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How do I count the number of times a word appears in my document?

I was asked this question during the week, so here’s how to count how many times a particular word appears in a document (or spreadsheet or anything).

The easiest way to count the number of instances of a word is to use the Find function.

Access Find using Control-F (press the control key and F at the same time).

Type in the word you want to search for.

Word will find and highlight all instances of the word and highlight them for you – and will tell you how many times it appears!

Count instances of a word

Note: this search for transcription will find that word buried in other words, too – so TRANSCRIPTIONs and TRANSCRIPTIONist.

To find just the single word transcription, you need to use Advanced Find.

Click on the down arrow next to the search box and then choose Advanced Find:

2 Count instances of a word

Click the More button (which appears where Less is showing here) and then tick the box marked Find Whole Words Only:

3 Count instances of a word

Now Word will count and highlight just the instances of this exact word.

This article has taught you how to count how many times a particular word appears in your document. You can use this method in Excel and PowerPoint, etc. too.

If you’ve found it useful, please click like and share it. Thank you!

Other useful posts on this blog

How to search for anything using Control-F

How to count the words in your Word document

How to count the words in your PowerPoint presentation

Find and Replace

Advanced Find and Replace

 
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Posted by on August 3, 2016 in Excel, PowerPoint, Word, Writing

 

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What do I do when Word just won’t work (Word 2005, 2007, 2010, 2013 and 2016 edition)

Word 2010 Word 2016 Word 2013

Sometimes, Word gets itself into a pickle

People often contact me, either using the comments on blog posts or privately via email or my contact form, when they’re at the end of their tether with Word. Word has stopped working, Word won’t do what they want it to, the formatting in their document has gone weird, putting something in italics makes the overwrite button engage, the paragraph spacing just will not work, paragraphs keep going into bold BY THEMSELVES …

All of these things have happened to me or my correspondents.

Why does Word go wrong?

I’m not entirely sure why Word goes wrong. I think it sometimes just gets itself into a pickle; there are too many things, too many commands and codes, too much text … or the originating text comes from an unofficial or unregistered copy of Word, or has been converted from another program. Sometimes if something’s saved as and saved as, or worked over too much, like overworked pastry, it just. goes. wrong.

What do you do when Word goes wrong?

Well, I have three methods, which are not nice, and are certainly not fun, but do work most of the time. And as the latest person to contact me didn’t know about these, I’m going to share them with you now.

Before you do any of these, save your document and then make a copy to do all this with, just in case.

Method for sorting out major Word problems 1

  • Turn it off and turn it on again.

I know. But if Word gets into a pickle, sometimes SAVING, closing Word and reopening it can work.

Method for sorting out major Word problems 2

  • Copy the text – all of it.
  • Open a brand new Word document
  • Paste the text into it

This works in about 70% of cases.

Method for sorting out major Word problems 3

This one involves stripping out all the formatting. All your italics and your lovely bibliography. All your headings and styles. But sometimes it has to be done.

Note: There is a Clear formatting button in Word (in the Home tab, a little picture of an eraser rubbing out an ABC). But you don’t know that there isn’t something weird just outside where you’ve put the cursor. So I advise using this method.

  • Copy the text – all of it
  • Open a text editor
    • If you’re on a PC running any form of Windows, you will have Notepad as standard.
      • In Windows 7 do Start > All Programs > Notepad
      • In Windows 8 hit the Windows button > R > type in “Notepad”
      • In Windows 10 go to the magnifying glass in the bottom task bar and type in “Notepad”
  • Paste the text into the text editor
  • Open a new Word document
  • Copy and paste the text in the text editor into Word

It can literally not bring ANY formatting codes or bits and bobs through from your original document. But you will have to put all the formatting in again, from scratch.

I hope you’re found this useful. I know it might read like a bit of a blunt instrument, but if you have a Word document that is not behaving itself and you need to make Word work for you, sometimes this is the only way to do it!

If you have found this useful, do please comment and / or share using the options below. Thank you!

