Add-Ins from Microsoft

By Jack Lyon, the Editorium

I’ve created lots of Microsoft Word add-ins at the Editorium, but did you know that Microsoft also provides add-ins, many of them free? Here’s how to explore and use these add-ins right from within Microsoft Word.

  1. In the search bar at the top of your Word window, enter “add-in.” You’ll then see an option like this:


  1. Click “Insert an Add-in” (or just press your ENTER key). Doing so will open the Office Add-ins dialog. On my computer, it looks like this, showing the add-ins I’ve already installed:


  1. To explore more add-ins, click the “Store” link under “Office Add-ins.” You’ll be presented with a bunch of add-ins and a helpful list of categories to help you find what what you need:


Many of the add-ins are free to use. Those that aren’t say “Additional purchase may be required.”

To learn more about an add-in, click its logo or title. To add it to Word, click the Add button and follow any online prompts. The add-in will then show up on the Home tab of Word’s ribbon interface:


I hope you find an add-in that does exactly what you need. If you do, please let me know, and I’ll review it in a future issue of Editorium Update. Thank you!

Posted in Add-ins, Editing Tools, Macros, Microsoft Word, Programs | Comments closed

Resetting Shakespeare

By Jack Lyon, the Editorium

In late 2020, I discovered the down-to-the-character transcription of Shakespeare's First Folio created by I knew immediately what I had to do: Reset the type in a new edition of the book—something that's never been done since the 1600s. With the encouragement and advice of Ron Severdia, founder and editor-in-chief of, I downloaded the files and began preparing them for typesetting.

I soon realized that this project would be much harder than I originally thought. The Microsoft Word documents available from had no formatting at all—just plain old text. Immaculately coded XML files were also available, but the proprietary files needed to transform them into formatted text were not. Ultimately, I downloaded the nicely formatted HTML versions of the individual plays, but making them match the layout of the original still required much wildcard manipulation and styling in Word.

I briefly considered typesetting the pages in Word itself, but I've learned from long experience that Word will fight you every step of the way in long, complex projects like this one. Even Adobe InDesign wasn't as cooperative as I'd hoped. Finally, I went with Affinity Publisher, which still has a few bugs but did exactly what I needed. You can download a sample of the finished pages here.

What made this interesting to me as an editor was seeing the editorial and typographical style used by the compositors of the book in Shakespeare's era. Here are just a few examples:

  • The first letter (and only the first letter) after a drop cap is capitalized. Modern practice is to set the rest of the word (and probably a couple of the following words) in small caps.
  • The typographical weight of important words doesn't seem to matter much. For example, there's "THE TRAGEDIE OF Othello, the Moor of Venice." Modern practice might be to set the title as "The Tragedie of OTHELLO, the Moor of Venice."
  • Page numbers start again at 1 for each section of the book: "Comedies" starts on page 1. "Histories" starts again on page 1. Finally, "Tragedies" starts on a new page 1. Modern practice is to use continuous page numbers throughout the book.
  • Running heads vary in typography and layout, and they may or may not match the title of the play. This may be because certain type styles in certain sizes were limited (metal type, remember), so if typesetters ran out of one style, they'd simply use another, even within the same play.
  • Modern practice is to be consistent in formatting; if one subheading is set in 10-point Helvetica, all subheads should be set in 10-point Helvetica. Not so in the First Folio. If you look through the original front matter, you'll see some regular text in 14 points, other regular text in 10.5 points. Poetry is all over the place, some almost too small to read. Once we get into the plays themselves, formatting is more regular, so perhaps the front matter was thought of as display type.
  • The letters I and J, along with U and V, are usually interchangable: "Ben Ionson." "If Musicke be the food of Loue, play on."
  • Abbreviations abound, not just to indicate the name of a player but also to fit words into a line that's too long for the measure. For example, "them" might be set as "thē"; "thou" is sometimes abbreviated as "ÿ."
  • Other lines that are too long are set with the final words above or below the rest of the line, following an opening parenthesis.
  • Ligatures are plentiful, evidently just to look fancy.
  • Dashes are long and extra dark.
  • Spelling and capitalization vary, probably depending on who is setting type at the time. For example, sometimes we have "Scena Secunda," at other times "Scœna secunda." And what's with all that Latin?
  • Sometimes nouns are capitalized for no apparent reason: "That our Garments being (as they were) drencht in the Sea." I wonder if this might be a cue to the actor about how to speak the line.
  • Colons, semicolons, question marks, and exclamation marks are usually preceded by a space. Other punctuation is not.
  • Apostrophes are used to mark words that should be spoken as one syllable rather than two: "Fetch me that flow’r."

I'm sure I've missed some things, but I seem to have misplaced my copy of The Jacobean Manual of Style. I wonder if William and Isaac Jaggard (who printed the First Folio) had such a thing. If they did, they didn't hesitate to depart from it when circumstances demanded it. In that, we moderns may not be so different.

