Thursday, October 4, 2012

Utilizing Word’s Editing Tools

For the past few posts I’ve discussed some content edits. Today I am going to turn my attention, like previously promised, on my editing technique. While this is one of my drier topics, it is nonetheless important for all writers to know how to utilize digital editing tools.

Lately, I’ve run into some trouble with writers who are either unfamiliar with the editing tools I use, or their programs do not support these tools. I use Microsoft Word to edit documents. My specific program is Microsoft Word for Mac 2011. This version of Word is compatible with nearly all versions of Word (the only one I am not sure of is Microsoft Word 95).

Why is This Important For You to Know?
Well, there are a few reasons why every writer and professional should have a basic understanding of these tools. Writing is unavoidable, and almost no one in English speaking countries these days can go their whole lives without having to write some paper or other.

If we have to write, then we will most likely have to edit that writing. Regardless of whether you are a professional writer or not, you’ll be at an advantage if you know how to utilize the most common digital editing tools.

For writers—both those seeking professional editing assistance and those who participate in peer editing—these tools are even more vital so that needless time is not wasted trying to manually edit and/or manually fix edits.

Lastly, for those I give feedback to, this is how I edit documents. I have upset writers in the past because they did not understand the editing tools I used. I have no way of knowing whether a client is viewing all of my edits or not if they do not understand the tools I use to make edits. In addition, if a writer uses a program other than Word (Ex. Pages or Microsoft Works) there might be a technical problem viewing the edits. I’d like to minimize both of those problems by making sure my clients are informed.

What Editing Tools Do You Use?
I use two primary editing tools, comment bubbles and track[ed] changes. I settled on these two types of in-text editing tools for two reasons. The first is that—in spite of how unfamiliar they may (or may not) be to you personally—they are fairly well known and commonly utilized in many professions that require some form of peer review. The second reason is that these tools make edits easy to locate and fix.

Comment Bubbles
Comment bubbles function exactly as their title would indicate. Comment bubbles allow the editor to highlight a relevant portion of the text and insert feedback concerning the text. The editor’s feedback does not appear in the text itself. Instead, the segment of text that is highlighted contains a link to a separate panel that can be opened to view the edits.

Additionally, you can hover your mouse over the highlighted segment of words to view my comment without having the separate panel opened.

This editing tool is a favorite of mine because I am a talker. I love nothing more than to explain to writers exactly what I think should be changed, how it should be changed, and a possible example of that change.

Track Changes
Track changes are the other in-text editing tool I use. This tool is great for editing technical problems such as improper word order, inserting or removing punctuation, correcting spelling errors, etc. To use it, I turn track changes on, and it records any changes I make to the document in red. When the writer receives their edited document, they can go through and either “accept” or “reject” the changes I’ve made.

How Do I Find These Edits on My Version of Word?
I have worked with writers who have different versions of Word, writers who have international versions of Word, and writers who have Word customized to fit their brand of computer. Unfortunately I do not have screen shots of these different versions of Word, so I can only discuss how one would go about finding these review tools on my version of Word. I will take screen shots to demonstrate how to find these editing tools. For those readers who have other versions of Word, it would be wonderful if you could send in instructions and/or screen shots of where to find these.

Below I inserted a series of screen shots indicating where these editing tools are located.

In conclusion, understanding how to edit and how to view edits is important for anyone who uses writing, but especially those who need edits or need to edit documents. Comment bubbles and track changes are Microsoft Word’s editing tools, and they are one of the most commonly utilized digital editing tools. They make identifying problem areas easy and fixing them, quick. They should be located under Word’s “Review” tab. If your version of Word does not follow the same format as mine, then please send in information regarding if/where the editing are in your version of Word.

Questions and Concerns
Track changes and comment bubbles are a vital part of my editing services. If you are confused in any way, or have questions regarding anything mentioned in this topic, I would love to hear your voice. I want this process to be as easy and clear as possible, and receiving feedback allows me to know where I could improve.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the info. It sounds pretty user friendly. I guess I’ll pick one up for fun. thank u

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