|Courtesy of tomdavies|
I thought I knew my way around Word fairly well. I mean, it's a word processor. What's to know? You open a document, save it under the name you'd like, and you type.
But that's just the beginning.
I'm sure most of you already know these tips, but for those of you who don't know, these should save some time and frustration.
Tip#1 Find and Replace
So simple, right? Boy, I wish I'd know about this function back when I wrote my first, serious novel with the aim of writing professionally. Right about the time when I learned that they'd lied to me in high school about double spacing. It turns out, double spacing is for type writers, while single spacing is for electronic documents. Heh. So. I went through my 80,000-word manuscript and obliterated every single extra space. By hand. I also changed a number of character names. Also by hand.
Save yourself the time and drudgery and just click on the "Edit" menu, scroll down to "Replace" and click on it. A box will pop up and all you have to do is type in the original thing (think period, space, space or a character's name) and then in the space below it, type in what you want (period, space or new name).
Tip#2 Find and Replace + highlight
This also works if you're working on overcoming certain writerly tendencies that weaken your writing such as an abundance of adverbs, to be verbs, gerunds, and the like. Say I want to make sure each page isn't peppered with was or were. I pick the color I want to highlight these words in and have it set. Then I hit the "Replace" button. I type in "was" and in the next space, I type in "was" and then I highlight it.
Makes life so much easier. Although I will caution you on doing a search for -ings if you're looking to curb your gerund problem. There are a whole lot of words with -ing in them that aren't gerunds. Lesson learned the hard way. Especially if you have the "Track" function on.
Tip #3 Bookmark
When you're going through and editing your novel, it makes sense to have a bookmark to remind you where you left off. Prior to discovering that Word has a bookmarking function, I simply highlighted the word (usually the first word in a new chapter) I needed to begin with the next day.
But scrolling was a pain.
And then I discovered bookmarks. If you click on the "Insert" menu and scroll down to almost the very bottom, you'll see the word "Bookmark." If you click on it, a box will pop up asking you to name the bookmark. Being the creative person that I am, I always call it "here." Then you push "Add" and you're good to go. Just make sure you save before you close the file.
When you want to go to the bookmark, simply repeat the process: Insert-->Bookmark. The box will pop up. Make sure the bookmark you want is highlighted and then push "Go to" and then "Delete" if you don't want to keep that particular bookmark.
And you're good to go.
Anyone else have any tips and tricks to help make Word even more efficient and writer friendly?
*gerunds: verbs masquerading as nouns: Running is hard work. To run is a verb, but here, it's the subject of the sentence and acting as a noun. Not an evil thing to do, unless most of your sentences start this way.
Danyelle writes MG and YA fantasy. In her spare time, she collects dragons, talking frogs, and fairy godmothers. She can be found discussing the art of turning one's characters into various animals, painting with words, and the best ways to avoid getting eaten by dragons on her blog.