Archive for June, 2019


Windows 10: Microphone not working

June 30, 2019

I’ve got an online consultation with an overseas client later this week. I need to use my Windows 10 laptop as it has the relevant software installed on it. Because I’ve never plugged a headset into that laptop, nor installed Zoom on it, I figured I should test that everything worked before we meet.

I plugged a new headset in, clicked my Zoom link, and tested the audio using Zoom’s test settings. I could hear the test output very well, but no matter what I did, Zoom wouldn’t recognise my microphone. I then checked the sound recording settings in Windows 10, and clicked the troubleshooter, which found no possible solution. I removed the new headset and connected my trusty old one that works fine on my Windows 7 PC. Again, good audio through the headphones, but no microphone. So it wasn’t the headset, as I KNOW the old one works just fine.

I’m not sure how I found it, but there’s a setting in Windows 10 that if turned off, means you get NO sounds registered from the microphone. The troubleshooter certainly didn’t tell me about it, yet once I turned this setting on, everything worked fine, with both headsets. I must have turned this setting off when I first got the laptop.

So how did I solve it?

  1. In Windows 10, go to Settings.
  2. In the search box, type microphone.
  3. In the microphone settings, select Choose which apps can access your microphone.
  4. If Allow apps to access your microphone is turned off, turn it on. (If it’s already on, go to the next step.)
  5. Scroll down the list of apps, and turn on those that you need—in my case, I turned on Voice Recorder (this one works with Zoom) and Skype.

Catching potentially expensive errors of fact

June 30, 2019

How much does an editor really save a company compared to how much you pay them? Here’s a recent example…

I edit a lot of documents written by those in companies associated with the heavily regulated Australian oil and gas industry. Many are environmental management plans or safety case documents that must be approved by state and/or federal regulatory bodies before a multi-billion dollar project (e.g. a new drilling platform, pipeline, or processing plant) can go ahead. So getting these approval documents right the first time is important—it costs a LOT of money if the approvals process is held up because of errors in the documents. Errors mean they have to go through another round of corrections, technical, editorial, and legal review, and submissions, and this can take months—in this industry, months of delays equals a LOT of money.

Which is why the small thing I caught the other day could have had very expensive implications (both in cost and reputation) for the Big Company who had contracted out the document to the Specialist Company I was working for.

The document detailed the Big Company’s compliance with a piece of federal legislation and a program that resulted from that legislation (I expect these paragraphs were copy/pasted from a similar document written by Big Company some years ago). I wasn’t familiar with the Act, so I checked for its correct wording and date, as well as the official name of the program—I believe that this is part of my job as an editor. Imagine my surprise when I clicked on the federal government link to find out the Act (and the program) were repealed five years’ ago! And neither was replaced with anything else, which meant that all Big Company’s statements about how they were complying with the Act were now called into question. I flagged it in a comment to the author (adding links for them to verify what I found), and made sure I included that information in my final email to my contact at the Specialist Company when I sent the edited document back. She was stunned and very grateful to me for picking it up—none of the authors had.

Now, because all these documents go through Big Company’s legal department before submission, you might wonder why it wasn’t picked up by them. Well, what tends to happen is that the Specialist Company writes the document (often based on previous documents supplied by Big Company), I edit it for the Specialist Company, then when it’s all OK from their end, they give it to Big Company, who then have their technical specialists and lawyers review it before it gets submitted to the federal/state regulators for approval. Yes, it’s likely that Big Company’s legal department would have picked it up, but that would have then cast doubt on the reputation of the Specialist Company. And had it slipped through that final check, someone in the regulators’ offices would have picked it up—after all, they need to know the relevant Acts and compliance stuff backwards—which meant it would have been sent back and the approvals process started again.

So what sort of costs did my fact checking potentially save? Here are some:

  • financial costs of the document going through further rounds of reviews (costs borne by Big Company, Specialist Company, and regulators)
  • time costs of the approval being delayed because of further rounds of reviews (time costs borne by Big Company, Specialist Company, and regulators)
  • reputation costs for Big Company in the eyes of the regulators
  • reputation costs for Specialist Company in the eyes of Big Company (with potential loss of current and future contracts as a result)
  • if the compliance program is still operating despite the Act being repealed, then the costs Big Company pays and has paid over the past five years for compliance audits, meetings, travel to (remote) site, accommodation and meals at site, etc.

If you think an editor’s rates seem high, then consider the cost of NOT getting such a document edited. In the scheme of things, my fee was a drop in a very large ocean, yet could have potentially saved hundreds of thousands—if not millions—of dollars.

