Tips and tricks: keyboard shortcuts for editing text

by Bridget Blair AE

When working in Word for long periods of time, you can enhance your efficiency and greatly reduce the risk of RSI for your poor hands and wrists by getting familiar with Word’s keyboard shortcuts. The Control key (Ctrl), Shift and function keys are your friends – getting into the habit of using them can take some practice, but it’s worth the effort. No doubt you are using some of these already, but there may be some shortcuts you are unaware of. Try practising any new shortcuts one at a time until they become second nature. (Note, this article lists shortcuts for Windows only.)


Tips and tricks: a better way to print out your PowerPoint presentation (July 2019)

by Margie Beilharz

I recently found something better than PowerPoint’s usual ‘print Notes Pages’ format for printing out a presentation’s slides and notes together. As far as I can see, however, it seems to be only available in the PC version.

I don’t use PowerPoint often, but did a couple of months ago for my presentation at the 2019 IPEd conference. Because my talk had some visual aspects – showing various website features – I actually wrote it in PowerPoint. That is, I prepared my images and then added the accompanying text in the notes field. Then, of course, I wanted to print out my slides and talking notes so I could refer to my notes while up on the lectern.


Tips and tricks: finding figures and tables (April 2019)

by Margie Beilharz

This tip is something I discovered just the other day, and it came in very handy in a big report I was editing that had inconsistently applied caption styles and both numbered and un-numbered images. When I idly clicked on the arrow next to the magnifying glass in the search field, I discovered that you can search specifically for graphics, tables and equations. (You can also search for footnotes, endnotes and comments, but I already knew how to do this through the References and Review tabs.)

Find list 1


Tips and tricks: marking up PDFs (March 2019)

by Bridget Blair AE

PDF markup sm

In this digital age, when a manuscript is provided for proofreading in PDF form it can seem a laborious chore to print the pages out, mark them up by hand and then scan each page in order to return them – or worse, traipse down to the post office with a huge pile of paper.

There are a couple of approaches to marking up PDF files on screen, and it’s always best to check what the client is comfortable with before proceeding.


Tips and tricks: keyboard shortcuts in Word (December 2018)

by Margie Beilharz

Keeping your fingers on the keyboard can be more efficient than moving your hand from keyboard to mouse and back. Also, I find repetitive mouse movements to be more tiring for my hand than typing on a keyboard. For people with impaired vision, keyboard shortcuts are easier to use than selecting on-screen options. So knowing handy keyboard equivalents for menu options is very useful.

Keyboard shortcuts can be assigned to many (maybe all?) of the tasks you otherwise do in Microsoft Word using menus and your mouse. Some keyboard shortcuts even let you do things I don’t know how to do through menus. (You can also assign keyboard shortcuts to macros, giving you powerful actions at a keystroke, but I’ll not look at macros here.)


Tips and tricks: using your screen’s hotspots (November 2018)

by Margie Beilharz

There are a couple of neat tricks you can use, but (naturally) they vary somewhat between PCs (I'm using Windows 10) and Macs (I'm still on OS X El Capitan – delaying my upgrade to Mojave because it will render my Word 2011 inoperable).

Snap your windows in Windows

To open your document or window to full screen, select its title bar and drag it right up to the top of your screen (or even past the top). Easy peasy – it expands to fill your screen! I find this useful when I move a doc from one of my screens to another – the two screens I work with are slightly different sizes, but I can easily fill the new screen by dragging to the top as I move the doc over. You can also easily drag your doc to fill half the screen. Again, select its title bar and drag to the left edge to fill the left side, or to the right edge to fill the right side. There's more on this on Microsoft Windows support: Snap your windows.


Tips and tricks: opening your Word document in multiple windows (October 2018)

by Margie Beilharz

It can be really useful to look at your Word document in two separate, independent windows. And it's very simple, but unless you've played around with the menu options you may not be aware of it. To see how it works, first open up a Word document.

On my PC, I then go to the View banner and select New Window.