 

 
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Posted by on June 2, 2016 in Short cuts, Word

 

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How can I transcribe more quickly?

Because transcription is usually paid by the audio minute (i.e. if you have a 20 minute tape, you will be paid 20 x your per-minute rate), the faster (and more accurately) you transcribe, the more money you can make per hour. Here are some tips from my own experience about how you can transcribe more quickly. It’s not all about typing faster, either – it’s about typing faster and typing smarter and working smarter.

All links are to my own articles that explain the topics in greater depth.

Typing faster

One main way (but not the only way) to improve your transcription speed is to simply (ha!) type more quickly. Here are some tips on how to build your typing speed. The first one might surprise you ..

  • Number one tip: trim your fingernails.

I have studied this (because someone has to) and I can improve my typing speed by about 5% by trimming my nails. I can type more quickly when just the pads of my fingers are striking the keys. It also takes longer to wear the letters off your keys if you’ve not got long nails to scratch them …

  • If you’re serious about going into transcription, especially if you have a specialised medical or legal background where the fees are that bit higher, it’s worth investing in typing training – have a look at Pitman courses.
  • A decent keyboard will also help you to type more quickly. Have a look at my post on ergonomics and keyboards, as I cover that there in a lot of detail. But typing on a decent keyboard as opposed to bashing away at a laptop or netbook will improve your typing speed.
  • The more you type, the faster you’ll typically get, up to a point. So you might start off a bit slow, but your speed should pick up, if you’re touch-typing reasonably accurately.

Typing smarter

As well as physically typing faster, you can use technology to help you to transcribe more quickly and efficiently.

  • If you’re not using transcription management software, start doing so (read more on this here). This doesn’t do your typing for you, but it allows you to manage the speed of your tape and stop and start it in the most ergonomic way possible.
  • Use autocorrect to your advantage. I’ve written about this at length in another article, but these are the most important points for building speed and accuracy:
    • Set up common shortcuts right from the start – bec = because, w = with, nec = necessarily, etc. Add these are you come across them.
    • Set up any words you commonly misspell – you can do this when you’re spell-checking, as there’s an autocorrect option in the spell check dialogue box (I have trouble typing occurred correctly, for example).
    • As soon as you recognise commonly used words or phrases in your particular tape, get them into the autocorrect. Long album titles? The name of a big exhibition the artist is working on? Moisturiser and concealer in a set of interviews assessing makeup? If they come up more than twice, create an autocorrect for them.
    • If you’re typing the names of people in the conversation, have a convention, e.g. aa for the interviewer, bb for the first interviewee, change the autocorrected text for that shortcut for each tape (e.g. aa might be Interviewer for one tape, Manager for another, Anita for a third, bb might be Interviewee, Employee or Jane), and always use the same shortcut for the main and secondary person, so it’s super-easy to remember what to type.
  • How about using voice recognition software? This has got a way to go, and editing it, in my experience, takes as long as transcribing in the first place.

Working smarter

This is mainly around the things that delay you in doing the work – looking things up and distractions.

  • I look things up when I’m transcribing – band names, place names, etc. It’s far more professional to provide a transcription with the facts checked and anything you can’t hear or are unsure of marked. Make looking things up work the way you need it to:
    • I find it easist to look them up as I go along, you might finid that disturbs the flow. Do what’s best for you.
    • I have found from experience that if I can’t hear a word, especially a technical term or proper noun, often the interviewer will ask the interviewee to spell it out … just after I’ve spent ages looking it up. So let the tape run a bit and see if it helps you pick that information up without spending time searching for it.
  • I type for an hour at the very most, as after that length of time my posture droops and my typing slows. It might only be a stretch and a march up and down the stairs, but do break it up a bit. Read more about ergonomics here.
  • I do need to have the Internet turned on while transcribing, because I need to look things up, but I’m careful not to answer phone calls or even look at emails until my break. Nothing is that urgent it can’t wait, and three minutes spent looking at something, plus the time it takes to get back in the transcription zone, can lose a few minutes per hour of transcribing. It all builds up!

