How to Make Word Behave Like Scrivener

2775952906_5ba8ce091f_mby C. K. MacLeod

@CKmacleodwriter

There's been much to-do about Scrivener lately. And for good reason. Scrivener appears to be able to solve some problems that traditional word processing software hasn't been able to adequately address.

One of Scrivener's strengths, its Binder feature, allows writers to manage and keep track of sections of a book-length work rather easily.

ScrivenerBinderWhat many writers don't know is that Microsoft Word 2010 has a similar feature: the Navigation Pane.

Word's Nav Pane isn't ready-to-use when you first open Word, but a few simple tweaks can get it working for you:

Quick Steps

  1. Open Word. Sketch out your book outline by listing chapter titles, scenes, plot points, or story beats.
  2. Using Word's Style menu, apply a heading style to each item in your outline.

Word 2010 Styles menu3. Open the Navigation Pane in Word by using the keyboard shortcut CTRL + F and clicking on the left tab in the Nav Pane. This is Word's answer to Scrivener's Binder.

WordNavigationpane4. Click on entries in the Nav Pane to navigate the document, and when you're feeling wild and crazy, move them around. Moving entries in the Nav Pane results in moving sections around in your running document.

In sum, by setting up the Nav Pane, you've essentially set up Word to behave like Scrivener’s Binder.

There are ways to tweak Word so that it serves you better. Learning how to use the Navigation Pane will make book-length works easier to manage.

For further discussion on setting up Word's Nav Pane, read more at the Beyond Paper blog.

4 Ways to Customize Word for Writing and Editing

Customized sneakers

by C.K. MacLeod

You can customize Microsoft Word* so that it’s more efficient for writing, editing, and self-publishing. Here’s how:

1. Turn off AutoFormatting.

Out of the box (or with a fresh download), Word attempts to be helpful. Only it isn’t. Unless you change its native settings, it will format your writing in unintended ways. For example, Word may misinterpret a keystroke and insert a bulleted list or table where you don’t want one, or capitalize a word that’s meant to be lowercase.

Word’s AutoFormatting feature is to blame for these shenanigans.

To turn off AutoFormatting, go to File, Options, Proofing, Autocorrection and uncheck most of the options in the AutoFormat and AutoFormatAsYouType tabs. In the AutoCorrect tab, uncheck the box next to Replace text as you type.

Word autoformat window
Word's AutoFormat window

Tip: It’s best to insert symbols, such as a copyright symbol, into your writing manually. You can do that by going to the Insert tab, selecting Symbol, and choosing the symbol you wish to insert.

2. Turn off grammar check.

If you’re a native speaker of English, your knowledge of grammar will be better than Word’s. Guaranteed. Don’t let Word tell you otherwise.

To turn off grammar check, go to File, Options, Proofing, and uncheck both of these items: Mark grammar errors as you type and Check grammar with spelling.

No more squiggly green lines under sections of your text. You’re welcome.

3. Turn on the Navigation Pane.

Word’s Navigation Pane can can help you to move around sections of your book easily. This is especially helpful during the revision stage of writing (Scrivener users who are familiar with Scrivener’s Binder will attest to the value of this function).

Word's Navigation Pane

Ctrl + F opens the Navigation Pane. It isn’t ready-to-use when you first open it, but if you know how to apply heading styles as you write, you’ll be able to harness the power of the Nav pane. This article offers some how-tos.

4. Install editing add-ins.

You can buy add-ins that are designed to work in Microsoft Word. Some add-ins can automate many editing and document clean-up tasks. These add-ins can help you polish your writing and get your manuscript ready for print and ebook formats:

Clean-Up Tools

These tools allow you to remove tabs, spaces, paragraph returns and styles not in use in your document and more—with a few key strokes.

Self-Editing Tools

There are many ways to customize Word. These four tweaks can turn Word into a writer’s tool.

Note: *I use Word 2010. Instructions for your version of Word might be slightly different.

Image by woodleywonderworks

Convert a Table to Text in Word

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by C.K. MacLeod

@CKmacleodwriter

When you're writing nonfiction, you often need to think about how best to present information—as a bulleted or numbered list, in a table, as a diagram, in a paragraph, and so forth. Your options are many.

Recently, I wanted to convert a two-column table to a single-column bulleted list in Word without having to re-key the whole thing. Here's how you can do that quickly in Microsoft Word 2010:

Table-to-Text Quick Steps

  1. Select the table. This will bring up the Table Tools tab in Word. Click on the Layout tab.
Table Tools in MS Word
Table Tools in MS Word
  1. Click on the Convert to Text button in the Data area. A dialogue box will ask you to choose what separators you want to use. I chose the hyphen but you can choose a comma, too. It doesn't matter because you're going to remove the separator, anyway.
Convert Table to Text dialogue
Convert Table to Text dialogue
  1. You now have a list with hyphens between your two "columns" of words. To get rid of the hyphens, and put everything into a single column, use Word's Find and Replace function to remove the hyphens and put a hard return between list items. Put a hyphen in the Find What box and put the paragraph code ^p (to indicated a hard return) in the Replace With box:
Remove hyphens and hard returns with Word's Find and Replace
Remove hyphens and hard returns with Word's Find and Replace

And that's it! You turned a table into a single-column list in a few short moves.