Tips and tricks: summarising changes in Word (August 2018)

by Margie Beilharz

A few months ago, I wrote about having trouble getting an author to see my tracked changes in Word (and showed a solution for that problem in PDFs). Since then, I’ve come across some solutions in Word too.

I wanted my client to see my tracked edits, but they seemed to not see the edits at all, even my comments. Maybe they were simply have inexperienced with Track Changes. I used a clumsy work-around at the time, but being able to give them a summary of edits and comments would have been very useful. This applies in other scenarios too, even for people who are familiar with Track Changes.

I found four main techniques for producing a summary of edits:

  • printing a list from within Word
  • using macros
  • installing an add-in
  • using PerfectIt.


Tips and tricks: making a PDF more readable with bookmarks (July 2018)

by Margie Beilharz

Let's say you've created or edited a report – it's all nicely laid out and you will be saving it as a PDF file. Before you do, take some time to think about PDF bookmarks. With a bit of forethought, you can make the document much more user-friendly than a long, unstructured PDF.

For one of my regular gigs (writing on health matters), I need to look up lots of scientific publications. Compare these two PDFs I downloaded recently.

The one with helpful bookmarks:

PDF bookmarks


Tips and tricks: post to your blog directly from Word (June 2018)

By Margie Beilharz

I'm insanely pleased to have discovered this, even though I don't actually blog very often. But I could have used it in jobs I've had in the past, and may even be tempted to blog more now!

Did you know you can post to a blog directly from Microsoft Word?


This is exciting for a number of reasons.

First, Word has a lot of formatting junk in it. Generally that means it's not a good idea to cut and paste from Word directly into your web page. You can end up with a lot of messy html that mucks up your page.


Tips and tricks: showing off your mark-up in PDFs (May 2018)

by Margie Beilharz

One of the funny things about working as an editor is that often you are not sure how familiar your author or client is with some of the software and techniques we tend to take for granted. Even editors vary in how familiar with are with features in Word, like styles, macros and templates. And I’m constantly amazed at the imaginative ways editors and others mark up PDFs. 

Last week, for example, an author couldn’t see my comments in a Word document with Track Changes until I pasted them right into the text and highlighted them – clearly not something you’d want to do for a document of any length. As this was just a quick, one-off piece I didn’t delve further into what they knew (or didn’t know) about Track Changes in Word. But perhaps they weren’t using Word, or perhaps they were using a device that presents documents quite differently from what I am used to.

I don’t have a quick solution to that problem in Word beyond communicating with the client, and perhaps educating them in how to use Track Changes. But I do have a PDF mark-up tip.


Tips and tricks: contracts and agreements (April 2018)

by Margie Beilharz

If you're a freelance editor and you get by on verbal or email agreements with clients, that probably works well until the day it doesn't. But creating a useful contract isn't simple – it requires expertise.

I attended Roslyn Copas's talk at the 2017 IPEd conference in Brisbane, which tackled this issue in quite a bit of detail. It's one of the talks now available (to members) as part of the recently posted conference proceedings.


Tips and Tricks: Editing Indigenous Content (March 2018)

by Margie Beilharz

Aboriginal flag over water

The majority of Australian editors are not Indigenous, and even with the best of intentions many of us don’t know how to ensure that Indigenous language, themes and stories are properly and respectfully treated in work that we edit.

This issue, which arises in both fiction and non-fiction, was discussed at the 8th IPEd National Conference of Editors in Brisbane, in the ‘black&write’ session with Dr Sandra Phillips. The transcript of the session is available on the blog of the State Library of Queensland, and makes interesting reading. The article recommends the following resources and articles:


Tips and Tricks: Google Your Business (February 2018)

by Margie Beilharz

Have you noticed that sometimes when you google a well-known person or a business you’ll get a box with a summary of relevant information on the right of the screen? This is the knowledge graph (like the one below on editor and author Sophie Cunningham), which contains information grabbed from various sources on the internet.