A final thought

I hope these tips have helped to give you some ideas about how to transcribe more quickly and efficiently. Here are two final thoughts …

  1. If you’re reading this and you’re a journalist or researcher, not a professional typist, especially if you can’t touch type, it’s probably a better idea for you to explore finding a transcriber to do it for you than to try to get faster. I can often transcribe a tape up to twice as fast as a non-professional, freeing my clients up to do their real jobs!
  2. However quickly you type, ALWAYS assume a job is going to take slightly longer than you think. Why do you think this is being posted on Thursday morning instead of Wednesday afternoon …?

If you’ve found this article useful OR if you have more tips for transcribing more quickly, please do comment below – I always love to hear from my readers! There are sharing buttons there, too, so you can share this on whatever social media platforms you use. Thank you!

Other useful articles on this blog

How do you start a career in transcription? – are you suited for it?

The professional transcriber – the technology you need

10 top tips for transcribers – what every new transcriber needs to know

Why do you need human transcribers, anyway? – I explain why!

Keyboards, ergonomics and RSI – the risks and keeping safe

Transcribing multiple voices – hints to make it easier

Why do transcribers charge by the audio minute? – explains it all

 
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Posted by on March 10, 2016 in Business, Transcription, Word

 

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What is a style sheet? For people using editors

DictionariesIf you work with a proofreader or editor on any project, either for a publisher or working independently or as a student, you might receive a Style Sheet from them with your corrected work. This article explains what a style sheet is, the purpose of a style sheet, and what might be included on it. I’ve also written this article to send to my clients so they understand what the document I’ve sent them is – so if you’re one of my clients, hello!

To make this article easier to read, I will refer to the person who has worked on your document as your “editor” – although I might refer to proofreaders in some places, too.

If you’re an editor or proofreader who wants to find out more about style sheets, I’ve written an article just for you, too.

What is a style sheet?

A style sheet is a list setting out the decisions that your editor has made on aspects of the layout and language of your document, in order to keep the document consistent.

It might include notes on what font is used, whether the text is left or fully justified, how particular words are capitalised or hyphenated, how much indent your indented quotations have, what is put in italics, etc. We’ll have a look at an example later on, but that’s a very short summary.

Why use a style sheet?

Especially if you’ve learned English as a second or other language, you will know that the English language is not consistent, and it doesn’t even have proper rules for some things! This can be really frustrating, as two people might do things in two different ways, BOTH of which are correct.

For example, in English …

  • we can use -s- spellings or -z- spellings in words like “organisation”
  • we can capitalise or not capitalise words like Chapter 1 or experiment 2
  • we can use orient or orientate
  • we can hyphenate or not hyphenate pairs of words like policy-maker

And that’s before you get to decisions like …

  • are you going to use 20%, 20 per cent or twenty per cent?
  • are you going to describe America as America, the United States, the US, the USA, the U.S. etc. etc.?
  • are you going to use double inverted commas for quotations and single inverted commas for concepts, or vice versa?
  • are you going to refer to other research as (Brown, 2003; Green and Jones, 2005, p. 23) or (Brown 2003, Green & Jones 2005:23) or any other variant

Now, the important thing with all of these is to keep it consistent.

Some of these rules might be set down in a style guide or referencing guide (see below). But whether you and your editor are working to a style guide or not, it’s useful to have these decisions written down in one place for you both to refer to.

What’s the difference between a style guide, a referencing guide and a style sheet?

A style guide is a specific guide to how to deal with things like the above decisions – famous ones include Oxford Style in the UK, APA Style and Chicago Manual of Style and AP Stylebook in the US.

A referencing guide is a specific way of writing out references to work you are talking about in your dissertation or book – an example is Harvard referencing.

Some universities and many publishers and marketing agencies etc. will have their own guides which documents published under their name or submitted to them will have to have.

