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Word: Find expanded text or spaces

July 26, 2016

Problem

Today I edited an activity guide. It had a formatting oddness that took me a while to figure out. Every so often (not consistently, but at least once or twice per paragraph), there would be a single space that looked like a double space.

It took me forever to figure out what the problem was (Expanded font style), then research how to fix it. I couldn’t find anything that indicated that I could do a global search & replace. If anyone knows a way to search & replace on particular formatting on Word, I’d love to know.

Solution

In Word for Windows, you can search for expanded text and replace it with normal, BUT you need to know how much it’s expanded by, and hope that all is expanded to the same degree.

In the screenshot below, some spaces (highlighted in green) are expanded by 2 pt. All others are not expanded. The yellow highlight shows an instance of a normal space followed by a ‘Y’ so you can see the difference between that and the green one with the expanded space in front of another ‘Y’. These things are hard to see, so make sure your formatting marks are turned on and zoom in — I zoomed in to 150% in this example.

FR_expanded space01

  1. Select one of the expanded spaces and check the Font settings > Advanced tab to find out what degree of expansion is used (e.g. 1 pt, 1.1 pt, 2 pt etc.). Write it down.
  2. Go to the Find and Replace dialog box (Ctrl+H), then the Replace tab.
  3. Type the space into the Find what field.
  4. Click More.
    FR_expanded space02
  5. Click Format > Font.
    FR_expanded space03
  6. Click the Advanced tab and select Expanded from the Spacing options, then enter the point size you found out earlier into the By field.
    FR_expanded space04
  7. Click OK to return to the Replace tab — you should have ‘Expanded by xx pt’ below the Find what field.
    FR_expanded space05
  8. Go to the Replace with field, type a space, then More > Format > Font > Advanced tab, select Spacing = Normal.
    FR_expanded space06
  9. Click OK to return to the Replace tab. The Replace with field should have ‘Not Expanded by /Condensed by’ below it.
    FR_expanded space07
  10. Click Find Next and then Replace to find each expanded space and replace it with a normal space (if you’re confident, click Replace All).

 

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Black screen on computer bootup

July 24, 2016

My computer wouldn’t boot up this morning. The lights were on, but the screens were black. I’d seen the manufacturer’s logo, but then nothing. No Windows login screen. Nada.

I tried a second reboot — same result. Then a third. No joy.

And then I saw that I still had my fancy Parrot Zik bluetooth headphones plugged in to a USB port to charge. Hmmmm…. Every time I’ve plugged them in, I get a message about a new device and do I want to open files, etc., so the computer thinks they are an external device. My husband has an external drive that won’t allow his computer to start up if it’s plugged in on bootup, so perhaps the headphones were the reason?

I unplugged the headphones, rebooted the computer, and everything booted up as it should. The headphones were the culprit!

Interestingly, I have an external hard drive that’s always plugged into this PC, but it’s ignored on bootup. I probably need to talk to my PC Guru guys to see if I can alter the startup sequence to look for the hard drive first, instead of any external drives.

Update 25 July 2016: I checked the BIOS boot sequence the next morning, and found that my hard drive is listed second, in front of USB storage devices, CD/DVD, onboard NIC, and the external HDD (last). However, ‘Diskette Drive’ is listed first (who’s used a floppy drive in the past 10 years???), so I’m pretty sure the PC thought the plugged in USB headphones were a floppy disk! Also, a quick Google search of “usb headphones boot sequence”gives many articles from others who have had this problem with various headsets/headphones.

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Word: More lesser known keyboard shortcuts

June 15, 2016

Following on from an earlier post (https://cybertext.wordpress.com/2012/09/20/word-lesser-known-keyboard-shortcuts/), here are some more keyboard shortcuts in Microsoft Word for Windows.

Shortcut Does this
Ctrl+Shift+8 Toggles formatting marks on and off
Ctrl+1 Applies single-line spacing to the selected paragraph(s)
Ctrl+2 Applies double-line spacing to the selected paragraph(s)
Ctrl+5 Applies 1.5-line spacing to the selected paragraph(s)
Ctrl+0 (zero) Toggles the ‘space before’ setting for the paragraph where the cursor is to 12 pt (if some other value) or 0 pt (if the previous setting was 12 pt)
Alt+Ctrl+z Jump to your previous editing location

See also:

[Link last checked June 2016]

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World domination achieved!

June 11, 2016

Yesterday I got an email from a US friend. He’s in Budapest (Hungary) attending a tech writing/user assistance conference (UA Europe). He’s in a session presented by someone from The Netherlands when he spots a screenshot of a page from this blog! He has enough time to capture it on his phone and send it to me. How cool is that — a Dutch presenter showing a page from an Australian’s blog, seen and captured by an American, in Hungary!

