Visual Keyboard

Do you ever need to change your keyboard layout from one language to another? If so, you’ve undoubtedly noticed that your English-language keyboard doesn’t always match the keyboard layout used by your computer. If this drives you crazy, you’ll be happy to know about Microsoft’s Visual Keyboard add-in for Word 2000 and 2002. Visual Keyboard displays the keyboard for another language on your screen so you can see the character you’re going to get *before* pressing the key. You can learn more about Visual Keyboard (and download the free software) here:

http://tinyurl.com/rzle

And you can see a screen shot at Alan Wood’s fabulous Unicode Resources site:

http://www.alanwood.net/unicode/utilities_fonts.html#visual

Once you’ve installed and activated the software, you can use Visual Keyboard by clicking its letters with your mouse. Or, you can simply use it as a visual reminder while typing on your regular keyboard. Pretty slick!

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READERS WRITE

Brad Hurley (bradhurley@sympatico.ca) wrote:

Although I still do a lot of editing for print publications, most of my work these days involves Web content. I edit documents in Word 2000 and pass them on to my company’s Web designers, who primarily use Dreamweaver to make Web pages. I’m looking for ways to facilitate the transition from Word to Web. Saving a Word document as HTML isn’t the solution, because Word famously inserts a lot of proprietary garbage into the code, and my clients want clean, standards-based HTML, formatted with external stylesheets instead of font tags.

There are Word-to-HTML tools in Dreamweaver and online (such as Textism’s excellent HTML Cleaner: http://www.textism.com/resources/cleanwordhtml/), but if you want to generate text formatting that resembles what you had in your Word document, you have to first replace your custom styles with Word’s standard styles. That can be tedious.

I want to be able to copy the text of a Word document and paste it into a Dreamweaver page, while preserving basic text formatting (headings, and any bold or italic body text) and hyperlinks that were created in the Word document. I wish we could bypass Word altogether and create content directly in Dreamweaver, letting my clients review and edit directly with content-editing tools such as Macromedia Contribute. But Contribute doesn’t have Word’s “track changes” feature, which is crucial to our document review process.

Any advice that you or your readers could provide would be appreciated!

So, gentle reader, do you have any advice for Brad? If so, please send it to me and I’ll include it in the next newsletter. Thanks!

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RESOURCES

Aaron Shepard is making available a free article titled “Books, Typography, and Microsoft Word.” The article explains how Word can be used to set type of a quality high enough to be used in desktop book publishing:

http://www.aaronshep.com/publishing

Aaron also offers an expanded version of the article in ebook form. One of the most interesting things about the ebook (which I bought) is the impressive quality of its typesetting, done in Word, of course. Check it out!

Thanks to Aaron for his valuable article.

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