If you're interested in buying a copy of Shakespeare's First Folio Ultimate, you can do so at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other purveyors of fine literature.

Posted in Shakespeare, Typesetting | Comments closed

Edit First, Check Later

By Jack Lyon, the Editorium

The world is awash with software designed to improve your writing, and this software can be particularly valuable to editors. Here are some of the current contenders:

PerfectIt from IntelligentEditing


But good grief, how many grammar and spelling checkers do we need? And what is the best way to use them?

I'm going to offer a radical suggestion: Don't use any such checkers until after you've finished editing. That's right: edit first, check later. Otherwise, you'll be swamped with suggestions and corrections, and you'll need to consider every one. Here's an example from Lingofy:


Do you really want to work your way through all of that?

Similarly, when you're using Word's spellchecker (now part of its "Editor" feature), every time you encounter a misspelling, you'll need to choose what to do with it:

  • Ignore Once
  • Ignore All
  • Change One
  • Change All
  • Add to Dictionary

Do you do that? Do you slog through a manuscript responding to each possible misspelling that Word finds? Stop it! Instead, fix as many misspellings as possible before running the spellchecker, using a batch operation that requires no intervention from you. The best way I know to do that is with my MegaReplacer program, which is included with Editor's ToolKit Plus. The program comes with a long list of corrections ready for you to use, including many words that are commonly misspelled—more than 500 in all. Here are a few examples:


MegaReplacer automatically fixes all of those so you don't have to. After it's finished, then you can run the checker of your choice to catch any odditites or stragglers that weren't in your list.

Word's spell-checker is a terrific tool for finding random typographical errors, but if you’re using it to find common misspellings, you’re wasting your valuable time. After all, you already know they’re misspellings; why not fix them all in one go? Let MegaReplacer correct any possible occurrences while you take a break or work on something else. Then, if you want to catch typos, run a spell-check after fixing misspellings with MegaReplacer, and you’ll have far fewer errors to deal with.

Similarly, the PerfectIt add-in from Intelligent Editing is wonderful, and you should definitely use it to ensure consistency. But if you already know that your house style specifies, say, healthcare rather than health care, you don’t need PerfectIt to point out deviations. Just use MegaReplacer to fix them all. Then use PerfectIt to find other inconsistencies that might not be on your radar.

Here are the basic steps I recommend for editing a manuscript:

  1. Run FileCleaner (also included with Editor's ToolKit Plus) to clean up multiple spaces, multiple returns, spaces around returns, misplaced punctuation, unnecessary formatting, and so on.
  2. Run MegaReplacer to fix common misspellings and enforce editorial style for special terms.
  3. Apply heading styles so you can see your document's structure and more easily find your way around as you edit.
  4. Edit the text, using your brain as the ultimate checker.
  5. Finally, run the checkers of your choice to catch problems the previous steps might have missed.

Use the checkers. Just don't let them use you!

Posted in Computers and Software, Editing Tools | Comments closed

Getting a Bird’s-Eye View on Your Document

By Jack Lyon, the Editorium

Back in the days of editing on paper, I would sometimes spread manuscript pages out on my desk to get a bird's-eye view of the text I was working on. This could be useful for several reasons:

  • To see if long stretches of text needed to be broken down into subsections.
  • To compare points made over here with other points made over there.
  • To see if the overall organization of a chapter made sense.

On a computer screen, the default view is one page at a time, and most editors rarely deviate from that, even though it's possible (and sometimes useful) to do so. Here's how:

  1. On Microsoft Word's ribbon, click the View tab.
  2. Click the Zoom button.


  1. Click the Many pages button and select 2 × 4 Pages, which is the maximum Word allows when setting the number through the ribbon.


  1. Click the OK button.

Your document's pages should now be displayed four across, and if it has more than eight pages, they will automatically be displayed in more rows than the two you specified.


It's a bird's-eye view! After looking around, you can place your cursor anywhere on one of the pages and then click Zoom > One page to work on that page. Very convenient!

If you want to display more than four pages across, you can do so with a macro. This one will give you ten pages across:

Sub BirdsEyeView()    
    With ActiveWindow.ActivePane.View.Zoom
        .PageColumns = 10
        .PageRows = 2
    End With
End Sub

You can change the ".PageColumns = " number to anything you like, but 25 appears to be the maximum that Word will accommodate.

To return to Word's default view of one page, click Zoom > One page.

Here's how to use the BirdsEyeView macro and put in on Word's Quick Access Toolbar for easy use:

How about you? Do you have better ways of getting a bird's-eye view of your work? If so, I'd love to hear from you.