[This post was republished on the ACES blog, 25 November 2019:]


Blast from the past: My first conference paper

June 24, 2019

I was going through some stuff from my first career as a teacher-librarian the other day and found the printed proceedings of the first conference I ever spoke at—in 1990. If I ever had an electronic copy of the paper I presented, it’s long gone on 3.5 floppy discs disposed of many years ago. Because the only copy I have is deep within a more than 500-page second volume, I decided to scan it and convert it to Word.

If you’re interested in what I had to say about my teacher-exchange experience when I changed work and home lives with a fellow teacher-librarian in Canada, you can read it here: Trading_Places_Canadian_Exchange_1986_ALIA_conference_1990 (PDF, 185 KB).



Word: Wildcard find and replace to put parentheses around numbers

June 20, 2019

In another post (, Thomas asked: “I have to find any number within a document and put it into brackets: 2 -> (2); 12 -> (12); 123 -> (123)”. But he wasn’t having any luck.

A standard Find can use ^# to find any single number (but not multiple numbers), but that command doesn’t work in a wildcard find and replace.

Here’s what I came up with instead; it assumes the numbers are surrounded by a space on both sides—it won’t find any numbers that include punctuation marks (e.g. 1,000,000), that start or finish with a punctuation mark (e.g. comma, period, parenthesis, semicolon, etc.), or those that are in a word (e.g. Model1345):

  1. Press Ctrl+H to open the Find and Replace dialog.
  2. Click More, then select the Use wildcards check box.
  3. In Find What, type: ( )(<[0-9]{1,}>)( ) (NOTE: there is a single space between the first set of parentheses and between the third set)
  4. In Replace With, type: \1(\2)\3
  5. Click Find Next, then click Replace once the first is found. Once you’re happy that it works, repeat until you’ve replaced them all.

What the find and replace ‘codes’ mean:

The three elements (each is enclosed in parentheses) of the Find are:

  1. ( ) — For the first and third elements, you type a set of parentheses, with a space inside the parens.
  2. (<[0-9]{1,}>) — The < and > represent the beginning and end of the ‘word’ respectively (in this case, the ‘word’ is a set of numbers with NO punctuation, e.g. 1, 12, 1234, 7896543); [0-9] represents any number from 0 to 9; {1,} says to look for one or more of the same (i.e. numbers) to any length immediately after that number, thus not limiting the find to only single digit numbers.

For the Replace:

  • \1 — Replaces the first element (the space) with itself
  • ( — Inserts an opening parens
  • \2 — Replaces the second element of the Find with what was in the Find (i.e. a number).
  • ) — Inserts a closing parens
  • \3 — Replace the third element (the space) with itself



Word: Find text between quote marks and change to italic

June 5, 2019

All special terms in a Word document I worked on were surrounded by straight double quote marks. I wanted to remove the quote marks and italicise the term. For example, I wanted “term” to become term.

This was a relatively easy task using wildcards in Word’s find and replace, but there are a couple of ‘gotchas’—it won’t catch anything in curly (smart) quotes or inside single quote marks (straight or curly), or if there’s US-style punctuation (e.g. period, comma) at the end, such as “term.” I’ve added alternatives to deal with these situations. It also won’t catch more than one word inside the quote marks, and I don’t have an easy solution for that.

In ALL cases below:

  • you must have Use wildcards checked in the advanced Find and Replace dialog box
  • for the italics, when you’re in the Replace field, select Format > Font> and choose Italic
  • all the double and single straight quotes here DO NOT display correctly, so DO NOT copy/paste from here—instead, type the quote marks in directly from your keyboard

Case 1: Double straight quotes

  • Find: (“)(<*>)(“)
  • Replace: \2

For those preferring to use ACSII codes, a double straight quote mark is ^034.

Case 2: Single straight quotes

  • Find: (‘)(<*>)(‘)
  • Replace: \2

For those preferring to use ACSII codes, a single straight quote mark is ^039.

Note: This may not work—if it doesn’t, try (‘)(*)(‘) as the Find, but be careful when replacing as a single quote mark is also used as an apostrophe. DO NOT do Replace All.

Case 3: Double curly quotes

  • Find: (“)(<*>)(”)
  • Replace: \2

For those preferring to use ACSII codes, an opening double curly quote mark is ^0147 and a closing one is ^0148.

NOTE: It’s easier to copy a curly quote from the main Word document and paste it into the Find. Don’t forget to copy an opening one for the left part of the Find string, and a closing quote for the right part.

Case 4: Single curly quotes

  • Find: (‘)(<*>)(’)
  • Replace: \2

For those preferring to use ACSII codes, an opening single straight quote mark is ^0145, and a closing single straight quote mark is ^0146.

