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Archived Author Help > Putting your Find/Search feature to good use

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message 1: by B.K. (last edited Apr 22, 2015 05:46AM) (new)

B.K. Raine (BKRaine) | 57 comments Technology has a big help during revisions. I have used tech to find overused words and root out adverbs (by doing search document for "ly"), currently using it to correct instances of passive voice after running a search for "was" and getting way more hits than I anticipated. I will also use find/replace to fix my double spacing habit. I wondered if there are any other uses for the find/replace function I am overlooking. Anyone?


message 2: by Quoleena (last edited Apr 22, 2015 06:50AM) (new)

Quoleena Sbrocca (qjsbrocca) I used it to find all the annoying Word instances of the backwards appostrophe curl, where it should face out at the beginning ('cause, 'em for example). I was writing a 19th century character, so I had lots of instances. With the search feature, I was able to swap with ease by adding a space before the apostrophe. If anyone knows how to get the curl facing the right way without having to type a letter first and then delete it, that would be great to know. Doing it that way slowed me down when I was writing some '75 gangster-type dialog. Though it would be simple enough just to type and search for them later.


message 3: by Ken (new)

Ken Doggett (kendoggett) The first thing I do when I start to edit is to do a search to check my usage of "it's" and "its," along with several other problem words that might get overlooked in the heat of writing the first draft.


message 4: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) I check for common mistakes like the one Ken mentioned and wrong use of there/their/they're, etc. I also have the extra space issue and I will do a search for a", b", c", etc to find missing punctuation because I know my keyboard quirks too well.
Quoleena I don't know if it would correct the quotes or not, but I have the issue where occasionally I get straight quotes on copied text, so I just do a replace " with " and ' with ' to fix those.


message 5: by Anita (new)

Anita (anitalouiserobertsonyahoocom) | 50 comments Quoleena, copy and paste correct ' and keep replacing throughout the doc


message 6: by M.E. (new)

M.E. Kinkade (mekinkade) | 17 comments Quoleena wrote: "I used it to find all the annoying Word instances of the backwards appostrophe curl, where it should face out at the beginning ('cause, 'em for example). I was writing a 19th century character, so ..."

Yes! Unfortunately even my copy of The Subversive Copy Editor: Advice from Chicago, (great book, by the way) has no better solutions! It sucks to go back and change them all, but you can use the find feature to locate them, and the replace feature to switch it to the curly quote. The add-two-erase-one method, however, is still fastest for making it face the right way.


message 7: by Morris (last edited Apr 22, 2015 08:20AM) (new)

Morris Graham (morris_g) When trying to add a backwards apostrophe curly quote, I find Word annoying. To do that, I play around a bit. Let's say, Tis a fine thing ye be sayin, just copy the right single curly quote after sayin, and place it before the Tis, like ’Tis a fine thing ye be sayin’. Word sucks for some things. I like to use the em dashes, so I have to place it on a notepad so I can copy and include it. (I know, you can go to insert>special characters, but that takes too much time.)

Morris


message 8: by M.E. (new)

M.E. Kinkade (mekinkade) | 17 comments Morris, I love the em dash, too. The keyboard shortcut is option+shift+dash (Word for Mac). It's not bad when you get the hang of it.


message 9: by Quoleena (last edited Apr 22, 2015 09:46AM) (new)

Quoleena Sbrocca (qjsbrocca) A. wrote: "Quoleena, copy and paste correct ' and keep replacing throughout the doc"

That seems like it would be quite slow and tedious. The search method is quick, but I want to do it as I type without having to type a letter just to erase it. I guess unless Word tweaks that, my two current methods are my only options. Ah well.


message 10: by Quoleena (new)

Quoleena Sbrocca (qjsbrocca) Morris wrote: "When trying to add a backwards apostrophe curly quote, I find Word annoying. To do that, I play around a bit. Let's say, Tis a fine thing ye be sayin, just copy the right single curly quote after s..."

Since there's not supposed to be spaces around the em dash, it's actually simple to include them. Type the last letter of a word then type two dashes with no spaces, then begin the next word, and Word will convert the double dash into an em dash. (Abcde--abcde.) To do it at the end of a quote to indicate someone being cut off, you'll have to add a letter or two before typing the end quote, then erase those random letters. Another quirky Word thing in that it only converts the double dash between letters.


message 11: by Ann, Supreme Overlord (new)

Ann Andrews (annliviandrews) | 687 comments Mod
Thank you for starting this thread B.K.! Excellent suggestions!


message 12: by Nick (new)

Nick Marsden (nepharid) | 12 comments I write in Word. But I do it with ALL Auto-Formatting turned off. (Change the settings and uncheck all the boxes for auto-formatting) This way, all quotes and apostraphe's are straight down, not curly.

