An American Editor

July 4, 2022

Keyboard movement shortcuts for writers and editors, Part 3 of 3

Filed under: Editorial Matters — An American Editor @ 12:51 pm
Tags: , ,

Tips for customizing your keyboard

By Geoffrey Hart

In my previous article about automatic text (https://americaneditor.wordpress.com/?s=Geoff+Hart+%2B+automatic+), I discussed how paying attention to what we type most often can help us create typing shortcuts that make our writing and editing work go much faster. That’s all very well, but if you pay attention while you’re editing a manuscript (including revising your own manuscripts), you’ll notice that moving around a manuscript probably consumes more time than repeatedly retyping certain words or phrases. If you’re reaching for the mouse each time you want to move the cursor to a new position or holding down an arrow key, you’re wasting significant amounts of time.

In my article “Save time by mastering the basics: efficient movement within a file,” I showed how mastering only three keyboard shortcuts saved me up to 20 minutes per day compared with using the mouse or just holding down the arrow keys to move the cursor. In this article, I’ll go much further and show you all the keyboard shortcuts I currently use to move around a document.

Note: Although I’ve emphasized the time savings permitted by these shortcuts, I also want to remind you of the “repetitive” part of “repetitive stress injury.” As we grow older, our bodies take longer to recover from hours of clicking the mouse and pressing the keyboard’s movement keys. Anything we can do to limit that repetition reduces the stress on our bodies and improves our recovery times.

In Effective Onscreen Editing and Write Faster With Your Word Processor, I provide a high-level overview of how these customizations work, supported by examples. However, given space constraints, I provided only a few examples. To remedy that lack, I’ve written this article to provide a comprehensive list of the movement shortcuts I use most frequently every time I sit down to write or revise a manuscript.

Because most writers and editors use Microsoft Word, I’ll focus on how Word implements these movement shortcuts. Most other word processors should offer similar features, although you’ll have to do a bit of research to learn how.

Customizing the keyboard

To use the movement shortcuts in this article, you’ll first need to learn how customize your keyboard shortcuts in Word:

· Mac: Open the “Tools” menu and select “Customize keyboard.”

· Windows: Open the “File” menu, select “Options,” select the “Customize Ribbon” tab, and click the “Customize keyboard” button.

For built-in Word commands, select the category of command at the left of the dialog box (e.g., “Home tab” for commands that appear in the Ribbon’s Home tab), and the specific command at the right side of the dialog box. You can scroll down through the list of commands, or click inside the list and start typing the first letters of a command’s name to move directly to that command. At the bottom of the dialog box, choose which template or document should store the shortcut. If you choose “Normal.dotm,” the shortcut will be available in any document on your computer. However, you could also create customized shortcuts for specific purposes, such as if you need to move to HTML < > tags so you can edit them, and store those shortcuts in a separate template or document. Another interesting example: If you’re writing or editing a novel and need to move to each instance of a character’s name to ensure that your physical description of the character is correct, you could use the instructions later in this article to create a search shortcut (e.g., press the F1 key) that moves to the next instance of the character’s name.

To assign a keyboard shortcut, click to position the cursor in the “Press new keyboard shortcut” field and type the new shortcut. If that shortcut has already been assigned to a command, Word will display the command that is currently associated with that shortcut. If you don’t want to replace that command, press the Backspace key to delete the keyboard shortcut and try again with a new shortcut. If you don’t use that particular command and want to use the shortcut for your own purposes, click the “Assign” button.

Note: Keyboard shortcuts are stored in the Normal.dotm template unless you specify another destination, so if you’ve done a lot of work customizing Word, be sure to include that template in your backups. To find the template’s location:

· Mac: Open the “Word” menu, select “Preferences,” then select the “File Locations” tab.

· Windows: Open the “File” menu, select “Options,” select the “Advanced” tab, and then scroll down towards the bottom of the dialog until you see the “File Locations” button. Click the button.

If you select the category “User templates,” the path to your templates appears at the right side of the dialog box. You won’t be able to see the whole path, so click the “Modify” button. Word then displays a standard “File Open” dialog box that you can navigate to learn the whole path to your templates. Because this folder is buried annoyingly deep in your computer’s file system, move to that folder only once, but create a shortcut (Windows) or alias (Mac) that points to this directory and move that alias to your desktop or Documents folder. You can now reach your custom templates in a single step.