Posted in Computers and Software, Editing, Editing Tools, Microsoft Word | Comments closed

Converting Fields to Regular Text (and Why That Matters)

By Jack Lyon, the Editorium

Microsoft Word documents often include fields that authors use to insert text that isn't really text: dates, page references, author names, and much more. If you're editing a document that includes text copied and pasted from a web page (quite frequent these days), the text probably includes hyperlink fields, perhaps in a nice shade of blue or purple. Other kinds of fields may be indistinguishable from regular text, but that doesn't mean they'll translate correctly for publication. Usually, all of those fields first need to be converted to regular text. There are several ways to do that.

From the keyboard

  1. Press CTRL + A to select all text.
  2. Press CTRL + 6 to convert fields to text.

Using macros

This macro does the same thing as the keyboard procedure above:

Sub ConvertFieldsToText()
End Sub

This macro converts hyperlinks only:

Sub RemoveHyperlinks()
    Dim oField As Field
    For Each oField In ActiveDocument.Fields
        If oField.Type = wdFieldHyperlink Then
        End If
    Set oField = Nothing
End Sub

To use the macros, follow the instructions here.

The really interesting line in that last macro is this one, which identifies the type of field we want to unlink:

If oField.Type = wdFieldHyperlink Then

The reason that's interesting is that we can specify a different type of field using any of the options listed here. Go ahead, be choosy!

Using Editor's ToolKit Plus

Editor's ToolKit Plus makes the conversion easy. Just click the "Text" button and then click "Convert hyperlinks to regular text." (This actually converts all fields to regular text.)


Deleting (rather than just converting) fields

If you want to actually delete the fields (not just convert them to text), Allen Wyatt provides a good solution here.

Posted in Editing, Editorial Matters, Macros, Microsoft Word | Comments closed

Mucho Macros

By Jack Lyon, the Editorium

You're probably already familiar with Paul Beverley's editing macros, but there are plenty of other places to find Microsoft Word macros that you might find useful. Here are some of the best:

  • Allen Wyatt's macros, with clear explanations of how they work. Be sure to sign up for his free WordTips newsletter while you're there.
  • Graham Mayor's huge collection of useful macros and free add-ins. While you're there, support the man with a donation. He definitely deserves it.
  • Better Solutions provides a ton of useful information about how to work better with Microsoft Word, including macros galore.
  • Want to get more technical? Check out InfoExtract.
  • The Word MVP Site has macros along with thorough instructions about how to program in VBA (Visual Basic for Applications), Word's macro language.
  • Shauna Kelly provides macros and tons of tips for using Word. (Sadly, Shauna is no longer with us. But her work lives on!)
  • DocTools has add-ins for sale, but they also offer lots of free macros and other helpful information.

Don't know how to use macros found online? See my article here.

Posted in Macros | Comments closed

Getting Help with Macros

By Jack Lyon, the Editorium

While messing about with macros, I sometimes find myself up against a problem for which I have no solution. Time to get some help!

My usual approach is to use Google to search for "microsoft word vba [whatever problem I'm having]".

That turns up lots of interesting stuff, but the best answers are usually found in just a handful of places:

All of those have "Search" bars of their own, so you can search directly within those places for what you need.

The most reliable answers in those forums are usually given by the ever-helpful Microsoft MVPs, past and present. In particular, watch for answers from these folks:

  • Suzanne S. Barnhill
  • Paul Edstein
  • Terry Farrell
  • John McGhie
  • Charles Kenyon
  • Greg Maxey
  • Graham Mayor

And don't forget to say "Thank you!"

Readers Write

After reading last week's article, "Writing Down the Chaos," which discussed writing with notecard-based software, Kirsten Janene-Nelson wrote:

I use Scrivener. You can organize by cards with their "Corkboard" feature as well as seamlessly switch to manuscript view. There's a bit of a learning curve, but it's pretty painless and they have several helpful videos. My favorite feature is that you can keep all the moving parts of what you're writing close at hand without their being in your face. It's a virtual writing desk plus bulletin board plus project binder—all in one.

It's $59 after 30 days' trial—not 30 calendar days from when you start, but 30 actual days that you use Scrivener, regardless of when you start.

Thanks to Kirsten for this information. If you're serious about writing, Scrivener may be the very program you need to produce your masterpiece.

Posted in Macros | Comments closed

How to Add a Macro to Word and Its QAT (Quick Access Toolbar)

Microsoft Word's macro features make it possible to turn Word into a lean, mean editing machine. You'll find lots of free editing macros online (see below for some excellent sources). But how can you add a macro to Microsoft Word so it will be available when you need it? Here's the procedure:

  1. Copy the text of the macro, starting with the first “Sub” and ending with the last “Sub.”
  2. Click the “View” tab on Microsoft Word’s ribbon.
  3. Click the “Macros” button.
  4. Type a name for the macro in the “Macro name” box—probably the name used after the first “Sub.”
  5. Click the “Create” button.
  6. Delete the “Sub” and “End Sub” lines that Word created in the macro window. The macro window should now be completely empty (unless you already have other macros in there).
  7. Paste the macro text at the current insertion point.
  8. Click “File,” then “Close and Return to Microsoft Word.”