Then, when I'm ready to publish, I go back to the settings and turn ONLY auto-curly apostraphe/quotes back on. Finally, I do a find/replace for ' to replace with ' and " to replace with " (yes, the same character). That way, the auto-formatter should format all the apostraphes and quotes with the proper curly marks.


message 13: by Nick (last edited Apr 22, 2015 03:28PM) (new)

Nick Marsden (nepharid) | 12 comments For dashes, I use en dash in hyphenated words and em dash for sentence breaks. While writing, (again, all formatting is turned off) I use a singel - for hyphenation and -- for sentence breaks. Then, I find and replace -- with "alt-0151" and - with "alt-0150" (on PC). This will replace with the proper dashes.

Bottom line: NEVER have auto-formatting enabled in Word.


message 14: by Morris (new)

Morris Graham (morris_g) You know, I don't have a Mac and I tried the "alt-0150" and it really doesn't work. Doesn't matter, though. If I had a mind to it, I could put -- every time I wanted an emdash, and when I was ready to finish the document. replace all -- with —. Replace all is the finest all-purpose editing tool there is. I use it more than anything else, because I create my books in Word, but also create my eBooks in notepad by hand. Rule of thumb—what you do to one, you have to do to the other.

Morris


message 15: by Quoleena (new)

Quoleena Sbrocca (qjsbrocca) You, don't have to replace it. Word converts it for you. One of the features that's helpful and not a hindrance!


message 16: by Morris (new)

Morris Graham (morris_g) Dunno. I tried it. Doesn't work.

Morris


message 17: by Quoleena (new)

Quoleena Sbrocca (qjsbrocca) What version are you using? Maybe that's the reason. I'm using 2010.


message 18: by Morris (new)

Morris Graham (morris_g) 2007


message 19: by Quoleena (new)

Quoleena Sbrocca (qjsbrocca) Maybe it wasn't added in that version. Sorry to get your hopes up! Any extra little thing to save time, right?


message 20: by Owen (last edited Apr 23, 2015 03:41AM) (new)

Owen O'Neill (owen_r_oneill) | 1509 comments Quoleena wrote: "I used it to find all the annoying Word instances of the backwards appostrophe curl, where it should face out at the beginning ('cause, 'em for example). I was writing a 19th century character, so ..."

There was a thread on this issue elsewhere, on which the best idea I saw (from Ken?) was to type the quote twice -- the second one will point the right way. Then delete the first. I've found that to be faster (for me) than doing a search & replace.

Now I see that is mentioned in #7 so I'll endorse it.


message 21: by Owen (last edited Apr 23, 2015 03:49AM) (new)

Owen O'Neill (owen_r_oneill) | 1509 comments Morris wrote: "You know, I don't have a Mac and I tried the "alt-0150" and it really doesn't work. Doesn't matter, though. If I had a mind to it, I could put -- every time I wanted an emdash, and when I was ready..."

Did you type the hyphen? Personally I use auto-correct to convert -- to alt 0151. (I use auto-correct a lot.)


message 22: by Ken (new)

Ken Doggett (kendoggett) Morris wrote: "You know, I don't have a Mac and I tried the "alt-0150" and it really doesn't work. Doesn't matter, though. If I had a mind to it, I could put -- every time I wanted an emdash, and when I was ready..."

I don't have a Mac, either, and alt 0150/0151 works for me. It appears that 0150 is the en-dash–, and 0151 is the em-dash—. Together: –—


message 23: by Ken (new)

Ken Doggett (kendoggett) Owen wrote: "There was a thread on this issue elsewhere, on which the best idea I saw (from Ken?) was to type the quote twice -- the second one will point the right way. Then delete the first. I've found that to be faster (for me) than doing a search & replace...."

Yes, that's the way I do it.


message 24: by P.D. (new)

P.D. Workman (pdworkman) For the alt-0150 trick on the PC, you have to type the numbers on the number pad, not the top row of numbers on the keyboard. So if you are using a laptop, you have to turn on num lock or press the function button or whatever the trick to use the number pad is.


message 25: by Ken (new)

Ken Doggett (kendoggett) P.D. wrote: "For the alt-0150 trick on the PC, you have to type the numbers on the number pad, not the top row of numbers on the keyboard. So if you are using a laptop, you have to turn on num lock or press the..."

You're right. I never noticed that. On the other hand, I rarely use the top-row numbers.


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