Most of the keyboard shortcuts I’ve proposed in this article will work equally well in Macintosh and Windows versions of Word, although some have already been assigned to a specific commands that I never use; if you use them, you’ll need to choose a different shortcut. Choosing shortcuts is easier for Mac users because the Mac operating system doesn’t use the Control key for most functions, unlike in Windows. Thus, the Control key on a Mac is available for all shortcuts, whereas you may not want to override certain Windows keyboard shortcuts based on the Control key (e.g., Control+C to copy text).

Note: Mac keyboards have an “Option” key that occupies the same position as the “Alt” key in a Windows keyboard. I use “Alt/Option” to indicate that your shortcut should use whichever of these two keys appears on your keyboard.

If you’ve set Word to warn you if the Normal.dotm template changes, you’ll receive this warning once you finish customizing your keyboard shortcuts and quit Word for the day. Always confirm that you want to save the changes; otherwise, you’ll have to recreate all the customizations. To ensure that I don’t get busy with other things and forget, I’ll often quit Word as soon as I finish a batch of customizations, and save those changes when Word asks me to confirm that I really want to update the template.

How to use this article

This article contains a great many shortcuts, and it would be unwise (and probably discouraging) to try memorizing them all in a single go. You’ll find it much more effective to pick a few of the shortcuts that seem likely to save you the most time, and practice them until they become part of your muscle memory and you can use them without thinking. In the time you save once you’ve learned these shortcuts, pick a few new shortcuts and practice them too. Soon, you’ll find that you’re using most of these commands (possibly with a quick glance back at this article for a refresher) without much thought and zipping around documents like a honeybee who drank too much espresso.

Note: The shortcuts I’ve chosen make perfect sense to me. They may be meaningless and confusing to you. Choose shortcuts that make sense to you, since you’re the one who will be using them.

I recommend that you record your keystroke definitions in a simple table created in Word. This way, you can periodically consult the table to see which ones you’ve forgotten to use or should be using more often. It also lets you easily implement your shortcuts on another computer, if necessary. Although you could copy the Normal.dotm template to your new computer, I’ve found that moving a template from Mac Word to Windows Word sometimes creates problems, such as a loss of certain customizations. Your mileage may vary, but I’ve found fewer problems when I recreated customizations under both operating systems.

The movement shortcuts I’ll describe in this article can be divided into three categories:

· Based on built-in Microsoft Word commands that don’t, “out of the box,” have keyboard shortcuts associated with them.

· Based on macros that record a series of movements so you can perform those movements again with a single keystroke.

· Created using the Search (Find) function to move to a specific pattern of text, and implemented using a recorded macro.

Built-in commands

As noted in the previous section, you’ll use the Customize Keyboard dialog box to find the commands you need. Once you’ve found them, try using the following shortcuts:

MovementBuilt-in commandSuggested keyboard shortcutExplanation
Start of current sentenceSentLeftControl+Alt/Option+HomeSentLeft should also move to the start of a sentence in right-to-left languages.
End of current sentenceSentRightControl+Alt/Option+EndSentRight should also move to the end of a sentence in right-to-left languages.
Next tracked changeToolsRevisionMarksNextControl+Alt/Option+[down arrow] 
Previous tracked changeToolsRevisionMarksPrevControl+Alt/Option+[up arrow] 

Shortcuts based on macros

Once again, you’ll use the “Customize Keyboard” dialog box to find the commands you need. However, for this category of commands, you’ll first need to create a macro — which isn’t nearly as intimidating as it seems. Once you’ve recorded the macro and confirmed that it works by running it a couple times, open the “Customize Keyboard” dialog box and scroll through the “Category” list until you reach “Macros.” You can then select your new macro from the list at the right side of the dialog box and assign a keyboard shortcut.

To record a macro:

· Select the Ribbon’s “View” tab, open the menu beside the “Macros” icon, and select “Record macro.”

· Name the macro and specify which file it should be stored in (usually Normal.dotm so it will be available in all files on your computer).

· Perform the series of actions you want to record. Don’t feel pressured: Word doesn’t monitor how long it takes for you to finish the actions and will wait patiently until you’re done.