In this case, I could do without a style sheet and just refer my client to … well, a massive website or a giant book. Maybe not. In that case, I’ll note which style guide or referencing system I’ve used and still write out any important points which will impact the document in question.

Please note that I (and I imagine most editors) have favourite style decisions – I prefer orientate to orient, for example, and where there is no clear preference in the text, I will go for my preferred option. If, however, the text itself has 33 orients and 2 orientates, I will go with the majority.

This also means that some parts of the following examples might jar with any editors reading this – they are only examples!

What does a style sheet look like?

Here’s an example style sheet with some of the decisions I might make …

style sheet 1

This is a standard style sheet – I tend to go from the general (the whole layout, all quotations, the tenses used) down to the particular …

style sheet 2

What should I do with the style sheet my editor has sent to me?

Good question – now you understand why your editor has sent you a style sheet and what it’s for … well, why does it matter and what should you do with it?

Here are some important uses of the style sheet:

  1. It will help you to understand some of the changes your editor has made.
  2. If your editor has just edited one chapter, they might send you the style sheet with that chapter and ask you to look through it and check you agree with everything on it. They might even send over some queries – if it’s not clear which option my client prefers, I will highlight the choice and ask them to look at it. If you don’t agree, let them know straight away, then they might change it if it’s not a rule of grammar that can’t be flexible.
  3. If your work is going to be edited by more than one person, they will share a style sheet to make sure it is edited consistently.
  4. If you are planning to add to the document, you can make sure that any additional text you write is consistent with the text that your editor has already checked.
  5. If you have been through edits and your document is going to be proofread, send the style sheet to your proofreader, then they will know what choices the editor has made, and will be able to look out for any errors much more easily.

——-

In this article, we’ve learned what a style sheet is, why it’s used, how a style sheet is different from a style guide and referencing guide, but backs them up, and what to do with a style sheet when you’ve been sent one, as well as seeing an example of one. I hope this helps you: do comment and/or share this article using the sharing buttons below if you’ve found it useful!

Other relevant posts on this blog

Style sheets for editors and proofreaders

 
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Posted by on January 14, 2016 in Copyediting, proofreading, Students, Writing

 

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How do I combine several Word documents into one document?

This article explains how to combine several Word documents into one document. It’s particularly useful if you’ve written a dissertation, thesis or book and need to combine all of the chapters into one file.

These instructions work for Word 2007, Word 2010 and Word 2013; I’ve used Word 2010 for the screenshots

Why would I want to combine chapters into one document?

Lots of people do their writing a chapter at a time, and have it edited a chapter at a time, too. But the time will come when you want to put it all into one book, with page numbers running throughout, rather than messing around starting the page numbers for chapter 2 at the next number on from chapter 1, etc.

What’s the incorrect way to combine my chapters?

You might be tempted to pick up the text of each chapter and copy and paste it into one document. That can lead to issues and inconsistencies. This is the correct way to do it and actually takes less time and avoids you leaving out any bits of your individual chapters.

How do I prepare to combine my documents?

It’s pretty easy to combine several documents into one, however the most important point is …

The file names must be in the order that the chapters are going to be in.

Word will combine your chapter files in alphanumerical order.

If you have called your chapter files

Chapter 1 introduction

Chapter 2 review of the literature

Chapter 3 methodology

Chapter 4 conclusion

then that’s fine, they will combine in that order.

If you have called your chapter files

Introduction

Review of the literature

Methodology

Conclusion

then Word will carefully sort them alphabetically into

Conclusion

Introduction

Methodology

Review of the literature

when it combines your documents.

The best thing to do is add a number 1, 2, 3, etc at the start of your file names BEFORE YOU START COMBINING, so you know they will come out in the correct order.

How do I combine my documents?

OK, so we’ve got, say, four documents or chapters to combine into one.

