Word Processing: 10 Cool Keyboard Tricks

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While editing a manuscript, I found a need to make the process faster with the use of hotkey (keyboard shortcuts), wildcards, and some keyboard tricks to get things done.

These work only in MS Word.

Doing this

Does this

Pressing the dash key 3x will create a horizontal line in your document

== =

Pressing the equal key 3x creates a double line in your document

Ctrl   H

Opens the Find/Replace feature.

Ctrl  E

Aligns text and graphics to center

=rand(08,10)

Type this in your document creates random text if you ever need to add random text.

^p^p

^p

Using Find/Replace, put ^p^p in Find and ^p and this removes manual spaces between paragraphs

Ctrl  SHIFT  m

Inserts a comment where you put your cursor in the document.

SHIFT  F7

Pressing these two keys open the built in Thesaurus. You can often find synonyms by RIGHT-CLICKING over a word. You will choices of words to use.

LEFT CLICK

The mouse

Clicking a word twice will highlight the word. Click three times, and you select the entire paragraph.

 

Find these useful? Share with your friends, subscribe, or leave a comment to let me know. If you have any questions or ideas you’d like me to post a blog about, leave me a note.

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Google Drive for Writers

driveforwritersToday I want to share with you some elements of the free Google service known as Drive. This is something like a cloud drive (you can backup files) but also an online program suite. I will be discussing mostly the Docs features.

Google Drive includes:

Docs– This is an online word processor that is compatible with Microsoft Office, OpenOffice, and even Microsoft Works.

Sheets– A spreadsheet compatible with Office, Open office, and Works.

Slides – A presentation service that easily integrates into web sites or shared with others. Compatible to open files from Office and OpenOffice.

Forms – A service to create and compile information from forms. Includes easy to use templates, click and build features, and saves data to the drive for access later.

Drawing– This includes an online service to create or edit graphics. Saves as PDF, JPG, SVG, and PNG.

docs

Google Docs works similar to most word processors, including formatting, templates, and printing. You can open and save, change file formats, and share/collaborate with others online. This also includes revision history. (Saved my butt when I ‘lost’ an entire chapter of a book I was writing).

You can also add ‘add-ons’ which improves function;

Table of Contents – Creates a table of contents that runs as a sidebar.

EasyBib- Bibliography creator

Speech Recognition- So you can talk instead of typing. This works great for those who have issues with typing for long periods of time.

Mind mapping- This is a great tool to plot stories or brainstorm ideas.

ProWritingAid- This is not free, but as an add on that works in the Docs. It corrects grammar, spelling, and punctuation.

Screenplay formatter- For the script writers out there, this add on helps with formatting your doc.

Saves in these formats:

DOCX – Document Microsoft Word file

ODT – OpenOffice Document Text file

RTF – Rich Text Format, works with any word processor

PDF- Portable Document Format, used for downloading files and eBooks

TXT – Text. Very simple with very little formatting but can be read by every word processor.

HTML/ZIP – Hypertext Markup Language is what web sites are built. Often used to upload to publish books.

EPUB – EBook file format that can be read by tablets and smart phones. This is new and is an industry standard.


Google drive can also

Cloud Storage– Back up photos, documents, etc. to your cloud drive. This includes 15 GB free, and you can pay $1.99 monthly for 100 more GB.

Collaborate with others–  Not only can you share files with others, they can view or even edit them. You can also share LIVE with others. Some authors now share their writing in real time for fans to check out their process. Share via email or link on your blog. You can even embed files too

Share anywhere– Google Drive works on PC, Mac, smart phone, and tablets.

Did you find this helpful? Don’t forget to share, like, and comment to help support this blog.

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How to create an index (MS Word)

index

I write mostly non-fiction, which doesn’t often utilize the element of an index. If you write non-fiction, however, or intend to some day, this post might help.


What is an index?

index

Non-fiction books often require the author to establish one, and old-school publishing may ask you to include an index or list of words to be included. This can also cost you money.

If you self-publish, you want to create the index so your reader and cross reference information.

This video shows a basic tutorial on how to create and edit an index in MS Word;

I recommend you browse their channel playlists for more tutorials that are helpful for writers.

Click here for a PDF that includes a basic outline on how to add an index.

But don’t worry, Openoffice (free word processor and office software suite) can also can create indexes much the same way. Here is a PDF document which shows you how to add index, but also table of contents.


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Online Author Platform

Building an online platform is basically your online precise as an author. Agents and publishers will look you up on the Internet, and you must consider what impression you present as an authority and your following.

The challenging I found was to find branding for myself. As a flake creative person, I tend to want too many things, change things too much, and scatter myself too thin online. I try too many hats, as it were. This leaves me muddled and ineffective with goals

This year, I’m learning to focus (which is a Herculean endeavor) to brand myself as a writer, graphic artist, and web designer.

I hope the following links will help others to streamline their author platform building;

The 6 Components of an Online Author Platform

This is an excerpt of a lengthier tutorial on components of an online author platform. Even the 4 minutes or so provides some insight, and gives you a taste of what the full tutorial offers. ($16.99 for this video tutorial or $16.58 to subscribe per month to all Writer’s Digest library of tutorials)

Or view this Google Hangout (1 hr. long) discussing the Author Platform. (free)

author platform

What do you find the most challenging in building your author platform? Do you have a website? Blog? Social sites? Do you find them effective? Post in comments your thoughts.

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