by C.K. MacLeod
Macros—tiny programs that run in Microsoft Word— have changed the way I revise my writing. They highlight potential problems, so I can fix them:
Below is a list of my favourite self-editing macros, designed to work with Microsoft Word:
- Confusables — words that are often used inncorrectly
- lyWords — adverbs, which will likely need to be deleted
- NeedlessWords — words that clutter your writing
- PassiveWords — words that can obscure meaning; change passive words to active words
- PlainLanguage — high falutin’ words that can just as easily be replaced with simpler words
- TellingWords — words that suggest instances of telling, where showing might work better
Editor Paul Beverley has created a 600-page book of free macros. You’ll need to download his book to get these helpful macro scripts:
- CountThisWord—tells you how many times you’ve used a word to determine if you’ve overused it
- HighlightSame—highlights all instances of a word you’ve selected; use it with CountThisWord
- LongSentenceHighlighter—highlights long sentences so you can shorten them
If you’re not sure how macros can help, or how to use them, this free 20-minute macro course will have you up and running in no time!
You can’t always see where your writing needs fixing. Revision macros can help you to see what you’re missing.
Image by Linda Åslund