Editors and Preditors

In our shop, we have several editors (who edit books, natch) and a few editorial assistants (who proofread, check corrections, and so on). We edit in Microsoft Word, and most electronic manuscripts require a lot of cleanup. The editors do much of this themselves–turning multiple spaces into single spaces, changing double hyphens into em dashes, and so on. But I keep thinking that many such tasks could be relegated to someone less expensive than a full-fledged editor–sort of a “pre-editor,” or, just for fun, “preditor.”

The preditor’s job would be to get electronic manuscripts ready for the editors, who could then focus more fully on editing. The preditor could do such things as:

1. Convert files (WordPerfect to Word) as needed. I recommend using a dedicated file-conversion program, such as MacLinkPlus or Conversions Plus:



2. Combine chapter files into one book file or split a book file into chapters, depending on how your editors like to work. Editor’s ToolKit can automate this for you:


3. Rename files to fit your house standard, such as job number_chapter number (3298_0001.doc). If you don’t have such a standard, you should create one. It will help streamline the publishing process and simplify archiving.

4. Apply to the files a document template formatted especially for editing:


5. Apply styles (or codes) to specify document structure and typesetting levels:



6. Fix messed-up notes:


7. Find and replace common editorial and typographical problems. FileCleaner can automate much of this:


8. Use wildcard and other searches to fix inconsistencies in editorial style, consulting with the project editor as needed. MegaReplacer makes this a snap and even includes scripts to fix common editorial problems:







9. Run a spell check; it won’t catch misused words, but it will catch the most elusive of typos:


At this point, those files should be squeaky clean–except for the actual editing, which editors can now do without worrying about such picayune problems as whether or not commas are inside or outside of quotation marks. Yes, I know that editors can’t ignore such things, but a preditor can help free up editors’ time so they can focus mainly on clarity, meaning, and communication.



Last week I explained how to overstrike characters by condensing character spacing. Karen L. Bojda sent an alternative method:

To overstrike two or more characters (say, the / and e of your example), you can also use an “equation” field with the overstrike switch, O:

{EQ O(/,e)}

which can be inserted with the Insert > Fields… command (at least in my old Word 98 for the Mac). The overstrike field does have the advantage that its formatting can’t be accidentally removed, but the overstruck (overstricken?) characters produced this way are more or less centered. Your condensed-text method allows finer control over the extent of overlap. Plus your method allows overstriking a backslash, which mucks up a field.

Karen L. Bojda

Bojda Editorial & Writing Services

kbojda [at symbol] insightbb.com


Yehuda Yoel Zimmerman also suggested using this method.

Thanks to Karen and Yehuda for the helpful tip.



Last week, I mentioned the Microsoft Word Legal User’s Guide for Word 97 and 2000, but there’s also a version for Word 2002! Donna Payne wrote:

On the Legal User Guide, the link for Office XP/Word 2002 is:


Our company was a member of the Microsoft Legal Advisory Council and authored both the Word 97/2000 and Word 2002 versions of the Legal User guide for Microsoft. Your readers may want to take a look at our books, Word 97 for Law Firms, Word 2000 for Law Firms, and Word 2002 for Law Firms for more detailed information.


Donna Payne


Payne Consulting Group, Inc.


Thanks to Donna for this valuable information.

This entry was posted in Editing. Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

  • The Fine Print

    Thanks for reading Editorium Update (ISSN 1534-1283), published by:


    Articles © on date of publication by the Editorium. All rights reserved. Editorium Update and Editorium are trademarks of the Editorium.

    You may forward copies of Editorium Update to others (but not charge for it) and print or store it for your personal use. Any other broadcast, publication, retransmission, copying, or storage, without written permission from the Editorium, is strictly prohibited. If you’re interested in reprinting one of our articles, please send an email message to editor@editorium.com

    Editorium Update is provided for informational purposes only and without a warranty of any kind, either express or implied, including but not limited to implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, and freedom from infringement. The user (you) assumes the entire risk as to the accuracy and use of this document.

    The Editorium is not affiliated with Microsoft Corporation or any other entity.

    We do not sell, rent, or give our subscriber list to anyone.