Image by Sid Mosdell

Hunt Down Adverbs with a Macro

by C.K. MacLeod

...the road to hell is paved with adverbs and I will shout it from the rooftops.

~Steven King

Adverb

Do you use -ly words in your writing? Do you use them with the dialogue tags he said and she said?

Example: "Who do you think you are?" she said arrogantly.

According to author Steven King, using adverbs in your writing, particularly with dialogue tags, can be a problem.

You can hunt down -ly adverbs with a macro. Karen Woodward has good multipurpose -ly macro, or you can insert your own list of -ly words in the macro script below (I've gotten you started). The Reading Teacher's Book of Lists, by Edward Bernard Fry et al. has a fabulous list of adverbs commonly used with dialogue tags.

Copy the macro from Sub to End Sub and paste it into Word's Visual Basic Application (VBA). Word will highlight all of the adverbs in bright green.


Sub lyWords()
'
' Highlights -ly words used in tags
'
' Written by Roger Mortis, revised by Subcortical, adapted by Jami Gold and tweaked by C.K. MacLeod
'
Dim range As range
Dim i As Long
Dim TargetList
TargetList = Array( "angrily", "cautiously", "happily", "sadly",  "unhappily")

For i = 0 To UBound(TargetList)

Set range = ActiveDocument.range
With range.Find
.Text = TargetList(i)
.Format = True
.MatchCase = False
.MatchWholeWord = True
.MatchWildcards = False
.MatchSoundsLike = False
.MatchAllWordForms = False
Do While .Execute(Forward:=True) = True
range.HighlightColorIndex = wdBrightGreen
Loop
End With
Next
End Sub


Remember to use judgement with the results of any macro. This macro will highlight -ly words, but only you can decide if each word is helping or hindering your writing.

Not sure what a macro is? See this post for an explanation. See also the videos for adding a macro and running a macro in Microsoft Word 2010.

What do you do with the highlighted words this macro finds? See Carla Douglas' post at the Beyond Paper Editing blog for suggestions.

Image by Quinn Dombrowski

How to Design A Book Cover in Word

Word icon

By C.K. MacLeod

@CKmacleodwriter

Did you know you can design an ebook cover in Word? I'd have hardly believed it unless I'd tried it myself. Until now, I've been limping rather awkwardly in GIMP. But creating a cover in Word has blown things wide open for me.

Idea to Ebook cover31Jan14_01

Graphic designer Derek Murphy wrote a tutorial that helped me to create the cover on the left. I am not a designer, but I learned an awful lot about design principles just by following his steps. He's a great teacher.

I entered the cover in the Ebook Cover Design Awards competition on the Book Designer blog. You can see the results here. (You'll need to scroll down three-quarters of the way to see the cover.) Not bad for the first time out.

ECDA-GoldStar-Mar-2014

If you have Word 2010 on your computer, and you'd like to try your hand at designing a cover just for fun, give Derek's tutorial a try. It's so much easier than designing a cover in GIMP.

Cover Design Quick Steps

  1. Follow Derek Murphy's tutorial to the letter.

  2. Convert your Word cover into a JPG or PNG using one of these tools.

Read more at the Beyond Paper blog.

Find Passive Words in Your Writing

Verb, pure verb

Passive words can make your writing dull. Use this macro to find passive words so you can replace them with strong, active words. Word will highlight passive words in bright green.

Copy the macro from Sub to End Sub and paste it into Microsoft Word's Visual Basic Application (VBA). This free 20-minute macro course will show you how.


Sub PassiveWords()

' Highlights passive words

' Written by Roger Mortis, revised by Subcortical, adapted by Jami Gold and tweaked by C.K. MacLeod; words selected from Ryan Macklin's passive words list at http://ryanmacklin.com/2012/05/passive-voice-words/

Dim range As range
Dim i As Long
Dim TargetList
TargetList = Array("be", "being", "been", "am", "is", "are", "was", "were", "has", "have", "had", "do", "did", "does", "can", "could", "shall", "should", "will", "would", "might", "must", "may")

For i = 0 To UBound(TargetList)

Set range = ActiveDocument.range
With range.Find
.Text = TargetList(i)
.Format = True
.MatchCase = False
.MatchWholeWord = True
.MatchWildcards = False
.MatchSoundsLike = False
.MatchAllWordForms = False
Do While .Execute(Forward:=True) = True
range.HighlightColorIndex = wdBrightGreen
Loop
End With
Next

End Sub


Remember to use judgement with the results of any macro. This macro will highlight passive words, but only you can decide if each word is helping or hindering your writing.

Image by Rebecca Siegel