Archive for the ‘Word’ Category

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Word: My process for copying content into a new template

October 9, 2018

Someone asked me the other day what my ‘best practice’ was for applying a new template to an existing Word document. Well, the answer is: ‘It depends’. And what it depends on is the complexity of the document.

If it’s a simple document in one section, with basic formatting, few—if any—cross-references, uses the same page layout throughout, has little (or no) document automation, etc., then just applying the new template may well be enough (assuming the style names in both are the same). You may have a few tweaks to do with the formatting (e.g. reapplying styles), but you should be done.

However, for a more complex document, like the ones I work on, it’s not so simple. My docs have cover and front matter pages, lots of document automation, outline numbered headings, potentially hundreds of cross-references, many section breaks for landscape and A3 pages, appendices, tables of contents/tables/figures, headers and footers populated with data from the cover page (we used to have odd/even headers/footers too, and various page numbering formats, but we got rid of those some time ago because they just added a lot of overhead for no real value), etc. It’s really the section breaks that will cause you grief, plus totally different cover pages and headers/footers. As for a simple document, the process will be much smoother if the style names in both docs are the same.

Oh, and before you ask, yes, I’ve tried every which way to simplify the process below, but each one just adds more time overhead to sorting out the document after I’ve pulled it over. The method that causes me the least grief is the one below.

NOTES:

  • Save often!
  • Make sure formatting marks are turned on so you can see the section breaks.
  • DO NOT copy section breaks. There lie dragons!!
  • You may still have some tweaking to do with applying the correct styles. You can either do this as you go (after each paste), or wait until the end and do it all in a separate pass. Alternatively, make a copy of the old doc, apply the new template to it and fix all the styles first, before copying across the content.

How I deal with putting a complex document onto a new corporate template:

  1. Start a new document based on the new template.
  2. If you want to preserve any existing comments or track changes from the old doc, make sure track changes is turned OFF in BOTH docs—the new AND the old.
  3. Manually complete all the cover page (and other front matter) information in the new doc.
  4. DO NOT copy across the old table of contents, list of tables, or list of figures. You’ll update these later (Step 13) with the new headings.
  5. Let’s assume the main body of the doc starts at section ‘1. Introduction’. Go to that heading in the new doc, then press Enter a couple of times to create some space.
  6. Go to the old doc and copy the content AFTER the ‘1. Introduction’ heading UP TO, BUT NOT INCLUDING, the first section break.
  7. Paste that content into the relevant place (the space you just created) in the new doc.
  8. Manually insert a section break start AND end for the next section in the new doc, and add some empty paragraphs between them. Change the page layout for the section as necessary (e.g. landscape orientation).
  9. Go back to the old doc and copy everything INSIDE the section break, but NOT the section break itself.
  10. Paste into the new doc in between the start and end section break marks you created in Step 8.
  11. Repeat steps 8 to 10 for ALL section breaks and their content.
  12. When you’ve finished, delete any headings and text from the original template that are not required.
  13. Go back to the table of contents in the new doc and update it. Repeat for the list of tables and figures too.
  14. If you have cross-references in your doc, switch to Print Preview mode, then back to Page Layout mode.
  15. Do a Find for ‘Error!’ to find any broken cross-references. Fix, based on the cross-reference information in the old doc.
  16. Zoom out to about 30% and do a visual check to make sure your headers/footers for each section are correct for the page layout.

That should be it!

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Word: Insert prime and double prime characters

September 23, 2018

Just as there’s a special character for a degree symbol, there are also special characters for prime and double prime symbols (used when referring to latitude and longitude especially). These are NOT the same characters as a single or double quote mark, though many people assume they are.

Use one of these methods to insert a proper prime or double prime symbol in Microsoft Word:

  • If you have a separate number pad, then press Alt+8242 (press and hold the Alt key while you type 8242) for prime, or Alt+8243 for double prime.
  • Go to the Insert tab > Symbol — the prime symbol is character code = 2032, Unicode (hex), and double prime is 2033.
  • If you have Math AutoCorrect turned on, then type \prime<space> for prime, or \pprime<space> for double prime (to turn on Math AutoCorrect: File > Options > Proofing > AutoCorrect Options > Math AutoCorrect tab).
  • Supposedly you can also type 2032, Alt+x or 2033, Alt+x but neither of those worked for me.