First, open a new, blank document (using the Home button, New, and choosing a blank document)

Then, click on the Insert tab and find Object in the Text area:

1 insert tab

Click on the arrow to the right of Object to get the drop-down menu, and click on Text from File:

2 insert text from file

Now navigate to your files and select the ones you want to combine.

3 find your files

Hold down the Control Key and click on all the ones you want to combine (or click on the top one, hold down Shift and click on the bottom one if you want all of them). Once you have them all highlighted, click Insert.

4 select files

Note: it doesn’t matter what order you are displaying them in or what order you click them in, it will choose them and insert them in alphabetical or numerical order, as I mentioned above.

Now you will have one big document including all of your chapters!

5 combined

And … if you had footnotes in the documents, and had set page numbers to show, they will automatically update in the combined document to be numbered consecutively (if you want start your footnote numbering at 1 for each chapter, you’ll need to look at my posts on footnotes and endnotes).

Don’t forget to save your document!

—–

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.

If you have enjoyed this post and found it useful, please click on the “share” buttons below or tell your friends and colleagues about it! Thank you!

Please note, these hints work with versions of Microsoft Word currently in use – Word 2007, Word 2010 and Word 2013, 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!

Find all the short cuts here

 
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Posted by on September 3, 2015 in Errors, New skills, Word, Writing

 

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Editing and the Table of Contents – for editors and writers

This article is all about what happens when a document that includes a Table of Contents (and a Table of Figures and/or a Table of Tables) is edited. There are a couple of pitfalls which I have encountered as an editor, and I wanted to share them with fellow editors AND writers, to help other people avoid them.

Scroll down to the bottom for a summary of advice to editors and writers if you’re not worried about the detail.

Please note that there are more detailed instruction on updating a Table of Contents in this article.

What’s the problem with Tables of Contents and the editing process?

If a document with an automated Table of Contents is being edited, the editor has two choices (and the writer will find that their editor has done one of two things):

  1. Mark any changes to headings in both the Table of Contents and the actual heading in the main text
  2. Mark any changes to headings in just the actual heading in the main text, then someone updates the Table of Contents

Let’s look at the risks with these in turn.

1. Mark any changes to headings in both the Table of Contents and the actual heading in the main text

Issue 1 – Awkwardness for the editor. To do this, you will have to have a split screen with the contents page in the top half and the text in the bottom, or you’ll have to whizz up and down the document and make sure you make the same correction in both places.

Issue 2 – Keeping things consistent. a) The editor will have to make the same change in both places, and b) the writer will have to make the same choice to reject or accept the change in both  places.

As an editor, if I do this, I place a comment linked to the words “Table of Contents” reminding the author to make the same choices here and in the main text.

If the Table of Contents is not automated, I a) suggest that the author creates one (or has me create it, if appropriate) and b) I place the comment above by the words “Table of Contents” to remind the author to keep it consistent.

2. Mark any changes to headings in just the actual heading in the main text, then someone updates the Table of Contents

If the Table of Contents is automated, this is what I tend to do.

There are two options here:

Option 1 – The writer wants a “clean copy” not one with tracked changes marked: the editor can update the Table of Contents once they’ve done their edit and accepted all changes. Everything will now match.

Option 2 -The writer wants (or needs, in the case of students) to see the tracked changes and make their own decisions on what to accept and reject. In this case, the writer will need to update the Table of Contents once they’ve gone through the changes.

Option 2 is the most common in my experience.

If the writer needs to update the Table of Contents themeselves, I always add a comment to the words “Table of Contents”:

“Please remember to update this Table of Contents after you have accepted or rejected all of my changes, to make sure that the table reflects the document accurately. Please choose Update entire table rather than Update page numbers only”.

An important choice – what to update in the Table of Contents

This information is for editors and writers.

Whether the editor or writer is updating the Table of Contents, once you’ve clicked on Update Field, you are given the choice of Update page numbers only or Update entire table:

update page numbers or all fields

It is vitally IMPORTANT that you choose “Update entire table”. This will update any changes to the headings and any changes to the page numbers. If you click on “Update page numbers only”, and any headings have been changed in the text, this will NOT be reflected in the Table of Contents.

