KOK Edit: Your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM)
KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) Katharine O'Moore Klopf
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Thursday, October 02, 2014

Tips for Working with Authors Who Aren't Microsoft Word Experts

Edited manuscript with tracked changes and comment balloons
Microsoft Word is a handy tool, but even those who use it for writing research reports or books aren't necessarily familiar with all of its features. When I work with authors, I don't want reviewing edits to be painful for either them or me, so I take steps to make things easier for both of us.

Before sending edited files to authors for review, I lock the files so that every change the authors make is tracked, using Word's Track Changes function. When I get the files back for review, I don't want to find out that the authors have made changes that I can't easily spot and review. (Yes, I can run Word's Compare function on my edited file and the file that the author reviewed but did not track. However, that function doesn't display the differences between documents in the way I can best process them. Your experience with Compare may be different.)

Also, I always send authors who are unfamiliar with the Track Changes function or with Word's comment balloons the following:

  • A screen shot (an image file) of what an edited manuscript looks like with changes tracked and with comment balloons showing, so they'll know what they're supposed to be seeing on their screen
  • This explanation for how I want them to review my editing:
The Track Changes function in Microsoft Word is turned on in your manuscript file to make it easy for me to tell which are your edits and comments and which are my edits and comments. You will not be able to use the Accept/Reject Changes function. This is to ensure that I can easily find your changes or comments to review them. If you do not agree with a particular edit, please delete it, and this will be tracked by Word. If text must be added, please insert it, and this will also be tracked by Word. Please place your answers to my queries at the end of the appropriate query.

What tips do you have to share?

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5 comments:

Valerie Spanswick said...

This is really helpful, as is Shauna Kelly's article. I knew most of these things, but I never thought about locking the document (I assume you use the Restrict Formatting and Editing option?). What a great tip - thanks for sharing it!

Owen Salter said...

One question, Katharine -- how do you lock a file so that the author can make changes but can't accept/delete your changes?

Katharine O'Moore-Klopf said...

Valerie and Owen, these are the steps I take in Word 2010 to lock a document:

1. Click "Review" on the ribbon.

2. Click "Restrict Editing" on the "Review" menu.

3. Under "2. Editing restrictions" within the "Restrict Formatting and Editing" panel, click the box in front of "Allow only this type of editing in the document."

4. From the drop-down menu of choices that appears, choose "Tracked changes."

5. Under "3. Start enforcement," click the button "Yes, Start Enforcing Protections."

6. In the dialog box that pops up, enter a password, and then reenter it.

7. Click the "OK" in the dialog box.

When the author returns the reviewed document to me and I want to unlock the document, this is what I do:

1. Click "Review" on the ribbon.

2. Click "Restrict Editing" on the "Review" menu.

3. Click the "Stop Protection" button within the "Restrict Formatting and Editing" panel.

4. Type in the appropriate password in the dialog box that pops up.

5. Click the "OK" button in the password dialog box.

6. Uncheck "Allow only this type of editing in the document" within the "Restrict Formatting and Editing" panel.

Owen Salter said...

Thanks so much for such a full reply. I'll be using this for sure -- great tip.

Katharine O'Moore-Klopf said...

You're quite welcome, Owen. I'm glad I could help.

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