· Open the menu beside the “Macros” icon and click “Stop Recording.”

If you’re uncomfortable with recording macros, you can instead create them by copying the macro instructions someone else has created. I’ve provided the macro instructions I use later in this article. To copy the instructions I’ve provided:

· Open the menu beside the “Macros” icon.

· Select “View Macros.”

· Select any macro (it doesn’t matter which) and click the “Edit” button.

· You’ll now see Word’s macro editor, which looks intimidating. Don’t be intimidated: you can ignore all of the interface except the window at the right side of the screen that shows the macro instructions.

· Click to position the cursor before the word “Sub” that precedes the macro name you selected, and then press Enter to create a new blank line. Alternatively, click to position the cursor after the words “End Sub” and then press enter to create a new blank line.

· Copy the macro instructions from this article.

· Paste them into the blank line you created in the macro editor.

· Press Control+S (Windows) or Command+S (Mac) to save your changes.

· Press Command+Q (Mac) or Alt+F4 (Windows) to close the macro editor. Don’t worry: you won’t be closing Word itself!

Movement to recordSuggested keyboard shortcutExplanation or macro instructions
5 words/positions to the rightControl+5Sub MoveFiveWordsRight() Selection.MoveRight Unit:=wdWord, Count:=5 End Sub
5 words/positions to the leftControl+Alt/Option+5Sub MoveFiveWordsLeft() Selection.MoveLeft Unit:=wdWord, Count:=5 End Sub

I chose five because that seems to be the most common large within-sentence move I make in the manuscripts I edit. If five doesn’t fit the way you work, it’s easy to change that: Simply edit the macro, and replace the “5” with whatever number of spaces you want to use. Here and for subsequent macros, you can also copy the macro instructions (starting with the “Sub” line that contains its name and ending with the “End Sub” line and paste the instructions into the macro editor. Change the name and the details. For example, to move only four words left, change the name to MoveFourWordsLeft() and change the “count” to 4.

Combine the search function with macros

For this category of movement shortcut, you’ll use the same method described in the previous section to record a macro. This time, however, the macro uses the Search (Find) function to move to the next or previous instance of the thing you’re searching for. To record macros in this category:

· Select the Ribbon’s “View” tab, open the menu beside the “Macros” icon, and select “Record macro.”

· Name the macro and specify which file it should be stored in (usually Normal.dotm so it will be available in all files on your computer).

· Start the action you’ll record by opening the search dialog box.

· Type the search term you’re looking for, and apply any additional characteristics that are relevant (e.g., a specific font, boldface format). The search string can include any characteristics specified under the “Format” menu and any characters listed under the “Special” menu at the bottom of the dialog box.

· Click the “Find” button, then close the dialog box.

· Select the Ribbon’s “View” tab, open the menu beside the “Macros” icon, and select “Stop Recording.”

The macro you’ve just recorded will find what you’re looking for and politely close the dialog box to get it out of your way. In the following table, I’ve provided shortcuts for most searches to move to the previous instance and the next instance of the search string. However, if (like me) you find yourself running out of memory space to remember all these shortcuts, it’s not necessary to do this. You could instead use your macro to move to the next or previous instance of the search term. You can then press the Control+PageDown (Windows) or Command+PageDown (Mac) shortcut once to move to the next instance, then press Control+PageUp (Windows) or Command+PageUp (Mac) shortcut twice to move to the previous instance. These shortcuts are worth learning because you can also use them in searches that are not recorded as macros.

Note: These macros can be revised or copied and revised easily to use new search patterns. For example, if you want to find only whole words, change the “MatchWholeWord” text to “True” (without the quotes). For movements such as “next comma,” you could also create a macro for “previous comma” simply by changing the “Forward” text to “False” (without the quotes).