Even cooler, the presenter said that it was great example of a ‘perfectly complete task explanation’ and ‘This rocks!’ My work here is done — I think with this, I have achieved world domination ;-)

20160610_100935

(In case you’re interested, the blog post the speaker referenced was: https://cybertext.wordpress.com/2011/08/08/word-insert-a-multi-page-pdf/)

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Word: Get your computer to read your document

May 13, 2016

One final checks that many editors do is to read a document aloud. But until you’re used to doing that, reading aloud to an empty room seems really weird. Reading aloud to others who don’t care about the document can be awkward. Of course, if you have a pet, you could read aloud to it, but it might want to play (dog), or ignore you (fish, reptile), or ignore you and walk off (cat), or reply (bird).

Windows comes with an in-built text to speech reader, and the easiest way to get it to read some or all of your Word document is to add the ‘Speak’ icon to your Quick Access Toolbar (QAT).

Here’s how in Word 2010 – later versions should be similar:

  1. Open any Word document.
  2. Go to File > Options.
  3. Click Quick Access Toolbar on the left ([1] in the screenshot below).
  4. Click the drop-down arrow next to Popular Commands [2], then select All Commands [3].QAT_speech01
  5. Type the letter ‘s’ to go to the commands starting with ‘s’, then scroll to Speak and select it [4].
  6. Click Add [5] to add it to your QAT.
    QAT_speech02
  7. Click OK to close the Options window. The Speak icon (a speech bubble) should now be on your QAT.
  8. To test that it works, make sure your headphones or speakers are connected and on.
  9. Select any of the text in your Word document, then click the Speak icon. (To hear the entire document, select it all — Ctrl+A).
    QAT_speech03
  10. To stop, click the Speak icon again.

NOTE: I tested this on my Windows 7 64-bit computer, and there’s only one voice available by default — Microsoft ‘Anna’, a robotic female US voice. I couldn’t find any easy way to get other voices (without paying for them), though I believe there are more free voices available in 32-bit Windows 7, and in Windows 8 and later.

See also:

[Links last checked May 2016]

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Word: Change the gap between a footnote and the separator line

May 12, 2016

When you insert a footnote in Word (References tab > Insert Footnote), by default it gets added to the bottom of the page along with a short line and an empty paragraph to separate it from the body of the text. The footnote separator line and the empty paragraph are styled as ‘Normal’, so if you’ve adjusted the paragraph spacing (leading) above and/or below in the style, you may get way more space than you need, as shown in the screenshot below.

word_footnote_sep01

It’s that empty paragraph that annoys a lot of people — it just adds unwanted space in front of the page’s footnotes, when there’s already a visual separator in the partial line. You can’t get rid of the the empty paragraph using normal deletion methods either. But you CAN get rid of it.

Here’s how:

  1. You must have at least one footnote in your document before you can do the steps below.
  2. You must be in Draft view to do this (View tab > Draft).
    word_footnote_sep02
  3. Once you’re in Draft view, go to the References tab then click Show Notes.
    word_footnote_sep03
  4. A mini Footnotes window opens at the bottom of the page:
    word_footnote_sep04
  5. Change the Footnotes setting from All Footnotes to Footnote Separator.
    word_footnote_sep05
  6. Now you can see the separator and the empty paragraph:
    word_footnote_sep06
  7. Place your cursor at the end of separator line, then press Delete to remove the empty paragraph below.
  8. Click the X at the far right of the Footnotes mini window to close it.
  9. Change the view back Print Layout (View tab > Print Layout).

You’ve now got rid of that empty paragraph for ALL footnotes in your document.

 

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Create a folder name with a period at the beginning

May 11, 2016

A tech writing colleague, Stuart B, sent me this information to share on this blog. He wanted to create or rename a folder in Windows that started with a period (e.g. .foo). Now, I don’t know WHY he wanted to do this, but he did. He found that Windows Explorer won’t let you create or rename a folder if you put a period at the beginning of the name — you get an error that tells you to type a file name, which of course you already did!

It seems you can do this in DOS using the mkdir command (mkdir .foo), but that’s clunky.

However, there’s a trick to getting Windows Explorer to create or rename such a folder — you add a period before AND after the file name (e.g. .foo.). Windows then strips the trailing period, but leaves the beginning one alone. And no error message.

Stuart said this trick seems to work in all versions of Windows he tested (Windows 10 back to Vista).

Thanks for sharing, Stuart!

 

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