Editorium Update: Editioning Software
Oct 03, 2001 13:30 PDT
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October 3, 2001
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By Jack M. Lyon (mailto:email@example.com)
Microsoft Word guru Steve Hudson (firstname.lastname@example.org) has been sending
me some interesting things. Today I'd like to introduce you to his
"Editioning" macro, which allows you to use true conditional text in
Microsoft Word 97 and above. Conditional text is the thing to use if you
need to change a document in different ways for different audiences.
I've written before about using Word's Hidden formatting to create
Steve, however, has taken the idea to greater heights of power and
usability. For your convenience, I've placed his template (with its
accompanying toolbar and macro) on our Web site, and you can download it
After you've downloaded it, you'll need to unzip it. If you don't
already have software to do this, you can get the popular WinZip program
Macintosh users can use StuffIt Expander, available here:
Once the template is unzipped, you'll need to load it as a global
template or add-in, which you can learn more about here:
Finally, here's how to use the program:
1. Open or create a document that will be your source document for the
various versions you want to create, and be sure to keep a backup of
2. Use Microsoft Word's Highlighter feature (available on the Formatting
toolbar) to highlight the text that will appear only in the various
versions you'll be producing. For example, let's say you're writing the
documentation for a computer program that will be produced in three
versions: basic, intermediate, and advanced. Some of the documentation
will apply to all three versions, but some of it won't. For example, the
advanced version will have features not available in the basic version,
and you don't want the documentation for those features to show up in
the basic documentation. So let's say that you highlight the information
that applies only to the basic version in yellow, the intermediate in
blue, and the advanced in red. Save this document with a new name, such
as "Single Source."
3. With the Editioning template loaded, you'll see a new Editioning
toolbar on your screen. Click the Editioning button to start the
4. In the "Color" box, on the right, click one of the colors you want to
use, such as yellow.
5. In the "Description" box, on the bottom, type in a description of
what that color represents, such as "Basic."
6. Click the "New" button to add the color and its description to the
"Current List of Editions" box. (You can also click the "Delete" button
to delete them.)
7. Repeat steps 4 through 6 for each color you want to use.
8. In the "Current List of Editions" box, click the color/description
for the type of document you want to produce. For example, if you wanted
to create the basic documentation, you'd click "Yellow Basic."
9. Click the "Publish" button.
10. Click the "Exit" button to close the program. (It will remember your
definitions for the next time you use it.)
Now, in the document on your screen, all of your *unhighlighted* text
will be preserved (since you want to use it in all of your versions),
and the text that was highlighted in the color you selected (yellow)
will also be preserved (but now unhighlighted). Text that was
highlighted in other colors (blue and red) will be removed. So, you now
have the basic version of your software documentation! Be sure to save
it with a new name (such as "Basic Documentation"), and be careful not
to save it over the top of your previously marked-up file.
That's it! Rinse and repeat for your other versions. Many thanks to
Steve for making this program available.
Several subscribers provided useful tips this week, some with
contrasting points of view. Many thanks to them all!
ON AUTOMATIC CORRECTIONS (see our past few newsletters):
Steve Hudson (email@example.com) suggested the following automatic (or
has the potential to -> can
Kathleen Much (firstname.lastname@example.org) wrote:
You recommended: fortuitous (replace with "lucky")
You're right to check the usage, but what if the writer is actually
using "fortuitous" correctly, to mean "by chance"? :)
Then the editor should leave it alone. :)
Kathleen makes a good point. Many such corrections should *not* be made
automatically or without thought. Please be judicious and remember that
the computer is a tool, a means to an end, and not an end in itself.
ON NONBREAKING SPACES:
In our last newsletter, I asked for ideas about how where to use
nonbreaking spaces and got some interesting (and useful) responses.
Lou Burgoyne (LBurg-@SYSINCT.com) wrote:
Phone Numbers, Addresses. Also Use Non-breaking hyphens.
Another subscriber (Martin) wrote:
useful after Mr or Mrs
Anne K. Bailey (email@example.com) wrote:
I use it [the nonbreaking space] so often that I've got it mapped to my
keyboard (alt s) so I can insert it without having to think about it (at
least when using Word). I *always* use it in the following situations
(I'll use a tilde to represent the nonbreaking space):
Between a first name and a middle initial (Anne~K. Bailey)
Between the two parts of certain last names (Vincent Van~Gogh)
Between the month and the day (September~11, 2001)
Between the word "percent" and the number (75~percent)
Between the word "page" and the number (page~42)
Between the word "age" and the number (age~65)
Between a number and the word it modifies (15~days) (three~times)
(18~years old) (six~miles) (12~inches)
Between two parts of most compound words (pay~grade) (New~York)
Between the time and "a.m." or "p.m." (7:00~a.m.)
In addition, I often use a nonbreaking space to force line endings. I've
seen people insert a hard return in the middle of a paragraph to force
the line endings to look "right." However, my preference is to use a
nonbreaking space to force a particular word to the next line. That way,
if the text is later edited and the line endings change, the nonbreaking
space won't necessarily have to be removed, but a hard return would
definitely have to be found and deleted.
(I would have used a nonbreaking space between the words "hard" and
"return" in the previous paragraph.)
Steve Hudson (firstname.lastname@example.org) wrote:
I never use the non-break space. My Designer and I both agree that the
examples we have seen it suggested to use don't actually add much to the
readability and do interfere with justification. The main two examples
are 75 percent and Dr Bob. To fully demonstrate the futility of the
percent, what if one wrote seventy five percent, all with hard spacing?
You could have half a line in nothing flat.
If you have helpful hints, questions, or comments you'd like to share in
Editorium Update, we'd be happy to consider them for publication. Please
email them here: mailto:email@example.com
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