If you’re an editor, making Word work hard for you is a must. The new and revised edition of Editing in Word 2016 is one of my recommended resources. Here's why.
I’m a fiction editor who works solely for indie authors and self-publishers. I work on raw-text files, and Microsoft Word is one piece of software that I cannot afford to be without.
Word has its snafus but I don’t know of any word-processing software that comes close to offering its superb functionality. I don’t just edit in Word; I’ve also created print- and digital-ready books directly in it.
So when fellow editor and author Adrienne Montgomerie asked me to review the second edition of Editing in Word 2016, I couldn’t wait to get stuck in. I’ve been using Word since 1991, so could Montgomerie teach this old dog a few new tricks? How about younger pups?
Let’s see ...
More than an ebook
This is a digital self-study course. Yes, you get the ebook with all the contextual information and foundational teaching. But there are also videos that show Word in action, and a bunch of exercises with which to practise what you learn at each stage of the process.
I love the fact that the advice is actionable. You read, you see, you learn, and then you do. There’s no better way to ensure it’s all sunk in.
A focus on core tools
‘We need a resource that gets right to the tools editors can’t live without; the tools that make our job easier and faster. We need to know about the tools that are the very reason we use Word at all.’
PREFACE, Editing in Word 2016
We certainly do. Here are some of the tools that Montgomerie focuses on:
If you don’t know 8 out of 10 of the above tools inside out, you’re likely not as efficient or productive as you could be. That alone makes this course a worthy purchase.
That it’s a steal at just under 25 quid (excluding VAT) makes it a no-brainer.
Let’s dig a little deeper ...
Screens, operating systems and how we work with Word
One of the best things about this course is its acknowledgement that editors work in different ways.
This course is rammed with useful and actionable tips on how to get stuff done and in ways that respect your preferences. For example:
And along the way, Montgomerie includes ‘Pro tips’, ‘Read more’ and ‘Troubleshooting’ callouts to keep you on track.
I’m a big fan of multimedia learning. And when it comes to editing, sometimes just hearing your tutor’s voice and watching them go through the motions onscreen can trump the written word.
In addition to the ebook, there's a support website with 27 video tutorials for both Mac and Windows users.
This feature is excellent. I’ve come across a lot of editors who’d like to enhance their digital skills but are held back through fear. Montgomerie takes the stress away via accessible walkthroughs that even the most tech-nervous of nellies will be able to follow.
Here are just 3 examples:
Practice makes perfect
There are 24 exercises in this course that help you to hone your skills and start doing what’s written in the book and shown in the videos.
Just a few examples include:
A note on versions
This course was created in 2017 using Word 365 on Windows 10 and Sierra OS. Given that the author’s using the latest software and operating systems, you might find that the instructions need a little tweaking here and there if you’re using medieval Word (or should that be Wordeth?)!
For example, older versions of Word might have different ribbon displays, icons and menu options.
That’s unavoidable, and a reminder that, as professionals, we should be aspiring to use up-to-date equipment. I’d prefer my dentist not to fill my teeth with 10-year-old composites; we should treat our clients similarly.
Did I learn anything new? Yes, I did. But editorial training isn’t just about finding out what you don’t know; it’s also great for affirmation of what you do know. I was pleased to learn from a pro that a lot of my Word usage is on track.
Here’s another thing, though: there are functions in Word that I use infrequently (e.g. erasing time stamps). I know it’s possible but I’ve simply forgotten how.
And instead of trawling Google or spending valuable time asking questions in editing forums, I can have Editing in Word open on my desktop. From there, I can search, locate and solve my problem in seconds.
I recommend this without reservation for any editor who wants to get the very best from Word with a one-stop shop, especially those who've been held back by fear. Montgomerie will take that away from you – I promise.
Louise Harnby is a line editor, copyeditor and proofreader who specializes in working with crime, mystery, suspense and thriller writers.
She is an Advanced Professional Member of the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP), a member of ACES, a Partner Member of The Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi), and co-hosts The Editing Podcast.
Visit her business website at Louise Harnby | Fiction Editor & Proofreader, say hello on Twitter at @LouiseHarnby, connect via Facebook and LinkedIn, and check out her books and courses.
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