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Category Archives: Writing

I want to publish my book but I’m confused! Do I need an editor, a line editor or a proofreader?

a hand writing in a bookI was recently writing back to a prospective client who had got very confused about the different types of editing and proofreading and the process needed for publishing their book. I sent them some resources from this blog and thought it might be useful to share those here, too.

So, here are some articles I’ve written about the different kinds of editing, the process of editing and proofreading (and where your beta readers fit in to that process) and how to make sure your editor and proofreader are, ahem, on the same page. At the bottom are two articles I’ve written about how to deal with an editor – that can feel like an alarming process in itself, so hopefully I’ll reassure you there!

This one talks about the different kinds of editing and proofreading (it’s biased towards fiction but also works for non-fiction):

https://libroediting.com/2014/05/22/do-i-need-editing-or-proofreading/

This one sets out the processes you go through and their order:

https://libroediting.com/2016/10/19/what-questions-should-i-ask-my-beta-readers/

It’s certainly best to have different people do the edit and final proofread, as it’s not great to have the same eyes going over and over a text (that’s why we can’t proofread our own work!). If you use two people for these stages, make sure your editor provides you with a style sheet to pass on to your proofreader – more on style sheets here:

https://libroediting.com/2016/01/14/what-is-a-style-sheet-for-people-using-editors/

And when you’re ready to talk to an editor (or proofreader), here are two articles explaining that side of the process, so you and your prospective editor can experience a smooth process and happy negotiation:

How to request a quotation from an editor:

https://libroediting.com/2016/11/30/working-with-an-editor-1-how-do-i-request-a-quote-from-an-editor-or-proofreader/

Ideas on negotiating and booking in your project:

https://libroediting.com/2016/12/07/working-with-an-editor-2-how-do-i-negotiate-with-an-editor-or-proofreader-and-book-my-project-in/

I hope you’ve found this very quick guide to dealing with the complexities of getting your book edited and proofread, and how to deal with contacting an editor, useful. If you have, please share this article using the buttons below, or leave me a comment. Thank you!
 
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Posted by on June 27, 2018 in Copyediting, proofreading, Writing

 

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Instant or instantaneous?

What’s the difference between instant and instantaneous? Is there in fact a difference?

There are lots of pairs of words that mean the same thing, but one has a precise meaning and the other has a range of meanings. Now, if there are two words with subtly different meanings, I’m all for keeping both of them and retaining the richness of our wonderful language, etc. But when one just covers a subset of the other’s meanings, I’m not, to be honest, quite sure. At least here there seems to be a technical term lurking around which will keep the smaller (yet longer!) word going.

So, instantaneous, to cover the smaller meaning first, means being done or happening instantly. It does have a specific meaning in physics around being measured or existing at a particular time.

Instant means occurring immediately, as you would expect, as well as a precise moment in time or a very short time. It also means something that’s processed to allow it to be prepared quickly, in the case of food, mainly, Also, and I dimly remember this from when I learned to type in the Dark Ages, it means “of the current month” (your letter of the 16th instant) although surely no one uses that now?

Both of them come from the same original source, from Latin for “be at hand” (instare), but instantaneous came through medieval Latin, which added -aneus to the original instant (thank you, Oxford English Dictionary for that information). I would advise using instant unless you’re a physicist, just to save complication and make it easier to read.

You can find more troublesome pairs here and the index to them all so far is here.

 
 

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Complicated or complex?

DictionariesThis one was suggested by Neil Langley posting on my main Troublesome Pairs post.

So what is the difference between complex and complicated? Is there one?

The answer is that their meanings overlap. The main dictionaries in the US and UK (Oxford, Merriam-Webster, etc.) define complex using the word complicated, so the adjective complex means made up of many different parts, or complicated. Complicated means consisting of many interconnecting parts, or intricate. So very similar.

The noun complication moves on to describe something that makes something complicated, a complex state (there we go again) and in medical terminology, a disease or condition that is secondary to the main one but makes it worse.

Complex as a noun can mean a few more things – an interlinked system (the military-industrial complex), and then Oxford links but Merriam-Webster lists separately, a group of interlinked buildings. It also has a meaning in psychology of a group of emotionally significant but repressed ideas which cause an abnormal kind of behaviour or an abnormal state (a persecution complex), and by extension, a more pop-psych preoccupation or exaggerated reaction (I have a complex about spiders). There’s a chemical meaning to do with connections, too.

So the nouns vary, but if you’re describing something made up of lots of different things that might be a bit confusing or intricate, it can be complicated OR complex.

Having done some rooting about, I did discover this Washington Post resource claiming to delineate a difference.

You can find more troublesome pairs here and the index to them all so far is here.

 
 

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How do I know when Track Changes is turned on? Word 2007, 2010, 2013 and 2016

This article quickly explains how you know when track changes is turned on.

Do also read these articles to find out more about track changes: what Track Changes is, why we use it and where to find it, and how to customise Track Changes to suit our own preferences and learned how to work with a document that has Tracked Changes.

We turn on track changes to make sure that whoever else is using the document can see what changes (additions, deletions, moving text) we have made in the text. If you are working with an editor, they will typically turn track changes on so you can see what they have suggested. When my clients send me back amendments to a text they’re working on, I ask them to turn track changes on so I can see easily what they have done to the document.