Movement to recordSuggested keyboard shortcutExplanation or macro instructions
Next periodControl+[period key]Sub MoveToPeriod()     Selection.Find.ClearFormatting     With Selection.Find         .Text = “.”         .Replacement.Text = “”         .Forward = True         .Wrap = wdFindAsk         .Format = False         .MatchCase = False         .MatchWholeWord = False         .MatchWildcards = False         .MatchSoundsLike = False         .MatchAllWordForms = False         .MatchByte = False         .MatchFuzzy = False     End With     Selection.Find.Execute End Sub
Next commaControl+[comma key]Sub MoveToComma()     Selection.Find.ClearFormatting     With Selection.Find         .Text = “,”         .Replacement.Text = “”         .Forward = True         .Wrap = wdFindContinue         .Format = False         .MatchCase = False         .MatchWholeWord = False         .MatchWildcards = False         .MatchSoundsLike = False         .MatchAllWordForms = False         .MatchByte = False         .MatchFuzzy = False     End With     Selection.Find.Execute End Sub
Next semicolonControl+[semicolon key]Sub MoveToSemicolon()     Selection.Find.ClearFormatting     With Selection.Find         .Text = “;”         .Replacement.Text = “”         .Forward = True         .Wrap = wdFindContinue         .Format = False         .MatchCase = False         .MatchWholeWord = False         .MatchWildcards = False         .MatchSoundsLike = False         .MatchAllWordForms = False         .MatchByte = False         .MatchFuzzy = False     End With     Selection.Find.Execute End Sub
Next colonControl+Shift+[semicolon key]Sub MoveToColon()     Selection.Find.ClearFormatting     With Selection.Find         .Text = “:”         .Replacement.Text = “”         .Forward = True         .Wrap = wdFindContinue         .Format = False         .MatchCase = False         .MatchWholeWord = False         .MatchWildcards = False         .MatchSoundsLike = False         .MatchAllWordForms = False         .MatchByte = False         .MatchFuzzy = False     End With     Selection.Find.Execute End Sub
Next punctuation (any)Control+Alt/Option+[right arrow]If you don’t want to record separate shortcuts for each punctuation symbol, you can use this shortcut instead.   Sub MoveRightToPunctuation() Selection.Find.ClearFormatting     With Selection.Find         .Text = “[.,;:\?\!]”         .Replacement.Text = “”         .Forward = True         .Wrap = wdFindContinue         .Format = False         .MatchCase = False         .MatchWholeWord = False         .MatchWildcards = True         .MatchSoundsLike = False         .MatchAllWordForms = False         .MatchByte = False         .MatchFuzzy = False     End With     Selection.Find.Execute End Sub
Previous punctuation (any)Control+Alt/Option+[left arrow]If you don’t want to record separate shortcuts for each punctuation symbol, you can use this shortcut instead.   Sub MoveLeftToPunctuation() Selection.Find.ClearFormatting     With Selection.Find         .Text = “[.,;:\?\!]”         .Replacement.Text = “”         .Forward = False         .Wrap = wdFindAsk         .Format = False         .MatchCase = False         .MatchWholeWord = False         .MatchWildcards = True         .MatchSoundsLike = False         .MatchAllWordForms = False         .MatchByte = False         .MatchFuzzy = False     End With     Selection.Find.Execute End Sub
Next numberControl+3Mnemonic: The number sign (#) appears above the 3 on your keyboard.   Sub MoveToNumber() Selection.Find.ClearFormatting     With Selection.Find         .Text = “^#”         .Replacement.Text = “”         .Forward = True         .Wrap = wdFindContinue         .Format = False         .MatchCase = False         .MatchWholeWord = False         .MatchWildcards = False         .MatchSoundsLike = False         .MatchAllWordForms = False         .MatchByte = False         .MatchFuzzy = False     End With     Selection.Find.Execute End Sub
