Monthly Archives: December 2017

How do I combine Word documents without losing the formatting?

I’ve written about how to combine Word documents in this article. But what if combining documents loses the formatting?

I had a question in a comment from someone who had used my method to combine several chapters of a textbook. But the formatting all got lost. What should she do?

How to combine Word documents and not lose the format

Before you combine the documents into one big document, add a Section Break at the end of each document you want to combine.

I’ve covered this in more detail in this article, but here’s a summary with a screenshot from Word 2013.

  • Go to the Page Layout tab
  • Find the Breaks section and drop it down using the little arrow
  • Select Section Break – Next page

Once you’ve done this to all your documents, combine them. You might find you have some extra blank pages at the end of sections: turn Paragraph Marks on (see this article for how to do that) so that you can see your Section Breaks. Carefully delete the blank pages but leave the section breaks there.

This should retain your individual formatting in each individual document that you’ve combined.

If you’ve found this article on how to combine Word documents without losing the formatting, useful, please comment or share using the buttons below. Happy document-combining!

Other useful articles on this website

How do I combine several Word documents?

How do I insert section breaks in Word?

Viewing paragraph marks and other mark-up


Posted by on December 21, 2017 in Copyediting, Short cuts, Word, Writing


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Fornication or formication? Bonus: vermiculation

Fornication or formication? Bonus: vermiculation

OK, hands up who’s actually got these two mixed up? I’m sharing this Troublesome Pair mainly because a) someone suggested it (who? I suspect it might have been Mr. Libro, who is a great source of inspiration for these) and b) isn’t the word formication excellent? There’s a bonus word in the works, too. I’d love to know which word you were looking up when you found this article – do share in the comments!

Fornication is officially the act of having sexual intercourse with someone to whom you are not married. The OED marks this as being “formal or humorous” which seems an amusing and odd pairing to me, but also quite true.

Formication is the sensation of having insects (it comes from the word for ant, also found supplying formic acid, which is emitted by some ants) crawling on your skin. It forms part of some medical conditions (or comes from having insects crawling on your skin).

And I’m always reminded of the word vermiculation by formication – it’s another word from the world of fauna, meaning marking with wavy or wiggly lines or, indeed, worm-eaten (the latter being “archaic” according to the OED. I’ve always come across the first meaning in relation to a particular type of decoration on stone, although if you have a look at this Wikipedia article, you’ll find it’s used in enamel work, too.

Don’t say you never learn anything here!

You can find more troublesome pairs here, and here’s the index to them all!


Posted by on December 13, 2017 in Errors, Language use



Seven top tips for the newbie blogger

Seven top tips for the newbie blogger

New to blogging? Asking “How do I set up a blog?” Not sure where to start? Here are my top seven tips for the newbie blogger.

I’ve assume here that you have something to blog about and you know you want to do it in the first place …

Under each heading, I’ve linked to more articles on this blog that will help you get more into the topic. I wanted to gather the basics in one place!

1. Sign up to a blog platform

Blogger, WordPress, it’s up to you. But you need to sign up to a specific blog platform in order to write a blog.

Bonus hint: Don’t pay for anything much at the start. WordPress has lots of free “themes” (setting the look of the blog and where all the menus go) and you might want to have your own domain name (think as opposed to but I don’t think that matters for a personal blog that’s not a business brand.

Find out more about starting out on WordPress here.

2. Write your first blog post

What’s a blog post? Think of it like a diary entry. Your blog will be updated regularly with new content appearing, which is not the same as a website which tends to have static pages full of information.

Bonus hint: There may be a blog post already set up with some sample text: WordPress does this. Overwrite the text, hit “Publish” and you’re off!

Find out more about writing blog posts here.

3. Set up an About Me page

You don’t need too much fancy stuff (like on this blog, I know) but it’s very useful to have an About Me page – this is a static page which can appear in your menu and tells your readers a bit about you.

Bonus hint: You don’t need to disclose your inside leg measurement or even your photo if you don’t want to. But a bit about who you are and where you’re from is more welcoming.

Find out more about setting up a page here, and, for advanced users, a landing page here.

4. Go no-ads

I get really put off when I’m reading a blog and adverts appear all over the place. Yes, people do manage to monetise their blogs with paid advertising – no, truthfully, you won’t be doing this for a while. WordPress has a no-ads package I renew every year. Use it to avoid annoying your readers.

5. Moderate comments

You will want to encourage readers to make comments on your blog, but you need to set up some form of moderation to avoid your blog comments being taken over by spammers. There will be a way to do this in your blogging software.

Bonus hint 1: Check your spam folder in your blogging software regularly as sometimes it will carefully send legitimate comments there

Bonus hint 2: I choose to moderate just the first comment a particular person makes, as I find a spammer will show their colours right away.

Find out more about moderating comments here and why we should do this here.

6. Engage with your readers

Build social capital … no, scrub that. Enjoy engaging with your readers. If they’ve taken the trouble to comment on your blog, take the time to respond to their comment!

Bonus hint: You’ll find more readers for your blog by commenting on other people’s and including your URL. Do this wisely, sensibly and without spamming, of course!

Find out more about engaging with your readers here and reciprocity across social media here.

7. Enjoy yourself!

Blogging shouldn’t equal slogging! There are various techniques to get your blog posts written, and obviously it can be more important to keep a business blog going than a purely personal one, but if you’re not enjoying it, it’s not worth it!

Bonus hint: If you find pumping out long articles a drag, try writing shorter, snappier pieces instead. There’s no word limit!

Find out more about why you should blog here, and why you shouldn’t here.

This has been a whistle-stop tour through my top seven tips for new bloggers, inspired by someone who wants to start a book review blog. I hope they – and you – have found it useful: do comment or share if you have!


Posted by on December 6, 2017 in Blogging, WordPress


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