Saturday, April 14, 2012

Mastering MS Word




Now, don't get all excited. This is NOT a computer class. This is simply a list of tips for utilizing MS Word to assist you with your writing.

1. On the main screen in the upper right hand corner, there is a "find and replace" feature. This is helpful during revisions, because you can:
  •  Find all "was" words and replace them with "WAS" ... How does this help you? Once you've done this find/replace feature, then you can start back at page one and focus your revision efforts to employ stronger action verbs, and you will immediately see all of these words on your computer screen.
  • Also, if you *think* you might be using a certain phrase too much (like: her breath caught), click on the find feature and type in the phrase and select the option to highlight all. This tool will highlight the findings and give you a count. If your count is 234 in a 299 page novel, you've got a serious problem!! ha.
  • Another great advantage of the find/replace tool is if you realize you've not been consistent with something (like with spaces after a period), you can type the problem into the "find" box and type the solution into the "replace" box.
2. From the main screen, click on the "review" tab at the top of the screen. The features/tools on this tab are amazing for working with a critique partner or editor.
  • My critique partners and I used the comment bubbles to mark words, punctuation, and scenes that we want to address with our partners.
  • My agent and I used the track changes feature to work together during a final revision process. Huge potential with this part.
And, that's all I've got for today!
 
What is your favorite feature of MS Word that helps you with your writing process?
 
 

21 comments:

  1. I LOVE the find and replace feature in Word. I recently changed my manuscript from third person to first. I tried reading it through and changing the words as I went but the number of words I missed! So I ended up using the find/replace feature to find each individual instance, check and replace. Made the job a WHOLE lot easier.

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  2. My new favorite (I just found this last week) is the 'Index' feature. If you have a text document with a list of all your trouble words, you can choose 'create index' under the 'references' option in Word, and import the entire list at once. Then it highlights all your trouble words at the same time to see during a read-through.

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  3. That's a really good use of the find/replace feature. I probably don't use Word to the best of its abilities, but it suits me to learn as I go along. I use Access to track all my submissions - that's a really great programme to learn!

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  4. Nice tips! I like the find/replace feature too.

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  5. Hi! Stopping by for the A to Z challenge. I just learned about some of these features in Word last year, which is a little bit sad considering how long I've used Word! I love the editing/review tools. I'm not proficient with them but I received feedback from a critique partner that way and it was immensely helpful. I just needed to learn to the hard way to save all those edits in a separate file. DERP!

    Great blog!

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  6. I love those tips! I rarely write in the passive voice, but there are a few words I tend to overuse ("look," "really," and "just" tend to be favorites), so I am fond of the "find" feature as well!

    Will be back for more. :)

    best,
    MOV

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  7. Thanks for the tips! I've relied on find and replace more than I care to admit :-)

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  8. Great tips!! I think I was doing all of them except one or two. Thanks!! The Find/Replace function is SOOOOO valuable, I can't tell ya! I'd be lost without it--especially when I've had to change two novels from third person to first!

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  9. I find search and find really helpful, and yes, my ms assessor and editor used track changes (for the novel) - an excellent tool for comments/critiques!

    Enjoying reading your challenge!!

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  10. I'm a big fan of the comment feature. But you know that. :)

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  11. I love the find and search feature. I only learned about it a few months ago and it has been a time saver.

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  12. Hi...I'm hopping over from the A to Z challenge...lovely blog...good luck with the challenge!

    Donna L Martin
    www.donasdays.blogspot.com

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  13. I'm definitely a fan of "Find" because I have a little list of habit words that need to be eliminated as part of my final editing process.

    Thanks for dropping by my blog on your A to Z tour. It's hard to believe we're already half done.

    Patricia Stoltey

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  14. Thats a great tip, I just need to remember to use it. Not easy for someone who sent his last piece of work off without a title!

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  15. i taught a word class years ago, and excel and windows =)

    hasnt changed all that much and i'm glad. i hate too much change! love ms word =)

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  16. Good tip. I've never used find and replace to highlight.

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  17. Love the Find and Replace idea! I use track changes and comments religiously (and can't understand those who don't!). Found you thru AtoZ Challenge. So glad. :)

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