Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Macros for Self-Editing

Macros for Self-Editing

When you edit, you have to look for various things. We all have our own foibles; I repeat certain words, for instance, and then there are the things we need to check like speech tags, passives, the overuse of 'as,' and the rest! Checking all these things takes a lot of concentration, and still we miss one! What you need is a macro, a lovely tool that does all of these things for you. It will change all the things you need to look at into pretty colors, so that you can't miss them.

Here's how to do it.

1. Make a list of the things you want to change. Type them on to a new document in Word. (Note: I'll post my list tomorrow to get you started.)

2. In Word, go to: Tools - Macro - Record New

3. Type a name for your macro. You can't use spaces here, so keep it all one word. I call mine 'Editcoloron.' Click OK

4. You get a little box. On the left is a small toolbar with two button. The square one is to stop recording. The one with two lines and a dot is to pause. When you move the cursor you will see a little cassette tape next to it. This is to tell you that you are recording a macro.

5. Go to Edit - Replace

6. Click on the 'More' button.

7. In the 'Find What' field, type the word you want to change.

8. Type the same word in the 'Replace With' field.

9. Highlight the word in the 'Replace With' field

10. Click on the Format Button and select Font

11. On the Font Tab, pick a color. Click OK

12. Under the 'Replace with,' should be your font option

13. Click 'Replace All.' You will see the word typed on your document turn
a pretty color! This is how you keep track of what you are doing.

14. Now repeat stages 7-13 with all the words on your list until you have done them all. If you like, you can change the font color and group your words, as a kind of aide memoir as to why they are highlighted. Take note of the 'find whole words only' options. You can click and unclick this as needed. For instance, I uncheck it when I want to highlight 'ing' words because the 'ing' is at the end of the word. Of course, this means that you will highlight some words you don't need, but you will have to live with that (unless anyone knows a workaround for it!). But if you choose to highlight 'as' and you don't check the "find whole words only" box, you will have an awful lot of superfluous words!

15. When you're finished, click on the 'Close' button.

16. Click on the square button in the little box to stop recording the
Macro. That's it, you have your macro! Here's what my macro does; it highlights 'ing' words and 'ly.' It highlights speech tags so I can check that I really need them. It checks uses of the word 'to be' to check for passives. It checks usage of the word 'that' to see if I can cut it. It checks the words I tend to overuse. It makes editing a whole lot easier!

To run the Macro:
In the document you want to change:
1. Select - Tools - Macro
2. Scroll to find your Macro.
3. Highlight your macro and select 'Run.'
4. I have put the editing macros on to my "new menu" button on the menu bar
(see yesterday's lesson). It means you can run it directly.

Ok, you have a document you have highlighted and checked, but it's still full of pretty colors. How to get rid of them? You write a macro!

1. Tools - Macro
2. Record New Macro
3. Name your macro. Mine is Editcoloroff
4. Edit - Replace - More.
5. In the first box select the font color you want to change back
black. Leave the box blank.
6. In the second box, select black or auto. Leave the box blank.
7. Hit "Replace All."
8. Repeat steps 5 - 7 until all your text is back to black.
9. Click on "close" and then the square button in the macro box.
That's it!

More on Macros

I found that if you store too many macros in your normal.dot template, it
leads to template bloat. So now, I'm saving them in the Start menu instead,
and they open with Word. Here's how to do it, if you want to.

1. Create your macro in a new document called "Macros" or something
that will help you remember.
2. When you've closed your macro, click "File-Save as…"
3. In the box, choose "template" from the "Save as type" box.
Navigate to C-Program Files-Microsoft Office-Office-Startup folder and save it there. Note: In Word 2000 and later, you'll find your startup folder in C/Documents and settings/Your name/Application Data/Microsoft/Word/Startup

The Application Data folder is hidden by default, so you have to go
Into the Folder Options Advanced tab and select Show All Files.

Remember to save both the template folder and the Startup folder in
Your backups!

My thanks to Lynne Connolly, who first posted this.
Lynne Connolly, GSOLFOT, Author of historical and paranormal romance
EPPIE 2005 winner with the Richard and Rose book, "Harley Street"

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