How do I know when track changes is turned on in Word 2007 and Word 2010?

Word 2007 and Word 2010 look a bit different from later versions.

When track changes is turned on, you will see the button highlighted in orange:

This means that every change you make will be displayed in Word and other people will be able to see them if they have the correct view in their version of Word.

If the button is white, like the rest of the area, track changes it not turned on.

How do I know when track changes is turned on in Word 2013 and Word 2016?

Word 2013 and Word 2017 look different and the highlighting is more difficult to see, in my opinion.

When track changes is turned on, you will see the button highlighted in blue-grey:

This means that every change you make to the document will be displayed in Word and other people will be able to see them if they have the correct view in their version of Word.

When track changes is off, the button will be white, like the rest of the area.

If you want highlighting to be in a different colour, you will need to change the theme, and that’s for another article!


This article has taught you how to check whether you have track changes turned on in your Word document. See the links below for more track changes articles.

If you have found this article useful, please share or “like” it using the buttons below, or leave me a comment to tell me what you think. Thank you!

This is part of my series on how to avoid time-consuming “short cuts” and use Word in the right way to maximise your time and improve the look of your documents.

Please note, these hints work with versions of Microsoft Word currently in use – Word 2007, 2010, 2013 and 2016 all for PC. Mac compatible versions of Word should have similar options. Always save a copy of your document before manipulating it. I bear no responsibility for any pickles you might get yourself into!

Relevant articles on this website

Track changes 1 – why use it, where can you find it, what can you do with it?

Track changes 2 – customising Track Changes

Track changes 3 – working with a document with tracked changes

How do I accept one reviewer’s changes?

Why are my tracked changes changing colour?

 

 
 

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How do I move text using my Navigation pane in Word? How do I reorder the headings?

If you have set up Headings styles in your Word document, you can use the Navigation pane to move sections around the document without having to use cut-and-paste and endless scrolling. This article tells you how.

 

Note that this only works if you have applied headings styles to your document, i.e. marked your headings as Heading 1, Heading 2, etc. (see information on how to do this here).

How do I access the Navigation pane?

Please see this article with screen shots if you need help viewing the Navigation pane:

Press Control-F

or

View tab, tick the box next to Navigation Pane Show

How do I use the Navigation pane to move text?

You can use the Navigation pane to move all of the text under one heading. If you choose a heading with sub-headings, all of the text in the sub-headed sections will also move.

First, click on the heading for the text you want to move:

You can see that you will navigate to that heading in the document itself.

Then keep left mouse button clicked down and drag the heading up or down the list of headings (it will scroll automatically if you reach the top or bottom). A black line will appear at the insertion point:

When you’ve got the heading where you want it, let go of the mouse button to drop it into position. The whole of the text under that heading (including the text under any sub-headings) will have now moved:


This article has taught you how to move text under headings using the Navigation pane in Word. I hope you’ve found this article useful. Do please add a comment or use the sharing buttons below if you have found it useful or interesting. Thank you!

Other useful articles on this blog

Applying Heading Styles

How to Access the Navigation Pane

 
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Posted by on January 31, 2018 in Word, Writing

 

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How do I view my Navigation pane in Word? How do I see the headings in a list?

If you have set Headings Styles in your Word document, you can view the headings in your document using the Navigation pane. This article tells you how.

Why do I need to look at the Navigation pane?

If you have a long document with lots of headings, it’s really useful to get a view, a bit like a Contents page, showing all your headings and sub-headings.

The Navigation pane also gives you a handy way to move sections of your document around without too much copy-pasting and scrolling. Watch out for instructions on that, coming soon!

Note that this only works if you have applied headings styles to your document, i.e. marked your headings as Heading 1, Heading 2, etc. (see information on how to do this here). If you haven’t applied headings styles, Word can’t know what’s a heading and what’s normal text, so won’t be able to display your headings in the Navigation pane.

How do I access the Navigation pane?

Initially, your document will look like this: just the text on a page:

There are two ways to access the Navigation pane:

1. Press the Control and F keys at the same time.

2. Go to the View tab and tick the box next to Navigation Pane Show

In both cases, if you have headings set up in your document, you will now see the Navigation pane on the left-hand side of your screen:

You can see here that you have the top-level headings and sub-headings showing in your Navigation pane.

Make sure you are in headings view by checking the tabs at the top. You should be on the left-hand one:

How do I use the Navigation pane?

You can click on any heading in the Navigation pane to move directly to that heading in the document. For example, clicking on the “All about Twitter” heading in my Navigation pane will take me to that heading:

You can also use the Navigation pane to move chunks of text around, but I’ll talk about that in another article.

How do I close the Navigation pane?

You can close the Navigation pane using the x in the top right corner of the pane, or by unticking Navigation pane show.


This article has explained what the Navigation pane is, why you might find it useful and how to use it to view your document headings.

I hope you’ve found this article useful. Do please add a comment or use the sharing buttons below if you have found it useful or interesting. Thank you!

Other useful articles on this blog

Applying Heading Styles

 
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Posted by on January 17, 2018 in Word, Writing

 

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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

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

 

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