[Link last checked September 2018]

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Word: Insert a degree symbol

September 22, 2018

There’s a special character for a degree, so don’t make the mistake of superscripting a lower case ‘o’. Instead, use one of these methods to insert a proper degree symbol in Microsoft Word:

  • If you have a separate number pad, then press Alt+0176 (press and hold the Alt key while you type 0176)
  • For any keyboard with or without a number pad, press Ctrl+Shift+@.
  • Go to the Insert tab > Symbol — the degree symbol is character code = 00B0, Unicode (hex)
  • If you have Math AutoCorrect turned on, then type \degree (to turn on Math AutoCorrect: File > Options > Proofing > AutoCorrect Options > Math AutoCorrect tab).

If you have a lot of superscripted lower case ‘o’ characters used instead of a proper degree symbols, you can search for them and replace them with the correct symbol:

  1. Open the Find and Replace window (Ctrl+h).
  2. In the ‘Find what’ field, type a lower case o.
  3. With your cursor still in the ‘Find what’ field, click More.
  4. Click Format and select Font.
  5. Click the Superscript checkbox until it has a check mark in it.
  6. Click OK to close the Find Font window.
  7. Put your cursor in the ‘Replace with’ field.
  8. Type ^0176
  9. With your cursor still in the ‘Replace with’ field, click Format and select Font.
  10. Click the Superscript checkbox until it is clear. You may have to click it twice.
  11. Check your Find and Replace window looks like the screenshot below. If it does, click Find Next and then Replace for each one found.

Related: Prime and double prime symbols: https://cybertext.wordpress.com/2018/09/23/word-insert-a-prime-and-double-prime-characters/

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Word: Macro to set the language for ALL styles

September 21, 2018

One of the issues with setting the language for a Word document is that DOESN’T change the language set for the styles. If you’re lucky, your styles use the same language as your default language, but sometimes they don’t (especially if the document has come from authors in other countries). This can result in some strange behaviour under specific circumstances.

I have a macro for setting the language for all ‘ranges’ in a document, but I needed something to change the language settings for ALL styles in one command. After a bit of internet sleuthing, I came across an answer that looked promising and modified it to suit my purposes. It works! I tested it on a sample document, where I’d set the language for Normal to Alsatian, for Heading 1 to Afrikaans, and for Heading 2 to English (US). The only text I had in the document used Normal style, but that didn’t matter—the language settings for the styles still changed to the one I’d specified in the macro. In my case, that’s English (Australian) [in VBA code that’s wdEnglishAUS].

The only thing you need to change in this macro is the LanguageID. Here are some common ones for English:

  • wdEnglishAUS
  • wdEnglishCanadian
  • wdNewZealand
  • wdEnglishSouthAfrica
  • wdEnglishUK
  • wdEnglishUS.

Here’s the macro (copy it—some of it may go off the page, so if you type it you may miss some):

Sub ChangeLangStyles()

' Macro to change language in styles
' Adapted from Macropod (17 July 2012)
' http://www.vbaexpress.com/forum/showthread.php?42993-Solved-Macro-to-change-all-styles-to-a-specific-language

Dim oDoc As Document, oSty As Style
Set oDoc = ActiveDocument
    With oDoc
        For Each oSty In .Styles
            On Error Resume Next
            oSty.LanguageID = wdEnglishAUS
            On Error GoTo 0
        Next
    End With
End Sub

I adapted it from one shared by Macropod back in July 2012: http://www.vbaexpress.com/forum/showthread.php?42993-Solved-Macro-to-change-all-styles-to-a-specific-language, and full acknowledgement goes to him.

[Links last checked September 2018]

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Word: Find ‘ing’ words and change their formatting

September 21, 2018

Tessa had a problem—she needed to find all words ending in ‘ing’ in her document and format the whole word in some way.