Previous numberControl+Alt/Option+3Sub MoveToPreviousNumber() Selection.Find.ClearFormatting     With Selection.Find         .Text = “^#”         .Replacement.Text = “”         .Forward = False         .Wrap = wdFindContinue         .Format = False         .MatchCase = False         .MatchWholeWord = False         .MatchWildcards = False         .MatchSoundsLike = False         .MatchAllWordForms = False         .MatchByte = False         .MatchFuzzy = False     End With     Selection.Find.Execute End Sub
Next letterControl+4Mnemonic: Programmers use the $ to represent a letter rather than a number, and the $ appears above the 4 on your keyboard. Alternatively: The 4 appears beside the 3 that I used to search for numbers, so you can search for letters and numbers using adjacent keys.   Sub MoveToNextLetter()     Selection.Find.ClearFormatting     With Selection.Find         .Text = “^$”         .Replacement.Text = “”         .Forward = True         .Wrap = wdFindContinue         .Format = False         .MatchCase = False         .MatchWholeWord = False         .MatchWildcards = False         .MatchSoundsLike = False         .MatchAllWordForms = False     End With     Selection.Find.Execute End Sub
Previous letterControl+Alt/Option+4Mnemonic: Programmers use the $ to represent a letter rather than a number, and the $ appears above the 4 on your keyboard. Alternatively: The 4 appears beside the 3 that I used to search for numbers, so you can search for letters and numbers using adjacent keys.   Sub MoveToPreviousLetter()     Selection.Find.ClearFormatting     With Selection.Find         .Text = “^$”         .Replacement.Text = “”         .Forward = False         .Wrap = wdFindAsk         .Format = False         .MatchCase = False         .MatchWholeWord = False         .MatchWildcards = False         .MatchSoundsLike = False         .MatchAllWordForms = False     End With     Selection.Find.Execute End Sub
Next left bracketControl+9Mnemonic: The left bracket appears above the 9 on your keyboard.   Sub MoveToLeftBracket() Selection.Find.ClearFormatting     With Selection.Find         .Text = “(”         .Replacement.Text = “”         .Forward = True         .Wrap = wdFindContinue         .Format = False         .MatchCase = False         .MatchWholeWord = False         .MatchWildcards = False         .MatchSoundsLike = False         .MatchAllWordForms = False         .MatchByte = False         .MatchFuzzy = False     End With     Selection.Find.Execute End Sub
Previous left bracketControl+Alt/Option+9Mnemonic: The left bracket appears above the 9 on your keyboard.   Sub MoveToPreviousLeftBracket() Selection.Find.ClearFormatting     With Selection.Find         .Text = “(”         .Replacement.Text = “”         .Forward = False         .Wrap = wdFindContinue         .Format = False         .MatchCase = False         .MatchWholeWord = False         .MatchWildcards = False         .MatchSoundsLike = False         .MatchAllWordForms = False         .MatchByte = False         .MatchFuzzy = False     End With     Selection.Find.Execute End Sub
Next right bracketControl+0Mnemonic: The right bracket appears above the 0 on your keyboard.   Sub MoveToRightBracket() Selection.Find.ClearFormatting     With Selection.Find         .Text = “)”         .Replacement.Text = “”         .Forward = True         .Wrap = wdFindContinue         .Format = False         .MatchCase = False         .MatchWholeWord = False         .MatchWildcards = False         .MatchSoundsLike = False         .MatchAllWordForms = False         .MatchByte = False         .MatchFuzzy = False     End With     Selection.Find.Execute End Sub
Previous right bracketControl+Alt/Option+0Mnemonic: The right bracket appears above the 9 on your keyboard.   Sub MoveToPreviousRightBracket() Selection.Find.ClearFormatting     With Selection.Find         .Text = “)”         .Replacement.Text = “”         .Forward = False         .Wrap = wdFindContinue         .Format = False         .MatchCase = False         .MatchWholeWord = False         .MatchWildcards = False         .MatchSoundsLike = False         .MatchAllWordForms = False         .MatchByte = False         .MatchFuzzy = False     End With     Selection.Find.Execute End Sub
