Archive for September, 2022

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Word: Excellent presentation on some advanced tips for Microsoft Word

September 26, 2022

Canadian editor, Adrienne Montgomerie, recently did a presentation for the Northwest Editors Guild (based in Seattle). In it she covers a whole lot of Microsoft Word tricks that editors (and writers) can use in their daily work: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZBLjEuP_OSo

Her presentation runs for nearly 2 hours but it’s chock full of hints and tips. If you want to get through it a little quicker, adjust YouTube’s playback speed.

One thing I learned from this presentation that I’d never tried or seen in action was Immersive Reader (on the View tab)—I can see myself using some of those functions (like screen background colour) very soon. Track changes works in Immersive Reader view and nothing about the document’s layout changes, just how you see it on the screen. it looks perfect for editors who need to concentrate closely on particular aspects of a document without being distracted by other stuff.

Another thing I learned (maybe I knew it already but I’ve rarely used it) was that in addition to rearranging a document using Outline view (View tab), you can also move sections around within the Navigation pane. Just turn off track changes if you’re going to do this—Adrienne explains why in her presentation.

She also talks about adding a custom tab—I have full steps for doing that and for customising your Quick Access Toolbar in these posts:

[Link last checked September 2022]

 

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Word: Text surrounding a cross-reference shows in list of tables

September 7, 2022

One of my clients contacted me about some weirdness she was experiencing with some table cross-references (x-refs) in Word. Some table captions weren’t listed in the list of table at the beginning of the document—instead, the text surrounding the x-refs to these captions was listed. To explain this better, here’s what was showing in the list of tables (I’ve blurred out some text to preserve anonymity; click each image to view it larger): 

As you can see in the screenshot, the first instance of Table 10-10 reports the caption correctly, but the second one is in bold AND it shows 5 lines of the surrounding text AND other table numbers (x-refs) are mentioned in that text. Table 10-12 and Table 10-13 are both correct. This is not something I’ve ever seen before, as far as I know.

My first step was to click the link to that incorrect line item in the list of tables. I then reset the paragraph to the default style by selecting it and pressing Ctrl+spacebar, just in case there was an errant style that was causing the problem.

And then I noticed that while the first two x-refs (Table 10-10 and Table 10-11) in the text were both full fields (as evidenced by the grey shading, shown below; ignore the other grey for the blurring), the next x-ref for Table 10-11 wasn’t—only the section and table numbers had the grey shading that indicated they were fields, not the entire table number and the word ‘Table’, as you should see with a correct table x-ref. (As an aside, I always show field shading in a Word document as it shows me where the fields are and is thus a visual reminder NOT to touch them when writing or editing; in Word for Windows, you turn on field shading under File > Options > Advanced > Show Document Content — set Field Shading to Always.)

To confirm these were different types of fields, I right clicked on each and selected Toggle Field Codes. This confirmed that I was looking at quite different field types. Table and other x-refs should start with { Ref , which is what the first two showed, but the third one had different types of field codes, one for each number, as shown in the screenshot below.

And I recognised that the types of field codes for the incorrect one were the same field codes used in table captions, NOT table x-refs. (Don’t forget to right click in the fields again and select Toggle Field Codes to show them as they should be.)

I think I know how it happened—someone COPIED the table number part of a caption, pasted it and then restyled it like the surrounding text, thinking that was all they had to do to insert a x-ref. But of course, it isn’t a true x-ref—just a copy of the caption, which is why the sentence it was in was appearing in the list of tables.

The solution was to remove the incorrect text and fields and replace them with correctly inserted x-refs. Once I did this, I updated the list of tables and everything was fine again.

(Note: You may also have to update all the fields in the document too as it’s likely that the copied caption caused the other caption numbers to update and they are likely incorrect. In my case, I had to update the fields twice—once to get the caption numbering correct, then a second time to get the x-refs to those caption numbers correct. But typically you only need to update the fields once.)

See also:

And for solving other table of contents weirdness, see these blogs posts too:

[Links last checked September 2022]

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Word: Update all fields in a document

September 7, 2022

I thought I’d blogged about this years again, but apparently not!

If you need to update all the fields in your document, there’s a quick way to do it in Word for Windows:

  1. Turn OFF Track Changes.
  2. Check again that Track Changes is OFF (yes, I put this in twice because if track changes is on, you can get all sorts of problems).
  3. Go to File > Print, but DO NOT print anything. This puts the document into Print Preview mode, and doing that automatically updates most of the fields ready for printing.
  4. Click the back button to return to the document.

Most of the fields in all parts of the document will have updated, except perhaps the table of contents, list of tables and list of figures—update these manually.

Now check for and resolve any errors—search for Error! and if you use section numbering, search also for Section 0 (or Chapter 0 or Part 0, however you cross-reference the sections/chapters/parts in your document). Reassign the correct cross-reference for those that are broken. A broken cross-reference typically means that the section number, table, figure, or appendix no longer exists—if it has just moved, the number should have updated.