NOTE: This find/replace will find ALL words ending in ‘ing’, but not words ending in ‘ings’ or ‘ingly’. And words such as ‘going’, ‘bring’, ‘sing’, ‘king’, and ‘thing’ also get found. But if your aim is to find ALL words ending in ‘ing’ that’s what you’ll get.

Simplest solution: If you didn’t want the whole word to be formatted, just the ‘ing’ bit, then it’s easiest to use the standard find/replace, with the ‘Match Suffix’ option turned on. See Method 1 below.

However, if you want the whole words found and formatted, you’ll need to use wildcards. See Method 2 below.

Method 1

  1. Open the Find and Replace window (Ctrl+h).
  2. Click More to see the extra search options.
  3. In the ‘Find what’ field, type ing
  4. Select the Match suffix checkbox.
  5. Put your cursor in the ‘Replace with’ field, then click Format at the bottom of the window.
  6. Click Font.
  7. Select the formatting you want to apply to the found ‘ing’s—you can choose one or more options from this window. Then click OK to close the Font window. The formatting you selected is listed below the empty ‘Replace with’ field.
  8. Click Find Next, then click Replace as many times as you need to be comfortable that the find/replace works as you want it to. If you’re happy with the matches, then click Replace All.

Method 2

This method uses Word’s find and replace with wildcards.

  1. Open the Find and Replace window (Ctrl+h).
  2. Click More to see the extra search options.
  3. Select the Use wildcards checkbox.
  4. In the ‘Find what’ field, type <[A-Za-z]@ing>
  5. Put your cursor in the ‘Replace with’ field, then click Format at the bottom of the window.
  6. Click Font.
  7. Select the formatting you want to apply to the found ‘ing’ words—you can choose one or more options from this window. Then click OK to close the Font window. The formatting you selected is listed below the empty ‘Replace with’ field.
  8. Click Find Next, then click Replace as many times as you need to be comfortable that the find/replace works as you want it to. If you’re happy with the matches, then click Replace All.

How this wildcard find/replace works:

  • < and > represent the start (<) and end (>) of a word (this specifies that you’re looking for a whole word)
  • [A-Za-z] look for any upper any lower case letters
  • @ing tells Word to repeat looking for upper/lower case letters until it finds ing

What about ‘ing’ in the middle of a word?

Follow Steps 1 to 3 in Method 2 above, then in the ‘Find what’ field, type <[A-z]@ing[a-z]@>. Continue with Steps 5 to 8 above.

NOTE: You can’t format just a part of the replace (i.e. you can’t make just the ‘ing’ in ‘fringed’ red or bold)—it’s all or nothing.

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Word: AutoCorrect entries not working on some documents

September 18, 2018

I use Word’s AutoCorrect function a lot. I mean, a LOT. So I’ve been flummoxed when occasionally it doesn’t work. I type in my code and it won’t expand to the text I have assigned to that code. It works in all other documents, new and old, and it makes no difference whether those documents are stored locally or on the server. It just doesn’t work in SOME documents.

Today I decided to get to the bottom of it and see if there was a solution — and there is. I had to hunt various Word forums and try several things, but one of the suggested solutions pointed me in the right direction, and with a bit of trial and error I found the answer.

But first, a bit of background so you understand something about autocorrect (ACL) files and their relationship to the language settings in your document. You have several ACL files on your system (in Windows, they’re under C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\Office). Each ACL file has a number that corresponds to a language (e.g. MSO1033 for US English, MSO2057 for UK English, MSO3081 for Australian English, and so on). The language you have set on your computer AND for Word should be the same, and the language for the document you’re working on dictates where any ACL entries you create while working on that document will go (at least, I think that’s the case). So, if you’ve got Australian English set as your computer and Word language, but are working on a document set for US English, then your autocorrects may not work, and new ones may save to the US ACL file. If you want to know what language your autocorrects are set to, go to File > Options > Proofing > AutoCorrect Settings — the language is displayed in the title bar of that window.

Now, how to solve it…

The simplest solution is to set the language for the whole document to your preferred language (Ctrl+A, Review tab, Language, then set the proofing language and turn off the Detect Language Automatically check box). If your autocorrects start working again, you’re done.