Note: This may not work—if it doesn’t, try (‘)(*)(‘) as the Find, but be careful when replacing as a single quote mark is also used as an apostrophe. DO NOT do Replace All.

NOTE: It’s easier to copy a curly quote from the main Word document and paste it into the Find. Don’t forget to copy an opening one for the left part of the Find string, and a closing quote for the right part.

Case 5: Period or comma inside the closing quote mark

Use the relevant Find from any of the above, depending on the style of quote marks you’re looking for, and add an extra command ([,.]) to find the comma or period too. For straight double quotes, you’d change it to:

  • Find: (“)(<*>)([,.])(“)
  • Replace: \2\3

If you want to keep the punctuation, then you need to add \3 to the Replace. If you don’t want to keep the punctuation, then just leave it as \2. Again, don’t forget to set the Replace to italic font. The end result will be an italicised word with its trailling punctuation also in italics.

If don’t want the punctuation in italics, then you’ll need to run another find/replace using wildcards to change the punctuation back to normal text:

  • Find: ([,.]) (this time, set the Find to italics using Format > Font > Italic)
  • Replace: \1 (for this one, set the Replace to NOT use italics using Format > Font > Regular)




My notes about single touch payroll

June 5, 2019

These notes are for me only. I just needed somewhere to document my process with Namich’s STP Creator and MYOB 19 so I don’t have to remember it every month. Oh, and with 25 steps (!!!), this is NOT a ‘single touch’ process, despite what the ATO would lead you to believe!!!!

Note: Steps updated 28 August 2021 to reflect changes in version All steps assume you have used STP Creator before. If you haven’t, you may have to load your MYOB data first. See Namich’s website for instructions.

  1. Open MYOB 19 and do payroll as per normal.
  2. Note the amount, the pay date range, and the date payment was made.
  3. Close MYOB.
  4. Go to online banking and make the payment as per normal.
  5. Open Namich STP Creator.
  6. Select user name, enter password, and click OK. The STP Creator loads, with Load Settings from Data Set file checked.
  7. Click Load Payroll Data.
  8. Select the MYOB user ID (typically ADMINISTRATOR) and enter your MYOB password (or skip if no password).
  9. Select the STP Report Type (for standard payroll, Pay Event may already be checked). Click OK.
  10. A message will tell you that the load is complete and how long it took (typically a couple of seconds). Click OK to close the message box.
  11. The Check Payees and Check Payroll Categories steps should be automatically checked as these were loaded from your MYOB file.
  12. Click Set Reporting Period.
  13. Select the STP Report Type (already selected from step 9, but you can change it here), enter the first and last dates of the pay period and the date the pay event was entered into MYOB. These are the values you wrote down in Step 2.
  14. Click Calculate Payer W1 and W2 totals for this period. The gross wages and PAYG Withheld amounts will show on the right—check that these match the figures you noted in Step 2.
  15. Click OK.
  16. Click View and Lodge STP Report.
  17. Do a final check of the data, then click Lodge. NOTE: If this is the last pay run of the year, click Final Indicator BEFORE clicking Lodge.
  18. Check the declaration box.
  19. Click Sign In.
  20. On the Single Touch log in screen, enter the email address and password for Single Touch, then click Sign-in.
  21. Click Send Code to send a two-factor authentication code to your mobile phone.
  22. When the code arrives, type it into the verification code box. DO NOT press Enter or any other key. The verification code box closes automatically once the code has been sent. Go back to the STC Creator window.
  23. Once you see the message that you’re successfully signed in, click Send.
  24. The status should change to Success and you should get a couple of emails from Single Touch letting you know that a new STP event was generated, and that the data was successfully submitted to and accepted by the ATO.
  25. Click Close on all open STP Creator windows, then close STP Creator.

See also:


Word: Wildcard find and replace for a space after a special character

June 4, 2019

Wildcard find and replace in Word is brilliant, but sometimes it just doesn’t work.

I had set up a find and replace routine to find any of >, <, ≥, and ≤ followed by a space then a number (e.g. > 25). I wanted to remove the space from each I found (e.g. >25). The syntax I used for the find was ([><≥≤])( )([0-9]) (Note: there’s a space inside the second set of parentheses). And the replace I had was \1\3. Looks fine, right? But it didn’t work! Instead, I got some strange results with various numbers preceded by a space replaced with ‘\1\3’. The ≥≤ part worked fine, but not the >< part.

And then I remembered that certain characters have special meaning in Word’s wildcard find and replace—two of which were < for the beginning of a word, and > for the end of a word. No wonder I was getting weird results.

