lets you use descriptive language. That helps greatly when, for example, you want to bookmark a sentence to recheck. With EditTools’ Bookmarks you could insert “Recheck this sentence – has TRM been mentioned?”, as shown here:

Bookmarks

Bookmarks

I use the Bookmarks renaming function for tracking. If Figure 1 has been called out in the text and I have edited the figure and its caption, I rename the bookmark. I select the bookmark and click Rename (#1), which brings up the renaming dialog shown here:

Bookmarks Renaming Dialog

Bookmarks Renaming Dialog

The renaming dialog tells me which bookmark I am renaming (#1). Because I have selected certain items to be the defaults (#2 and #3), the new name automatically appears in the To field (#4). I could choose a different prefix or suffix, add new ones, change the defaults, and even choose None (meaning either no prefix or no suffix is to be used). If the default is what I want, I click OK and the change is made, as shown below, but the bookmark remains in the same location.

After Renaming

After Renaming

When I am done editing the document, I bring the reference file back into the main document using Word’s Insert File feature. I then run one last EditTools macro, Remove All Highlighting, which is found in the Other menu on the Highlight menu, as shown here:

Remove All Highlighting

Remove All Highlighting

Running that macro will remove all the highlighting I have added during editing. It has no effect on Track Changes, just on the highlighting. If I need to keep certain highlighting, I instead run the Choose Highlighting To Remove macro. When I run that macro, it searches through the document to determine what highlighting colors are used in the document and lists them, as shown here:

Choose Highlighting to Remove

Choose Highlighting to Remove

I select the colors I want removed and click OK.

That’s pretty much the process I follow and the way I use many of the EditTools macros. I haven’t mentioned several macros, because they are not part of my usual editing process. I do use them, just not with the frequency of those described above. Under the right circumstances, these other EditTools macros can be very useful.

If you are a user of EditTools, share your experience with EditTools and tell us which macros you use and when you use them.

Richard Adin, An American Editor

_______________

Looking for a Deal?

You can buy EditTools in a package with PerfectIt and Editor’s Toolkit Plus 2014 at a special savings of $78 off the price if bought individually. To purchase the package at the special deal price, click Editor’s Toolkit Ultimate.

February 15, 2016

EditTools & My Editing Process: Part II

Part I introduced the preediting steps (Steps 1 to 3). Part II discusses the remaining two preediting steps (Steps 4 and 5) and then discusses the first editing step (Step 6) in my editing process, which is editing the references.

Step 4: Moving the References

Most of the projects I work on have extensive reference lists. Sometimes a chapter will have a relatively short reference list of 50 or so, but most are at least 100 references, and sometimes are more than 1,000 references.

After the preliminary steps and before running Never Spell Word (Step 5), I move the reference list to its own file. I do this for several reasons. First, some of the macros that I use during editing can affect the references, creating undo work for me. Moving the references to their own file avoids this problem.

Second, I like to edit with Spell Check on. However, Spell Check sees many author names and foreign spellings in journal names and article titles as misspellings. That wouldn’t matter except that it often leads to the message that Spell Check can’t be used because there are too many spelling errors and so Word will turn off Spell Check — for the entire document. By moving the references to their own file, I almost always avoid that particular problem. (Yes, I am aware that I could turn off Spell Check just for the references — for example, by modifying the styles used in the references, which is what many editors do — but I like Spell Check to be on even for the references.)

Third, I want to be able to run my Journals macro unimpeded and as quickly as I can. The more material the Journals macro has to run through, the longer it takes to complete.

Fourth, I want to be able to run Wildcard Find & Replace on the references without having the macro also affect other parts of the document.

And fifth, moving the references to their own file makes it easier to check text reference callouts against the references because I can have both the primary document and the references open concurrently and on different monitors.

I do not edit the references in this step; I simply move them to their own file.