Next left square bracketControl+[Sub MoveToNextLeftSquareBracket()     Selection.Find.ClearFormatting     With Selection.Find         .Text = “[”         .Replacement.Text = “”         .Forward = True         .Wrap = wdFindContinue         .Format = False         .MatchCase = False         .MatchWholeWord = False         .MatchWildcards = False         .MatchSoundsLike = False         .MatchAllWordForms = False     End With     Selection.Find.Execute End Sub
Next right square bracketControl+]Sub MoveToNextRightSquareBracket()     Selection.Find.ClearFormatting     With Selection.Find         .Text = “]”         .Replacement.Text = “”         .Forward = True         .Wrap = wdFindContinue         .Format = False         .MatchCase = False         .MatchWholeWord = False         .MatchWildcards = False         .MatchSoundsLike = False         .MatchAllWordForms = False     End With     Selection.Find.Execute End Sub
Next bookmarkControl+Shift+BI use [ ] as a bookmark because it’s short and won’t appear in most manuscripts. If you prefer, choose your own bookmark character!   Sub FindNextBookmark() Selection.Find.ClearFormatting     With Selection.Find         .Text = “[]”         .Replacement.Text = “”         .Forward = True         .Wrap = wdFindContinue         .Format = False         .MatchCase = False         .MatchWholeWord = False         .MatchWildcards = False         .MatchSoundsLike = False         .MatchAllWordForms = False     End With     Selection.Find.Execute End Sub
Previous bookmarkControl+Alt+Option+ Shift+BI use [ ] as a bookmark because it’s short and won’t appear in most manuscripts. If you prefer, choose your own bookmark character!   Sub FindPrevBookmark() Selection.Find.ClearFormatting     With Selection.Find         .Text = “[]”         .Replacement.Text = “”         .Forward = False         .Wrap = wdFindContinue         .Format = False         .MatchCase = False         .MatchWholeWord = False         .MatchWildcards = False         .MatchSoundsLike = False         .MatchAllWordForms = False     End With     Selection.Find.Execute End Sub
Next instance of selected textControl+Alt/Option+FSelect the text you want to find before you run the macro. This macro then copies it to the clipboard and pastes it into the search dialog box.   Sub FindSelectedText()     Selection.Copy ‘ Define selection as variable     Dim MyFoundText$     MyFoundText$ = Selection     Selection.Find.ClearFormatting     With Selection.Find        .Text = MyFoundText$         .Replacement.Text = “”         .Forward = True         .Wrap = wdFindAsk         .Format = False         .MatchCase = False         .MatchWholeWord = False         .MatchWildcards = False         .MatchSoundsLike = False         .MatchAllWordForms = False     End With     Selection.Find.Execute End Sub
Previous instance of selected textControl+Alt/Option+Shift+FSelect the text you want to find before you run the macro. This macro then copies it to the clipboard and pastes it into the search dialog box.   Sub FindSelectedTextPrevious() Selection.Copy ‘ Define selection as variable     Dim MyFoundText$     MyFoundText$ = Selection     Selection.Find.ClearFormatting     With Selection.Find        .Text = MyFoundText$         .Replacement.Text = “”         .Forward = False         .Wrap = wdFindAsk         .Format = False         .MatchCase = False         .MatchWholeWord = False         .MatchWildcards = False         .MatchSoundsLike = False         .MatchAllWordForms = False     End With     Selection.Find.Execute End Sub
Next yearControl+YI use this for checking literature citations using the author/date system. Note that you can edit this macro to find any repeating pattern of characters (e.g., change ^# to ^$ to find a pattern with four consecutive letters).   Sub FindYear() Selection.Find.ClearFormatting     With Selection.Find         .Text = “^#^#^#^#”         .Replacement.Text = “”         .Forward = True         .Wrap = wdFindContinue         .Format = False         .MatchCase = False         .MatchWholeWord = False         .MatchWildcards = False         .MatchSoundsLike = False         .MatchAllWordForms = False     End With     Selection.Find.Execute End Sub