As with any other special characters (e.g. ?, *, [, ], etc.) you have ‘escape’ them for Word to treat them as a normal character, not a special character. The escape character is \ and when I added that in front of each of the special characters, the wildcard find and replace worked as it should.

Here’s what did work:

  • Find: ([\>\<≥≤])( )([0-9])
  • Replace: \1\3 



Word: Quick way to deal with Track Changes

June 4, 2019

If you receive your Word document back from your editor and it’s peppered with track changes (Review tab > All Markup view), you might think you only have two choices:

  • accept them all at once without really checking them (Review tab > Accept > Accept All Changes), but I would only advise this if it’s a short document where there are just a few changes that you’ve agreed to accept, or documents where you totally trust the editor’s judgement; in most cases, this is NOT what you should do
  • accept them one at a time (Review tab > Accept > Accept and Move to Next OR right-click on each change and Accept or Reject the change, then click the Next button in the Changes group on the Review tab). On a document with thousands of changes, this could take a LONG time.

(If you’re going to reject them, then the same as above but choose the Reject option.)

However, there is another way to quickly accept/reject a whole group of changes at once.

  1. Go to the Review tab.
  2. Switch to No Markup view.
  3. Read a paragraph or two.
  4. You now have two choices:
    • If you’re happy with the editing, select just that paragraph (or two), then under Review tab > Accept > click Accept Change (DO NOT ‘Accept All Changes’). This accepts all the changes in that selection only.
    • If you’re not happy with how it’s edited, switch back to All Markup view, and accept/reject the individual changes in that paragraph as you normally would.
  5. Repeat steps 2 to 5 for every paragraph/small subset of paragraphs for the rest of the document.

Further resources:

If you’re not sure how to deal with track changes, this overview and these resources will help:

[Links last checked June 2022]


Word: Macros to switch from No Markup to All Markup views

June 2, 2019

I worked on a 350p technical report the past two weeks, and was forever switching between No Markup (Final) view and All Markup (Final: Show Markup [i.e. track changes]) view. Moving the mouse to do that got old pretty quick, even though I have that control on my Quick Access Toolbar. What I needed was a keyboard command or two to flip between views. Well, I couldn’t find one! I couldn’t even find the command in the list of all commands. That’s not to say one doesn’t exist—just that I couldn’t find it. Update 5 June 2019: Angela, one of this blog’s subscribers, had a solution that she shared with me. I’ll leave the other macros in this post, but if you want one that just does it all in one toggle command, skip the information below and scroll down to the end under ‘Angela’s solution’.

What to do? Well, one way to get a keyboard shortcut it to create a macro that does what you want to do, and then assign a keyboard shortcut to it. That’s what I ended up doing, except I had to create two macros—one for showing and one for hiding the track changes (I couldn’t figure out how to create a ‘toggle’ macro that used the same command to turn on and off, depending on the current state). And I assigned these keyboard shortcuts that had some logic for me: Ctrl+Shift+{ (i.e. open the bracket) to show the markup, and Ctrl+Shift+} (i.e. close the bracket) to hide the markup. But you can use whatever shortcut that works for you.

The two macros I wrote are below. Once you’ve added them to you VBA area, assign a keyboard shortcut to them from the Customize Ribbon options area.

This macro shows all markup:

Sub MarkupViewAll()
' Shows All Markup view for markup (i.e. shows track changes)
' Created by Rhonda Bracey, CyberText Consulting, 31 May 2019
    With ActiveWindow.View
        .ShowRevisionsAndComments = True
    End With
End Sub

This macro shows the final view:

Sub MarkupViewFinal()
' Shows Final view for markup (i.e. hides track changes)
' Created by Rhonda Bracey, CyberText Consulting, 31 May 2019
    With ActiveWindow.View
        .ShowRevisionsAndComments = False
        .RevisionsView = wdRevisionsViewFinal
    End With
End Sub

I’m sure somebody cleverer with macros than me could write something more elegant (such as using the one macro and keyboard shortcut to toggle the view depending on the current view—if you know how to do that, feel free to contribute in the comments.

Angela’s solution

NOTE: Some of this macro goes off the page—to get it all, copy this macro, don’t retype it.

Sub ToggleMarkupViewAllToFinal()
' Toggles from Markup view all to Markup view final
    ActiveWindow.View.ShowRevisionsAndComments = Not ActiveWindow.View.ShowRevisionsAndComments
End Sub

Thanks Angela! (by the way, I assigned Alt+m as my keyboard shortcut for this—it works a treat!