For authors: updating your Table of Contents when your work has been edited

  • Always update your Table of Contents when your work comes back from your editor, unless they have told you that they’ve already done it
  • Always choose “Update entire table” to make sure that everything in the Table of Contents matches your actual document

For editors: updating or instructing on editing the Table of Contents

  • Always leave a note for the writer explaining what you’ve done or what you need them to do
  • If you are updating the Table of Contents yourself, always choose “Update entire table” to make sure that everything in the Table of Contents matches the actual document (I would still leave a reminder for the writer to do the same after they’ve made any final changes)
  • If you need the writer to update the Table of Contents once they have dealt with your suggestions, leave a note explaining that, and make it clear that they must “Update entire table” when doing so

—–

This article has discussed issues around updating a Table of Contents when a document is edited. if you have enjoyed this article or found it useful, please share it using the sharing buttons below.

Other relevant posts on this blog:

How to create a contents page in Word

Tables of figures and tables of tables

How to update a Table of Contents, Figures or Tables

 
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Posted by on July 22, 2015 in Errors, New skills, Word, Writing

 

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How to update your Table of Contents, Table of Figures or Table of Tables

This article explains how to update the Table of Contents (Contents Page) or Table of Figures or Table of Tables in your Word 2007, 2010 or 2013 document, which could be a report, dissertation, thesis, book or anything else. To find out how to create a Table of Contents in Word, please refer to this article. To find out how to create Tables of Figures and Tables of Tables, please refer to this article. We’ll refer to it as “Table of Contents” in this article, but this works for all kinds of contents listings.

Why would I want to update my Table of Contents?

If you create a Table of Contents for a document but then change the actual document, it’s likely that you will also change …

  • One or more headings (maybe swapping between Title Case and Sentence case or just changing the wording)
  • What page a heading falls on (and all the other headings after it) (maybe by adding text or just moving a heading to join its text on the next page)

Although a Table of Contents will update to match the actual contents “automatically”, you have to tell it to do so. This is how to update your Table of Contents so that it matches what your reader will find in the actual document.

How do I update my Table of Contents?

First of all, hover your cursor over the Table of Contents. It should be highlighted in light grey. Right click on any part of the grey area:

update contents page word

This will give you a menu – you need to select Update Field:

update contents page - update field

Once you’ve clicked on Update Field, you are given the choice of Update page numbers only or Update entire table:

update page numbers or all fields

Choose wisely – see below! Once you’ve chosen, click OK and your Table of Contents will update!

When to update page numbers only in your Table of Contents

You might want to Update page numbers only if …

  • You are absolutely sure that you have only changed what text / heading is on what page (but you could still Update entire table anyway, just to be certain)
  • You have manually amended your Table of Contents (e.g. one heading was too long to fit on a line and you shortened it) AND you know you haven’t changed any heading text in the actual document.

In the second case, when you’ve manually amended the contents page, if you choose Update entire table, it will over-ride your manual change and replace it with the exact text that is in your heading in the main document, and you’ll have to manually update it again.

Apart from the case where you have manually edited the Table of Contents, I STRONGLY SUGGEST that you always choose Update entire table.

When to update entire table in your Table of Contents

I highly recommend that you always use this option. In this way, your Table of Contents will match the text of your document.

This is especially important to remember if someone else has amended and edited your document.

—–

In this article, we have learned how to update a Table of Contents, Table of Figures or Table of Tables. If you have enjoyed this article or found it useful, please share it using the sharing buttons below.

Please note, these hints work with versions of Microsoft Word currently in use –  Word 2007, Word 2010 and Word 2013, 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!

Find all the short cuts here

Other relevant posts on this blog:

How to create a contents page in Word

Tables of figures and tables of tables

 
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Posted by on July 15, 2015 in New skills, Short cuts, Word, Writing

 

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