SC knowledge graph2

Having your website and, ideally, curated information come up in a knowledge graph when people google your name or business is a good way to stand out as a freelancer. It can even help people find your website if it isn’t the top link in a google search.


Tips and Tricks: Search All Your Open Browser Tabs or Bookmarked Pages (December 2017)

by Margie Beilharz

You’ll thank me for this one! As we know, editing can involve checking a lot of facts, and the number of open tabs on my browser window can quickly spiral out of control. Then it can be hard to remember which of the open pages had a particular piece of information or topic. If only you could search all your open tabs at once rather than searching each in turn.

It turns out you can – and have been able to for a while, but I’ve only just discovered this Chrome extension called Search Plus.



Tips and Tricks: Transcribing Interviews (November 2017)

headphones 791077 640

The time-consuming task of transcribing can be sped up with technology or by outsourcing – as long as, in both cases, the quality is good.

Rachel Smith (of jobs list service Rachel’s List), shared her interviewing and transcribing process in a blog post earlier this year. She explains the services she uses for recording interviews and outsourcing transcribing. If she is doing her own transcribing, she uses the free web app oTranscribe, which she described in this blog post.


Tips and Tricks: The Perils of Pauline – Editing Research Theses (October 2017)

Dr Diane Brown is a professional member of IPEd and Editors Victoria, and freelances full-time as an academic editor and consultant to Australian universities. A version of this article was first published in the South Australian branch newsletter, the Word (September 2017 issue).

Since I wrote this, I have heard from colleagues that the panel on academic editing at the Brisbane conference was lively and heated! It is regrettable that I could not attend. This article is my contribution to the ongoing discussion and debate on editing research theses.

There is an increasing interest in, and market for, editing and proofreading research theses.

This trend, tied to the exponential growth in the number of international students in universities (and other private educational institutions), is not about to reverse in the short term.


Tips and Tricks: Social Media Images (September 2017)

by Margie Beilharz

On Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media sites, posts with images get greater engagement than plain text posts. Irritatingly, though, they all have different requirements in terms of image sizes, and often you don’t want to spend ages working out what you need.

Here’s an article that takes all the guesswork out of it: The Ideal Image Sizes for Your Social Media Posts: Guidelines for All 6 Major Social Networks, with sizes current as of August 2017.

For those of us with little patience to customise, Kevan Lee even suggests two go-to sizes – 1024 x 512 pixels for landscape and 800 x 1200 pixels for portrait – that are generally useful across different social media feeds.

Tips and Tricks: Online Plagiarism (August 2017)

by Margie Beilharz 1024px Reess Cyclopaedia P

From time to time, editors find content from their website being used by others online. Whether it’s your description of services offered, posts you’ve written about editing, or your business name appearing to be associated with another business, it doesn’t do you any good and may actually harm your business. Sometimes the copying is outright plagiarism of content, sometimes your content may have been collected by a ‘web scraper’ tool – these collect content from the web for various purposes, and can collate it into new web pages (like the ones that show you the cheapest price for an item or that gather real estate listings).

I was reminded about this the other day when I was listening to a recent episode of the Recipe for SEO Success podcast by Kate Toon. In an episode dealing with the search engine optimisation (SEO) implications of duplicate content, she has some suggestions and resources for dealing with unauthorised duplication of your material.


Tips and Tricks: Holding a ‘Writing for Business’ Workshop (July 2017)

Editors Victoria members Dianne Wadsworth and Julie Cantrill share their experience of running a training workshop.

notepad pixabay

On 31 May 2017, Julie Cantrill and I, Dianne Wadsworth, conducted our very first workshop,' Writing for Business', in Frankston. We limited the number of attendees to approximately 10 so that everyone could feel part of, and contribute to, the workshop. The subjects covered were:

  • refreshing your writing skills
    • sentence structure
    • punctuation
    • writing techniques
  • confusing words
  • how to write a business blog (with an example for attendees to create and take away)
  • tools of the editing and proofreading trade.