Just because you’re an artist with words doesn’t mean that you should ignore how those words look after they hit the page. If there’s any reason to look away from a page and pass on a query, a busy editor will take it. Microsoft Word, which is the program most writers and editors seem to use, can do a lot of funny things to a document, if you leave it to its own devices.
Here are a few tips and tricks to keep Microsoft Word in line, and keep your .doc files looking professional.
When you paste text off the web into your document, it winds up looking like a ransom note — all sorts of different fonts. While you can use the ‘paste special’ tool to paste in text without fonts and other formatting, it’s easier to simply deal with all the text at once. By default, Microsoft Word has a drop down menu for Styles among all those other buttons floating above your document. All you have to do is select all your text and hit ‘Normal’ on that drop down, and all your text will be left aligned, 12 point, Times New Roman. If you don’t want those settings, you can set your own version of ‘Normal’, by accessing your preferences.
An added benefit of the ‘Normal’ trick is that it’ll wipe out those annoying blue URLs. Printing out a document with a website highlighted in blue won’t do you much good, especially on a black and white printer. Instead, it just looks a little odd and out of place.
Do you need to add a copyright symbol? Or maybe a trademark? Instead of writing out symbols, or trying to fake one with other other letters, you can insert a symbol. Under the ‘Insert’ menu is an option for ‘Symbols’ which will pick up a box listing out all the symbols associated with your font. Clicking on any of those symbols can pop it right into your document.
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