Sometimes it’s helpful to be able to find words in all caps in Word. Microsoft Word, that is. This helps you find all the acronyms so you can make sure you spelled them out or explained them properly.
Double-checking acronyms is especially important when writing government proposals, which require you to spell out acronyms on first usage. If you’ve never written a proposal, be glad, smile, and nod. Many acronyms make good index material, so this trick helps when you’re writing an index. Also, acronyms are frequently jargon, so making sure you explain them adequately is just part of good writing. Or, if you’re a fan of high quality typography, you might want to find them all so you can set them in small caps for improved aesthetics and readability.
I had an issue in a document with a hyperlink to an existing file. The file existed on a network drive, so the link worked fine… until someone with a different mapping for the I drive had to look at the document. Then the link didn’t resolve and the person got an error message. A confusing error message. It turns out it’s tricky to make a Word hyperlink UNC path.
Fixing it wasn’t as easy as it should have been. Read more
I’m making some minor updates to the stylebook that my workplace’s technical writers use, and I ran across a weird problem. Some, but not all of the numbered headings had the numbers mashed up against the text. It didn’t the last time I looked at the document, but, guess what? That was when we were still running Word 2007.
It took some investigating, but I traced the problem to the margins. For some reason, Word 2010 decided to apply custom margins of 0.38 inches on the left and 1.0 inches on the top, bottom, and right. Moving the margins back to something more conventional fixed that issue for me.
While I’m on the subject of Word 2010 weirdness, this week I had to deal with a document that had a number of misspelled words–except they weren’t misspelled. Word was insisting that, for example, the word “Change” was actually “hange,” and flagging it as misspelled and miscapitalized.
The one thing all of these non-errors had in common was that they weren’t the original beginning of the sentence, but now they were.
Word seemed to take issue with the way a previous editor had capitalized the word. When I deleted the entire word and retyped it, correctly spelled and capitalized, Word’s spelling and grammar check accepted it. Accepting those specific changes also made the problem go away.
I had an issue with a Word 2010 document whose table of contents entries were ridiculously off–entries being on page 45 of a 24-page document, for example.
The problem appeared to be due to track changes. The pages it was putting in the table of contents seemed to correspond with the page numbers of the marked-up document. Unfortunately, the only way I found to fix the issue was to accept all the changes in the document, but after I did that, the table of contents updated correctly.
For now at least, I edit a lot of security documents as part of my job. Today, I saw something I hadn’t seen before: Word 2010 was hiding all of the headers, footers, and whitespace in the document. That made navigating the document a whole lot faster and easier, but it also meant I couldn’t verify that the headers and footers were correct. I figured out how to hide and unhide whitespace, headers and footers in Microsoft Word.
The solution was simple but non-obvious, and works in all versions of Word that I know of. Read more
A system security document I was editing had blank table of contents entries in Word. This was in Word 2010, but my research indicated it can happen in Word 2007, 2003, and very possibly earlier versions as well.
Since the table of contents is often the first impression of the document, you want to get it right. Many readers will assume that if the table of contents has errors, the rest of the document will too. They may be wrong, but you may not get a chance to prove it.
The particular document I was looking at had two blank entries in the table of contents. When I clicked on the links, they led to the entries right below them in the TOC, making them completely extraneous. Read more
I recently edited a long document whose original author capitalized way too many words. I needed to fix it. To speed up the process, I needed a way to find capitalized words in Word–all of them, and automatically. Then I could make a decision whether the capitalization was appropriate.
Another time you would need to find capitalized words in Word would be when you’re creating an index. I’m sure there are others.