If they don’t, as happened to me, then you need to delve a little deeper. Selecting the entire document and changing the language doesn’t change the language for everything in Word, just some of the visible bits. For example, it doesn’t change the language set in the styles. And this is where I started investigating and found the answer. For the document I was working on, most of the styles were based on Normal, so I checked the settings for the Normal style and found that the language for that style was set to US English. I changed the language for that style to Australian English, and suddenly my autocorrects starting working straight away! NOTE: If you have lots of styles based on (none), then you’ll have to modify each style and set its language.

The solution was simple, but the path to find the solution wan’t!

Note: This forum post helped me find the answer (see the comment from Jay Freeman on page 2 dated 10 January 2017): https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/office/forum/office_2013_release-word/word-2013-autocorrect-stopped-working-mid-document/655258c4-a307-4b5d-a8d6-d81a146a8b39?db=5

[Links last checked September 2018]

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Word: Make some specific text bold

September 14, 2018

As most people would know, you can apply bold formatting in Word using Ctrl+b or the Bold icon on the Home table on the Ribbon.

But what if you want more? What if you have some specific text scattered throughout your document that you want to make bold in one action? This was the issue Colin faced. In a comment on one of my other blog posts, Colin asked if there was a way to apply bold a set of characters that all started with the same code, but had different numbers after that code (e.g. like product codes). In his example, he had a lot of instances of VA-001, VA-002, etc. with the last three digits being different each time. He’d tried the method I’d documented in my earlier post, but he could only bold part of the code, not all of it.

As with any find and replace, once you identify the pattern, it’s easy enough to test various ways of finding a match and then applying the change to it. I figured out two methods—both using wildcards. The first method assumes there are only ever three characters (not, 1, 2, 4, etc.) after the VA- part, while the second applies to any length of the ‘word’ after VA-.

For both methods, open the Find and Replace window (Ctrl+h), click More, then check the option for Use wildcards.

Method 1: Only three characters

  1. In the Find field, type: (VA-)(???)
  2. In the Replace with field, type: \1\2
  3. With your cursor still in the Replace with field, click Format, then Font, then select Bold. You should see Font: Bold directly below the Replace with field (see screenshot).
  4. Click Replace a few times to make sure the find/replace is doing what you expect it to. Once you are satisfied, you can click Replace All.

Notes:

  • In the Find, the code is separated into two parts, both surrounded by parentheses—the VA- part, which is a constant in what Colin had, and three question marks (???). A single question mark represents any single character, so by typing three question marks, you’re asking Word to look for ANY three characters (letters and/or numbers) after the VA- part. If you only had two characters, then you’d type two question marks; if you had 4, then you’d type four, etc.
  • In the Replace, you’re replacing what was found in both parts with itself. In other words, you’re not changing anything. What you are doing in the Replace, though, is specifying that what you find and replace with itself is now bold (step 3).

Method 2: Any number of characters

  1. In the Find field, type: (VA-)(*>)
  2. In the Replace with field, type: \1\2
  3. With your cursor still in the Replace with field, click Format, then Font, then select Bold. You should see Font: Bold directly below the Replace with field (see screenshot).
  4. Click Replace a few times to make sure the find/replace is doing what you expect it to. Once you are satisfied, you can click Replace All.

Notes:

  • In the Find, the code is separated into two parts, both surrounded by parentheses—the VA- part, which is a constant in what Colin had, and an asterisk followed by a right chevron arrow. The asterisk represents any number of characters from one to infinity. Because a ‘character’ in Word could be a space, you don’t want it to find EVERY character after the VA- part—you’d get the whole document! So you add the > to tell Word to stop at the end of the ‘word’ it finds. In other words, it will stop at any character that typically follows a set of adjacent characters (a ‘word’), such as a space, period, comma, colon, semicolon, etc.
  • In the Replace, you’re replacing what was found in both parts with itself. In other words, you’re not changing anything. What you are doing in the Replace, though, is specifying that what you find and replace with itself is now bold (step 3).

[Links lat checked September 2018]