Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Editorium

From The Editorium's Website: Still working the hard way? If you're editing, writing, or typesetting in Microsoft Word, our program add-ins will save you time and money and improve the editorial and typographical quality of every project. If you're working on long documents (such as books), you'll find some of our programs indispensable. Click the blue links below to find out more. You may also be interested in our free newsletter, Editorium Update, which provides unusually useful tips on working in Microsoft Word.
Anyone who has done even a fair bit of formatting and typesetting in Microsoft Word knows how frustrating and problematic that software can be if you don't know all the quirky ins and outs of the program. I've spent twenty years formatting in Word from simple letters to dissertations to business proposals to book layouts, and I can safely say that automating as many simple formatting tasks as you can is a real time saver. I use a few macros of my own, I use styles, and I live and breath by Word's "find and replace" feature. All these features are uber useful for setting up the interior layout of a print book, but where they really shine is when you are reformatting that print book for epub. For example: optional hyphens, while critical to print book layout, become invisible when switching the manuscript to rag-right justification; however, they will reappear in the ebook, so you wind up with hyphens in odd places unless you delete them. Tabs too, and extra spaces ... all these fiddly little formatting nuances can become problematic when you convert to ebook, and stripping your manuscript of all its formatting, while recommended by Smashwords, is not very practical.

The Editorium offers a variety of time saving formatting programs including : Filecleaner, which is only $29.95. If you plan on formatting your own books and plan on formatting a lot of books in Word, then thirty bucks is a steal. At the very least, every self-publisher should know how to use the "find and replace" feature, and The Editorium has a free text download outlining some advance techniques that no self-published author should do without.

Formatting in Word doesn't have to make you crazy. Sure, I've been doing it for two decades, so I can reformat quickly and efficiently. I also do a fair bit of formatting on the side for other Indie authors, but I had to learn Microsoft Word inside and out because this was before all these snazzy little programs were made available. I still advise authors to learn the software, but as a stop gap, programs like this make the learning curve a bit smoother.

Cheryl Anne Gardner

1 comment:

L.K. Campbell said...

Thank you for posting about this. I'll check it out. The new MS Word is even more quirky and hard to figure to out than in past editions. I gave up and went back to the 2003 version. Sometimes I don't know what MicroSoft is thinking. Don't they realize that "ordinary (non-geek) people" have to the use their programs.