March 26, 2018

Romanized Arabic in English Texts — Part 5: Inserting Symbols and Creating Shortcuts

 Ælfwine Mischler

As an editor and indexer, I often deal with texts that use diacritics to transcribe Arabic. In parts 1 through 4 of this series (Romanized Arabic in English Texts, Part 1 — Sources of Variations; Romanized Arabic in English Texts, Part 2 — Other Challenges for EditorsRomanized Arabic in English Texts, Part  3 — Spelling the Definite ArticleRomanized Arabic in English Texts, Part 4 — Omitting, Capitalizing, and Alphabetizing the Definite Article), I often mention the use of special characters, but until now, I have not explained how to put them in your Word document. In this part, I discuss how to insert symbols and create keyboard shortcuts. In part 6, I discuss how to use AutoCorrect and FRedit for special characters.

Insert Symbol

If you only need to insert a few special characters in a Word document, you can use this method.

  1. Go to the Insert tab and click on Symbol. You will bring up a box with up to 20 of the most recently inserted symbols.
  2. If what you want is not there, click on More Symbols at the bottom.
  3. Another window will pop up. (You can click and drag on the little triangle at the bottom to enlarge it if you want.) Choose the font and subset that you want.

  1. Find and click on the character you want in the table.
  2. Click on Insert, then Close. The next time you open the Symbols menu, that character will appear in the box that opens first, so you don’t have to search for it again.

Note that not all characters are available in all fonts, but the most common ones should be available in popular fonts. Your publisher might require you to use a particular font or even provide one for you to download and use. For Arabic, in Times New Roman, I find the letters with macrons under Latin Extended A; the letters with dots are under Latin Extended Additional.

Under the table of letters, on the right, you will see the character code (circled in red in the screen shot). I have selected the Unicode (hex) code from the drop-down list to the right of that, since most publishers require Unicode characters. If your publisher has provided you with a list of Unicode characters to use, check that the code for the character you have selected from the table matches the one from your publisher, since some characters look similar but are different.

The method above is fine if you only have to use it a few times, but if you have to do this many times, you will want another method. You can create keyboard shortcuts (discussed below) if you only have a few different characters to insert, but if you have to use many different characters in a text (as I do with Arabic), use AutoCorrect or the FRedit macro (discussed in part 6).

Create Keyboard Shortcuts

  1. Go to the Insert tab and the Symbols menu.
  2. Find and select the character you want, but instead of clicking on Insert, click on Shortcut Key at the bottom left. A new window pops up.

  1. Type in the shortcut you want — usually Alt + something or Alt + Shift + something. Word will warn you if the key combination is already assigned to something else, in which case you can override (not a good idea if it’s a function) or choose another key combination.
  2. Click on Assign.

Note that the lowercase and uppercase versions of the same character have different character codes, so if you need both versions, you will have to repeat these steps and use a different key combination for each.

I have created shortcuts for characters that I use frequently: Alt + A for Æ [00C6] (the first letter in my name) and Alt + V for P (a check mark in Wingdings 2).

As I said, this method is OK if you need only a few special characters, but if you need many, such as I do for transcribing Arabic, you will run out of possible key combinations. Instead, use AutoCorrect or the FRedit macro, which I discuss in part 6.

Ælfwine Mischler is an American copyeditor and indexer in Cairo, Egypt, who has been the head copyeditor at a large Islamic website and a senior editor for an EFL textbook publisher. She often edits and indexes books on Islamic studies, Middle East studies, and Egyptology.

February 7, 2018

Lyonizing Word: Helping Authors Write

Jack Lyon

In my previous post, Lyonizing Word: Workflow for Writing, I suggested some tools that would help authors write without the problems that are almost inevitable when working in Microsoft Word. These include inconsistent and meaningless formatting, document corruption, fouled-up footnotes, incorrect AutoCorrect “corrections,” and so on. Unfortunately, most authors already use Word and aren’t likely to change. How can we, as editors, help them create Word documents that are well-structured and clean, thus reducing our own workload?

Word itself includes a feature that helps make this possible, although I doubt that many editors or authors are even aware of it: Restrict Editing. You’ll find this feature on Word’s Ribbon interface under the Review tab.

What does it do? It prevents authors from using arbitrary, meaningless formatting, applying various fonts in various sizes higgledy-piggledy all over the place as authors are wont to do. The only formatting they can do is with styles — and then only with the styles that you allow. You will like this. And your designer will like this. And your typesetter will like this.

At first, your authors will not like this. But once they understand how it works, they should find great relief in not having to design as well as write. All they have to do — all they can do — is apply a heading style to headings, a block quotation style to block quotations, and so on. They can get on with actually writing, rather than worrying about whether this heading should be bold and that one italic, whether poetry should use Garamond or Palatino. As technical writer Brendan Rowland notes in comment 153 on the blog Charlie’s Diary, “When you’ve worked with locked/protected docs in Word, you’ll never want to work any other way. Life becomes so much easier. No more user-created spaghetti formatting — this becomes a distant memory.”

