Monday, June 3, 2013

Using the Replace function for common manuscript formatting fixes

Formatting a manuscript for submission? Here's some quick tips for solving common manuscript mistakes, using the replace function:

Need to remove an extra space between sentences? Ctrl+H is the replace function. Type two spaces in the "find" bar and one space in the "replace with" bar.

Need to change from web formatting (single-spaced with a space between paragraphs) to standard submission format (double-spaced with indents and no extra spaces between paragraphs)?
  • To get rid of extra paragraph breaks, ctrl+H, and fill in ^p^p in the "find" bar. Put ^p in the "replace" bar. (^p stands for "paragraph" as you cannot hit "enter" in this menu function). You can now highlight the entire section, go to format->paragraph, and double space.
  • To get rid of tabs, ^t goes in the "find" bar, and nothing goes in the "replace" bar. It will delete all manual tabs. You can now highlight the work, got to format->paragraph, and select "first line" under "indentation". (^t stands for "tab" as the tab button has a different function in this menu)
  • Check your page margins to be sure they're set to 1 inch.
  • Check your font to be sure it's Courier or New Times Roman.
Sometimes, when copyediting, I've encountered documents that have manual spaces at the end of each line, single-spaced, with double spaces between paragraphs. This usually happens because either the page settings are not working correctly, or the document was initially written in a webpage, or a project requires unusual margin formats.

If you need to get rid of extra spacing and the project has double spacing between paragraphs, one trick I've found that works efficiently is to Ctrl+H, put ^p in the "find" bar, and put a single space in the "replace with" bar. Then Ctrl+H again, put two spaces in the "find" bar, and ^p in the replace bar. Now you will no spaces within paragraphs, and a single space for each new paragraph. You then can select and change to double-spacing, and add automatic indentation.

Want to change -- into an em dash, when moving from a program that does not create em dashes to Word? Type an em dash into Word (hyphen hyphen space should automatically create one), highlight it, copy (Ctrl+C), and call up your Replace menu. Type two hypens into your "find" bar and paste (Ctrl+V) the em dash into your "replace with" bar.

Need to remove smart quotes? First, find your AutoCorrect options and make sure your settings have "auto smart quotes" deselected. Copy a non-smart quote. Highlight a smart quote, Ctrl+H (which should automatically put the smart quote in the "find" bar), and paste the straight quote in the "replace with" bar.

Want to add smart quotes? Find your AutoCorrect options and make sure you settings have "auto smart quotes" turned on. Put a quote in the "find" bar, and another quote in the "replace with" bar. All quotes of this kind should automatically become smart quotes.

What computer functions help you quickly format your manuscript?

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