Step 5: Project-Specific Never Spell Word

The next preedit step is to create my project-specific Never Spell Word (NSW) dataset, which is shown below. Every project has its own NSW dataset (#13). The only time I use a previously created dataset is when I have edited a previous edition of the book. I assume that word usage decisions made in previous editions will continue in the current edition. This is generally reinforced when the client also sends me a copy of the stylesheet I prepared for the prior edition (or tells me to use it, knowing I have it available on my website). I do, however, go through the NSW dataset to make sure there are no changes that need to be made as a result of changes in the applicable style guide or in other pertinent guidelines (e.g., changing over-the-counter and OTC to nonprescription).

Never Spell Word dataset

Never Spell Word dataset

If I cannot use a previously created NSW dataset, I create a new one using the Never Spell Word Manager shown above. Note that when I speak of the NSW dataset, I am really speaking about the one tab in the Manager — the Never Spell Words tab (circled). Although the other tabs are part of the NSW macro, they are not project specific as I use them; however, they can be project specific, as each tab can have multiple datasets, and the tabs also can be renamed.

In the example NSW, the dataset has 70 items (#15). These items were specifically mentioned by the client or the author(s) (e.g., changing blood smear to blood film, or bone marrow to marrow) (#14), or things I noticed that will need changing (e.g., changing Acronyms and Abbreviations that appear in this chapter include: to Acronyms and Abbreviations:) (#14). As I edit and discover more items that should be added, I add them through this Manager.

The NSW macro has multiple tabs, some of which may not be relevant to the current project. Running the NSW macro brings up the NSW Selector, shown below. Here I choose which tabs to run. The default is Run All, but if I need to run only the NSW and Commonly Misspelled Words tabs for the particular project, I check those two and click OK and only those two parts of the macro will run.

Never Spell Word Selector

Never Spell Word Selector

After the NSW macro is run, it is time to begin editing.

Editing Steps

Step 6: The References

My first task is to edit the references that I moved to their own file in Step 4. I deal with the references before editing the text so I can determine whether there are “a,b,c” references (e.g., 57a, 57b) or if the references are listed alphabetically even though numbered. This is important to know for setting up the Reference # Order Check macro, found on the References menu and shown below, for tracking callout order and for renumbering if needed.

Reference # Order Check

Reference # Order Check

After I set up the Reference # Order Check macro, it is time to look at the references and see if the author followed the required style. Occasionally an author does; usually, however, the author-applied or -created style is all over the place. So the next macro I run is Wildcard Find & Replace (WFR) (shown below) and the appropriate scripts I created using WFR. The scripts focus on specific problems, such as author names and order-of-cite information (e.g., year first or last).

Wildcard Find & Replace Scripts

Wildcard Find & Replace & WFR Scripts

The scripts cure a lot of problems, but not all of them. Following the scripts, I run the Journals macro. Depending on which dataset I use, running the Journals macro may well fix nearly all of the journal names.

After running the Journals macro, I go through the references one by one, looking for remaining problems that need fixing, such as completing incomplete citations. If I come across a journal that was not in the Journals dataset, which I know because it is not color coded, I verify the journal’s name. I also go to the Journals Manager enhanced screen, shown below, so I can add the journal to multiple datasets concurrently.

Journals Manager Enhanced Screen

Journals Manager Enhanced Screen

Once I have finished editing the references, it is time to begin editing the main text (Step 7), which is the subject of Part III.

Richard Adin, An American Editor

_______________

Looking for a Deal?

You can buy EditTools in a package with PerfectIt and Editor’s Toolkit Plus 2014 at a special savings of $78 off the price if bought individually. To purchase the package at the special deal price, click Editor’s Toolkit Ultimate.

February 10, 2016

EditTools & My Editing Process: Part I

I have been asked to describe how EditTools fits in the editing process. I have avoided doing so because each editor works differently and the way I edit suits me but may not suit someone else. However, I have been asked that again as part of a question about EditTools, and I have decided that perhaps the time has come to explain how I use EditTools in my editing process.

Usually the manuscripts I edit — all nonfiction, with a majority being STEM (science, technology, engineering, and medicine) — come to me in groups of a few chapters. Occasionally I will receive the entire book, but even then it is usually divided into chapter files. When the book is given to me as a single file, I divide it into chapter files.

I know some editors prefer to work with a single file that represents the whole book. I do not, for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that the books I usually work on are much too long to effectively edit as a single file — sometimes a single chapter runs more than 400 manuscript pages. In addition, Word is not the most stable of programs, and the larger the file (and the more that goes on in the file), the more likely it is that Word will crash — and keep on crashing. More important, however, is that by working on chapter-size files, I can add to my EditTools datasets and have those additions applied in future chapters. Without reading every word, I cannot know in advance every decision that I need to make.

Before-Editing Steps

Step 1: Delete Unused Styles

I receive basically two types of files: ones that the authors designed and ones that the clients have manipulated before sending them to me (in my work, authors are not my clients). Sometimes I need to apply a template to the file. In the case of the author-designed file or a file to which I need to apply a template, the first thing I do is run the Delete Unused Styles macro (#1) shown here:

Delete Unused Styles

Delete Unused Styles

By running this macro, I eliminate many (not all) of the author-created styles that aren’t used in the document and narrow the number of styles that I need to deal with.

Step 2: Cleanup & Style Language

After that, I run the Cleanup macro (#2). The Cleanup macro has its own Manager (shown below), which lets me set what I want cleaned up (#3). It also lets me link to a Specialty file (#4) for additional cleanup that is specific to the project (or type of project) I am working on. The Manager lets me set the order of the cleanup by moving the items around, although I don’t bother — instead I run the macro twice. The main field shows me what will be done (#5). And, as is true of all EditTools datasets, I can save my cleanup profile (#6). What that means is that I can create custom cleanups based on client or type of project or any other criterion and recall them as needed.

Cleanup macro

Cleanup macro

As part of this step, I also run the Change Style Language macro, which is found under Other on the Other menu, as shown here.

process 2 A

Change Style Language

I run the macro to make sure that the language used is uniformly U.S. English and to make sure Spell Check is on. Authors tend to use multiple languages and sometimes turn off Spell Check. The macro gives me the option to choose any Word-supported language and to turn Spell Check on or off, as shown here:

process 2 B

Choosing the Spell Check Language

After I have made my choices, I click Update and the macro will update the document’s styles.

This is also the step where I run the Superscript Me macro, which is found on the References menu, as shown here:

Superscript Me

Superscript Me

Superscript Me lets me change how reference numbers appear in the text. For example, if the author has the numbers in square brackets (e.g., [122]) when they should be superscript without the brackets, I can quickly make the change throughout the document by running this macro. The macro also lets me choose how the numbers are to appear in relation to punctuation; the choices are between the AMA and the Chicago options, as shown here:

Setting Superscript Me's Options

Setting Superscript Me’s Options

(Tip: If the numbers are correctly superscripted but incorrectly placed in relation to punctuation, select None and the correct style type, then run the macro. The numbers will remain superscript, but the style will be corrected. This will also clear out any spaces in superscripted numbers following a comma [e.g., superscripted 132, 134 will become superscripted 132,134].)

Step 3A: Coding & Styling

After the Cleanup step, I code or style the document. In the “olden” days, I applied the codes or styles as I edited, but with EditTools, it is easier and quicker to apply them before editing begins. I may change some during editing (e.g., change a numbered list to a bulleted list), but nearly all remain as originally coded/styled.

Most of the projects I work on require me to either add coding or apply client template styles to the text. If it is codes, I use the Code Inserter Manager; if it is styles, I use the Style Inserter Manager. Consequently, creating the Inserter dataset for the project is next on my to-do list. Because clients tend to use the same styles and codes, I generally open an existing dataset and just make necessary changes, such as in the way a head is to appear (e.g., title case bold, all capitals, or sentence case italic). Here is a Code Inserter Manager dataset:

Code Inserter Manager dataset

Code Inserter Manager dataset

Note that the sample is the 9th edition of a book (#7). I took the project-specific Code Inserter dataset for the 8th edition of this book and copied it for the 9th edition, and then made whatever changes were required, such as in head casing (#8) or options (#9) or code to be used (#10). Within a few minutes, I was set to begin coding.

The same is true with the Style Inserter, shown below. Often a client uses standard designs rather than creating a new design for each book. The client tells me the standard design to use for the project and I open the style dataset (#7) for that design. Again, I may need to make some adjustments (#8, #9, #10), but once I have created the basic dataset, I can reuse it repeatedly (#7). The Style Inserter Manager is very similar to the Code Inserter Manager.

Style Inserter Manager dataset

Style Inserter Manager dataset

Step 3B: Bookmarks

At the same time that I open the Inserter (Step 3A), I open the Bookmarks macro, shown below. (In cases where I do not have to code/style, this is the only portion of Step 3 that I do.) I always add two bookmarks — refs, which is required by the NSW macro, and editing paused here, which is my generic bookmark for when I pause in editing for some reason (arrows & #11) — to every manuscript. In addition, as I code/style, I insert a bookmark at each table (e.g., Table 01, Table 02, etc.) and figure (e.g., Fig 01, Fig 02, etc.), and at any other item, such as boxed text, that I may need to find again. I use the bookmarks as a way to track what tables and figures have been called out in text and edited. They also provide an easy way to get from my current location to where the table or figure is located, and back again. After I edit a figure, for example, Fig 01, I change its bookmark name to x Fig 01 edited. The x causes the bookmark to move to the end of the list and edited tells me that it has been edited. This makes it easy to catch a missed text callout as well as to get to and from a figure, table, or other bookmarked text.

Bookmarks

Bookmarks

Part II continues the preediting steps (Steps 4 and 5) and introduces the first editing step (Step 6), which is editing the references. Part III discusses the final step (Step 7), editing the text.

Richard Adin, An American Editor

_______________

Looking for a Deal?

You can buy EditTools in a package with PerfectIt and Editor’s Toolkit Plus 2014 at a special savings of $78 off the price if bought individually. To purchase the package at the special deal price, click Editor’s Toolkit Ultimate.

April 19, 2010

It’s the Little Things: Software

In the last post on this subject, I discussed two hardware matters that increase efficiency: multiple monitors and XKeys (and forgot to mention my Logitech programmable mouse). Today, I explore (albeit very cursorily) some of the software I use — in conjunction with the XKeys — to increase my efficiency and productivity. All of the software involves using Microsoft Word macros and center on being able to use XKeys for one-button access to them.

The software programs are from a variety of vendors, including myself (wordsnSync) and include the following

Each of the software applications provides its own productivity benefits, but all, except Macro Express, are based on Microsoft VBA. Not included in the list is Microsoft Word’s built-in VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) programming language. It is well worth every editor’s time to learn at least the basics of VBA, particularly how to do wildcard searches.

Macro Express

Macro Express (ME) is simultaneously a simple and a complex macro writing program. For most editors, nothing more than the simple aspects are required. In fact, I rarely use ME for long, complex macros, preferring to use VBA. But, ME does have a singular advantage over all of the other options: it is program agnostic. Consequently, I can write procedures that I can use in multiple programs or for a specific program. Here’s a simple sample: Think about how many times during a manuscript edit you need to delete a space and replace it with a hyphen. How do you currently do it? Press Delete, press hyphen? I press the + key on the number keypad at the right of my keyboard. It is a simple macro that I have assigned to that particular key and that I have made available for use in all my programs via Macro Express. It means that I can keep my hand on my mouse and simply extend my thumb to press the single key, saving perhaps a couple of seconds with each use.

On the other hand, ME lets me take advantage of some of Word’s features in combination. Back when I wrote this procedure in ME, I wasn’t up to speed with VBA, so ME made life easy. The procedure lets me insert a local bookmark where I am currently at and go immediately to another bookmark. When I begin prepping a file for editing, the first thing I do is insert special bookmarks where the references, figures, tables, and any other special features are. The ME routine lets me travel, for example, from the text table callout to the table and when I’m done editing the table, to return to the callout in the text.

ME lets me create custom “keyboards” for clients and/or projects. These custom keyboards contain macros for the client/project that make life easy. They also contain some universal macros, that is, macros that I know I will use in every project. And ME lets me assign the key combination of my choice to each macro.

When used in conjunction with XKeys, all I need to do is press a single button to run a macro.

Editorium Macros

Jack Lyon has written several macro programs designed to help speed certain editorial tasks. I have tried many of his macros and they all are excellent. You really can’t go wrong with any of them if they fit your needs. And when I started using macros to increase productivity, I used more of his programs than I do now. I still use on a regular basis List Fixer and Note Stripper. For the editing that I do, these are the most useful and valuable of The Editorium macros. Colleagues swear by — and rightfully so — his other programs, particularly FileCleaner and MegaReplacer. I suggest that if you haven’t tried The Editorium macros that you do so and find the ones that are most beneficial for you.

Perfect It

Perfect It is a relatively recent addition to my armamentarium of editing tools. Perfect It is a series of auto running macros that looks for common mistakes after the manuscript is edited. For example, the manuscripts I work on often are riddled with acronyms. One of the things I try to do is be sure that after an acronym has been defined, future spellouts are converted to the acronym form. That’s one of the things that Perfect It checks. It also looks for missing punctuation in lists, acronyms that are defined multiple ways, and numerous other of the little things that can get past even the most diligent editor. It is a valuable program and well worth its price.

EditTools

EditTools is my favorite (I am the author and seller of EditTools), probably because the macros were created to meet my specific editing needs. However, they would be a great boon to any editor.

Among the many macros in EditTools, my favorites are Toggle, Journals, and Search Count Replace.

My Toggle database includes more than 1200 entries and Toggle lets me make corrections with a single XKeys button press. For example, I have a medical dataset for Toggle so that when I come across and acronym that hasn’t been spelled out yet, such as CHF, I press a single key and CHF becomes congested heart failure (CHF). And some clients prefer that in-sentence lists be numbered in parens rather than lettered followed by a period [i.e., (1) rather than a.], and Toggle lets me make the change with a single button press. The key is what is in my dataset, and I am the sole master of that — I can add as I wish.

Journals is another major timesaver for me. It isn’t unusual for me to have a chapter with 300+ references. Journals is a macro that searches for journal (or book) names and if they are correct highlights them in green; if they are incorrect, corrects them and highlights them in cyan. Like Toggle, Journals uses a dataset that I create to meet my needs; my current dataset has nearly 5,000 journal names. The highlighting gives me visual confirmation that I do not need to worry about whether a journal name is correct or not.

Search Count Replace (SCR) solves another common editing problem. As I said earlier, many of the manuscripts I work on are riddled with acronyms. SCR lets me determine how many times an acronym is used in the manuscript and if it doesn’t meet the client’s minimum number requirement, I can tell it to replace subsequent instances of the acronym with something else; if the number does meet the client’s requirements, I can tell it to highlight the acronym throughout the document, which tells me later that the acronym has already been spelled out.

EditTools also makes custom dictionaries accessible and usable. Plus there are several other macros included, including one that corrects page ranges in references.

_________

All of these software programs and macros increase my speed, accuracy, and efficiency and better the final product that I deliver to my clients. Most have trial periods; I suggest you try them. With trial periods, you have nothing to lose — and everything to gain — by doing so.

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