Restricting Editing

Here’s how to set up a document that restricts editing in Microsoft Word:

  1. In Word, create a new document.
  2. Click the Review tab.
  3. Click the Restrict Editing icon (far right).
  4. Put a check in the box labeled “Limit formatting to a selection of styles.”
  5. Just below that, click Settings.
  6. Put a check in the new box labeled “Limit formatting to a selection of styles.”
  7. Put a check in the box next to each style that you want your authors to be able to use. For recommendations on what those styles might be, see my article “But What Styles?
  8. Under the Formatting heading, make sure the first box is unchecked and the last two are.
  9. Click the OK button.
  10. Now, in the task pane on the right, click the button labeled “Yes, Start Enforcing Protection.”
  11. To enforce protection, enter a password, confirm it, and click OK. The password doesn’t need to be long and complex; it just needs to be something your authors won’t guess and that you will remember. In fact, something as simple as your initials will do. After you’ve entered a password, your authors can’t turn off protection, so it really is protection.
  12. Save the document.
  13. Give the document to your authors, instructing them to write their masterpieces in that document and no other.

Creating Character Styles

There is a problem with this system, however, and it’s a serious one. When you restrict formatting to a selection of styles, Word no longer allows you to use directly applied formatting like italic and bold — styles only, so no CTRL + I for you! The only way around this is to use character styles (not paragraph styles) that are set to use italic, bold, or whatever you need. And here, in my opinion, is what you need:

• Italic.

• Superscript.

• Subscript.

• Strikethrough.

What, no bold? Not unless you’re working with an author whose field requires bold — some branches of math or medicine, perhaps. But for most authors, access to bold means they’ll try to use it to format headings when they should be using a heading style, such as Heading 2 or Heading 3.

What, no underline? Again, not unless you’re working with an author whose field requires it. Otherwise, some authors will use underlining when they should be using italic — a holdover from the days of the typewriter.

Now you need to add the character styles to your document. Here’s how:

  1. For the time being, stop enforcing protection on the document. Otherwise, you won’t be able to create a new style. You remember your password, right?
  2. Click the little arrow at the bottom right of Home > Styles to open the Styles task pane on the right.
  3. At the bottom of the task pane, click the little New Style icon on the bottom left.
  4. Give your style a name, such as Italic.
  5. In the box labeled “Style type,” click the dropdown arrow and select Character. This is key to making this work.
  6. Under Formatting, click the Italic button.
  7. Click the OK button.
  8. Repeat the process for any other character styles your authors will need.
  9. Again enforce protection for the document.

A side benefit to using character styles is that they can be imported into InDesign, where they can be set to use whatever formatting is needed — something that isn’t possible with directly applied formatting like italic or bold.

Creating Keyboard Shortcuts

So now the character styles are available, but only from the Styles task pane. Not very convenient; your authors are going to want their CTRL + I back. Here’s how to provide it:

  1. Under the File tab, click Options > Customize Ribbon.
  2. Click the button labeled “Keyboard shortcuts: Customize” on the bottom left.
  3. In the Categories box on the left, scroll to the bottom and select Styles.
  4. In the Styles box on the right, select the style you created earlier (such as Italic).
  5. Put your cursor in the box labeled “Press new shortcut key” and, well, press a new shortcut key. Let’s use CTRL + I for our italic character style.
  6. Click the dropdown arrow in the box labeled “Save changes in:” and select your document. Now your keyboard shortcut will be saved in the document rather than in your Normal template. Don’t skip this step!
  7. Click the Assign button on the lower left.
  8. Click the Close button on the lower right.
  9. Click the OK button.
  10. Save your document.
  11. Give the document to your authors.

Now when your authors select some text and press CTRL + I, the Italic character style will be applied, so they can work without using the mouse to select the Italic style in the Styles task pane. Easy, intuitive, perfect. Rinse and repeat, with the appropriate keyboard shortcuts, for your other character styles.

At this point, you may be wondering why I didn’t just create this document for you. Stay tuned; next time I will, with a few little extras to make your life easier. But if you ever need to do all of this yourself, now you know how.

Jack Lyon (editor@editorium.com) owns and operates the Editorium, which provides macros and information to help editors and publishers do mundane tasks quickly and efficiently. He is the author of Microsoft Word for Publishing Professionals, Wildcard Cookbook for Microsoft Word, and of Macro Cookbook for Microsoft Word. Both books will help you learn more about macros and how to use them.

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: