Evelyn Chartres Author

Normalising Your Manuscript Using Microsoft Word

The Find and Replace capabilities within Microsoft Word are impressive. However, the interface is not always intuitive and some of features can conflict with others. Once aware of these limitations, we can use this capability to perform a series of tasks quickly and efficiently.

This tutorial will reference the same text throughout.  A sample is available through Google Docs.  Set Microsoft Word to display formatting to get a view similar to the one below

“A·vision·from·the·past·becomes·a·
writer’s·deadly·obsession,”·Evelyn·
Chartres.
The·Portrait·is·a·Gothic·horror·
about·Victoria·Frost,·an·author·who·
develops·an·unhealthy·obsession·for·
her·character.··As·events·unfold,·
her·obsession·turns·on·her·forcing·
the·author·to·question·her·sanity.···
Is·this·simply·insanity·or·are·there·
other·factors·in·play?···¶
·The·Portrait·is·a·mixture·of·
contemporary·and·historical·pieces·
with·the·latter·revolving·around·
her·character·and·muse.····In·this·
novel,·→the·author·will·revisit·an·
iconic·scene·using·both·prose·and·
art·yielding·new·pieces·to·the·
puzzle.¶

Normalizing your Manuscript

Large works of prose are prone to having formatting inconsistencies introduced over time.  Quirks in your word processor may lead to unexpected behaviour. I.e. Google Docs interprets a series of spaces as tabulations during a paste operation.

In other situations, people will either single-space or double-space at the end of a sentence. While a single author may be diligent in applying their preference, this type of diligence is hard to enforce in collaborative works.

In the sample text, we have instances of tabulations and varied spacing.  Using the Find and Replace capability, we will normalize spacing using a series of steps.

Note:  Spaces ( ) have been replaced with an underscores (_) for clarity in the text.  Screen captures will were taken with valid input.

Replacing all Tabulations

Note: This portion assumes that you are not using tabulations as a legitimate formatting option. If you do use tabulations then select the area you wish to cleanse prior to using Find and Replace.

Replacing all tabulations should be your first step, since this reduces the number of steps. From the Home Ribbon, click on Replace as which will pop-up the Find and Replace window.

01-Search-Replace-Ribbon.png

Click in the Find what text-box to make ensure the cursor placed there. Next, click on Special and select Tabulation from the pop-up.

10-Find-a-Tabulation.pngThis inserts ^t and tells Microsoft Word to search for tabulations.  Alternatively you could simply type in ^t yourself, saving a few clicks.

Place a single space (_) within the Replace with textbox which replaces all tabulations with a space.  When satisfied, click on Replace All.

11-Find-a-Tabulation-Replace-With-Space.pngSince there was one (1) tabulation within our sample, you should get the same results as below.

12-Replacement-Results.pngThe document should look as follows with formatting in place.

“A·vision·from·the·past·becomes·a·
writer’s·deadly·obsession,”·Evelyn·
Chartres.
The·Portrait·is·a·Gothic·horror·
about·Victoria·Frost,·an·author·who·
develops·an·unhealthy·obsession·for·
her·character.··As·events·unfold,·
her·obsession·turns·on·her·forcing·
the·author·to·question·her·sanity.···
Is·this·simply·insanity·or·are·there·
other·factors·in·play?···¶
·The·Portrait·is·a·mixture·of·
contemporary·and·historical·pieces·
with·the·latter·revolving·around·
her·character·and·muse.····In·this·
novel,··the·author·will·revisit·an·
iconic·scene·using·both·prose·and·
art·yielding·new·pieces·to·the·
puzzle.¶

Occasionally documents contain more than a combination of spaces and tabulations. Some manuscripts may contain non-breaking spaces, a type of space that does not permit the word processor to break to the following line. Instead, words connected by a non-breaking space will stay together as though part of a larger word.

Instead of selecting the Tab character option, use the White space selection instead.  The special character set is ^w and will match all types of white space within a document.

Note:  Replacing all types of spacing to a normal format is time intensive.  For a large manuscript you can expect it to take minutes!

Confirming Spacing after a Comma

For this step, we make use of wildcards, so from the Find and Replace window check the Use wildcards option. Wildcards are incapable of using special characters that were used in previous sections, so the Special button displays a new set of features.

Attempts to use special characters will result in the following error.

17-Feature-Not-Supported.pngInsert ([;,])_{2,} into the Find what text-box and \1_ into the Replace with text-box.

13-Normalize-Single-Spacing.pngThis is cryptic at a first glance, so time to break it down.

[;,]

This portion provides a list of characters to start off our match within the search. In this case the coma and semi-colon are searched for. Once found, search will attempt to match the rest of the sequence.

()

Anything within a parenthesis may be referenced in the Replace with text-box.

_{2,}

Find instances of at least two (2) spaces to make a match. We set this at two (2) to cover instances which deviate.

\1_

Replaces the matching text with whatever character was matched followed by a single space.

Click on Replace All to look for instances where there are too many spaces after a comma or semi-colon.  Our sample will yield one (1) result with the document looking as follows with formatting in place:

“A·vision·from·the·past·becomes·a·
writer’s·deadly·obsession,”·Evelyn·
Chartres.
The·Portrait·is·a·Gothic·horror·
about·Victoria·Frost,·an·author·who·
develops·an·unhealthy·obsession·for·
her·character.··As·events·unfold,·
her·obsession·turns·on·her·forcing·
the·author·to·question·her·sanity.···
Is·this·simply·insanity·or·are·there·
other·factors·in·play?···¶
·The·Portrait·is·a·mixture·of·
contemporary·and·historical·pieces·
with·the·latter·revolving·around·
her·character·and·muse.····In·this·
novel,·the·author·will·revisit·an·
iconic·scene·using·both·prose·and·
art·yielding·new·pieces·to·thie·
puzzle.¶

Confirming Spacing after a Sentence

This tutorial assumes that double-spacing is used after a sentence, to proceed insert ([.\!\?””…])_{1,} into the Find what text-box then place \1__ into the Replace with text-box.

14-Normalize-After-Quotes.pngAgain, this may seem confusing, so let us break it down to explain.

[.\!\?”"]

Provides a list of characters to begin our match criteria. In this case, the period, exclamation point, question mark and end quotes are searched for. The backslashes force search to treat preceding it characters literally. i.e. the exclamation point and question mark are special characters.

()

Anything within a parenthesis may be referenced in the Replace with text-box, in this case it would be \1.

_{1,}

Find instances of at least one (1) spaces to make a match.

\1__

Replaces the matching text with whatever character was matched followed by a double space.

Click on Replace All to normalize spacing at the end of a sentence.  Our sample yields several results with the document looking as follows with formatting in place:

“A·vision·from·the·past·becomes·a·
writer’s·deadly·obsession,”··Evelyn·
Chartres.
The·Portrait·is·a·Gothic·horror·
about·Victoria·Frost,·an·author·who·
develops·an·unhealthy·obsession·for·
her·character.··As·events·unfold,·
her·obsession·turns·on·her·forcing·
the·author·to·question·her·sanity.··
Is·this·simply·insanity·or·are·there·
other·factors·in·play?···¶
·The·Portrait·is·a·mixture·of·
contemporary·and·historical·pieces·
with·the·latter·revolving·around·
her·character·and·muse.··In·this·
novel,·the·author·will·revisit·an·
iconic·scene·using·both·prose·and·
art·yielding·new·pieces·to·ths·
puzzle.¶

Looking for Dialogue Transitions

If you have instances in the manuscript where a comma is followed by a quote, then you need to run with the following in Find what, (,[“”])_{2,} and \1_ Replace with.

14-Normalize-Double-Spacing.pngNote: Microsoft Word will not match smart quotes when a double quotes are provided in the Find what field, hence why we look for both.

Click on Replace All to correct instances of spacing during a quote transition.  Our sample will yield one (1) result with the document looking as follows with formatting in place:

“A·vision·from·the·past·becomes·a·
writer’s·deadly·obsession,”·Evelyn·
Chartres.
The·Portrait·is·a·Gothic·horror·
about·Victoria·Frost,·an·author·who·
develops·an·unhealthy·obsession·for·
her·character.··As·events·unfold,·
her·obsession·turns·on·her·forcing·
the·author·to·question·her·sanity.··
Is·this·simply·insanity·or·are·there·
other·factors·in·play?···¶
·The·Portrait·is·a·mixture·of·
contemporary·and·historical·pieces·
with·the·latter·revolving·around·
her·character·and·muse.··In·this·
novel,·the·author·will·revisit·an·
iconic·scene·using·both·prose·and·
art·yielding·new·pieces·to·the·
puzzle.¶

Erroneous Spacing

Erroneous spacing refers to misplaced white space located at either end of a paragraph.  The sample we have been working with has an example for both.  To correct spacing at the end of a paragraph we insert _{1,}(^13) in Find what and \1 in the Replace with text-boxes.

15-Spacing-end-paragraph.pngWhile this string is simpler than previous entries, I will break it down to explain.

_{1,}

Find instances of at least one (1) spaces to make a match.

(^13)

Special characters used to refer to a paragraph mark.  Do not use ^p as this will not work with Wildcards. The parenthesis will preserve the formatting of that specific paragraph mark.

\1

Replaces spaces and the paragraph mark with a paragraph mark.

Clicking on Replace All will yield the following result with formatting:

“A·vision·from·the·past·becomes·a·
writer’s·deadly·obsession,”·Evelyn·
Chartres.
The·Portrait·is·a·Gothic·horror·
about·Victoria·Frost,·an·author·who·
develops·an·unhealthy·obsession·for·
her·character.··As·events·unfold,·
her·obsession·turns·on·her·forcing·
the·author·to·question·her·sanity.··
Is·this·simply·insanity·or·are·there·
other·factors·in·play?¶
·The·Portrait·is·a·mixture·of·
contemporary·and·historical·pieces·
with·the·latter·revolving·around·
her·character·and·muse.··In·this·
novel,·the·author·will·revisit·an·
iconic·scene·using·both·prose·and·
art·yielding·new·pieces·to·the·
puzzle.¶

To correct spacing for the beginning of a paragraph insert (^13)_{1,}([!^13]) in Find what then\1\2 in Replace with.

16-Spacing-before-paragraph.pngHere is a breakdown of the string.

(^13)

Find an instance of a paragraph mark.  The parenthesis means this can be referenced later in Replace with using \1.

_{1,}

Find instances of at least one (1) spaces to make a match.

([!^13])

String will instruct Microsoft Word to match any character that is NOT a paragraph mark.  This element will be referenced in Replace with using \2.

\1\2

Drops the paragraph mark and non-paragraph mark back in without the spacing.

Clicking on Replace All will yield the following:

“A·vision·from·the·past·becomes·a·
writer’s·deadly·obsession,”·Evelyn·
Chartres.
The·Portrait·is·a·Gothic·horror·
about·Victoria·Frost,·an·author·who·
develops·an·unhealthy·obsession·for·
her·character.··As·events·unfold,·
her·obsession·turns·on·her·forcing·
the·author·to·question·her·sanity.··
Is·this·simply·insanity·or·are·there·
other·factors·in·play?¶
The·Portrait·is·a·mixture·of·
contemporary·and·historical·pieces·
with·the·latter·revolving·around·
her·character·and·muse.··In·this·
novel,·the·author·will·revisit·an·
iconic·scene·using·both·prose·and·
art·yielding·a·new·pieces·to·the·
puzzle.¶




CC BY-SA 4.0 Normalising Your Manuscript Using Microsoft Word by Evelyn Chartres is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Comments

  1. Thank you so much. I have found this very informative. As an editor, I run across this often and it can be very frustrating. – Elaine e~Edits

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