To actually use the macro:

  1. Place your cursor at the beginning of the document.
  2. Click the “View” tab on Microsoft Word’s ribbon.
  3. Click the “Macros” button.
  4. Click the name of your macro to select it.
  5. Click the “Run” button. (If you wanted to delete the macro, you could press the “Delete” button instead.)

To put the macro on Word’s QAT (Quick Access Toolbar):

  1. Locate the QAT (it’s probably on the top left of your screen either above or below Word’s Ribbon interface).
  2. Right-click the QAT.
  3. Click “Customize Quick Access Toolbar.”
  4. Under “Choose commands from:” click the dropdown list and select “Macros.”
  5. Find and select your macro in the list on the left.
  6. Click the “Add” button to add it to the QAT.
  7. Click the “OK” button to finish.
Posted in Customization, Macros, Microsoft Word | Comments closed

Writing Down the Chaos

By Jack Lyon, the Editorium

You can't do much carpentry with your bare hands, and you can't do much thinking with your bare brain. —Bo Dahlbom

High school English class. Freshman year. The teacher explained how to:

  1. Come up with a thesis statement.
  2. Create an outline of arguments supporting the thesis statement.
  3. Write a paper based on that outline.

That's actually a terrible way to write! It requires you to organize your thoughts before you know what those thoughts actually are. But there is a better way.

Brainstorm, Organize, Write

What are your thoughts about a particular subject? In the days before computers, you'd find out like this:

  1. Get a package of index cards, something like these.
  2. On each card, write an idea related to your thesis (the fancy word for whatever it is you want to write about). Do not try to do this in any kind of order; you're brainstorming here: good ideas, bad ideas, any ideas—they all go down on the cards. When your brain is empty, stop.
  3. On a big desk or table, spread the cards out in front of you. Keep them messy.
  4. Read the cards and stack those on a certain subject together until you have several stacks. Discard (pardon the pun) those that don't belong anywhere or that now seem irrelevant or stupid.
  5. Put the cards in each stack in some kind of order. Importance? Chronology? You choose.
  6. Put the stacks in some kind of order. Each stack represents a section of your paper.

After you've captured and organized your thoughts, write your paper, starting with the first card and ending with the last. Each stack gets a subheading. Each card gets a paragraph. When you're finished, edit your paper as needed.

Card-Based Writing Programs

But, again, that was in the days before computers. We now have much better ways of doing what I've just described, with new card-based writing programs popping up all the time. Here are some that I recommend for the kind of writing I've explained in this article:

Milanote. $9.99 a month (billed annually).


Milanote is the most expensive of the programs listed here, but it's also the slickest. Cards can be created and then placed on the screen in any order you like. After you have them all down, organize them into columns. Finally, export the whole thing as a Word document, a Markdown document, or plain text, ready for editing. Milanote is elegant, a pleasure to use.

Speare. $4.95 a month (billed annually).


Speare doesn't support free-form card placement; each paragraph is a card, and all cards must be arranged in a "board." After creating and organizing your cards, "compile" them into a document, copy the document, and paste into Word or another word processor.

SuperNotecard. $19 a year.


SuperNotecard includes various kinds of metadata you can use to organize your cards: headings, flags, ratings, categories, references, and much more. If you're writing a novel, SuperNotecard is probably the way to go, as you can create and link to cards for characters, settings, themes, and so on. At just $19 a year, it's ridiculously cheap.

Notebox Disorganizer is one of my favorites. I've written about it before. It's simple but powerful, and best of all, it's free! (Sorry, PC only.)


I hope you'll give these programs a try, especially if you're feeling stuck in your writing. Brainstorming, organizing, and then writing can make all the difference. Write down the chaos!

Readers Write

After reading last week's article on listing keyboard shortcuts, macro expert Paul Beverley wrote:

I have a version that spreads the list out a bit and covers more aspects. As you'll see from the attached, it's alphabetic in two ways.

Thanks to Paul for making this resource available.

Posted in Programs, Writing | Comments closed

Listing Keyboard Shortcuts: Two Methods

By Jack Lyon, the Editorium

As useful as custom keyboard shortcuts may be in using Microsoft Word, it's sometimes difficult to remember which keys you've assigned to what function. Word itself includes one way to find out:

  1. Click File > Print.

  2. Under "Settings," select "Key Assignments: List of your custom shortcut keys":


  3. Select the printer you want to use.

  4. Click the big "Print" button at the top left.

You'll get a document with entries that look something like this:


As useful as that might be, it's kind of a mess to read. Microsoft could have done a much better job of formatting.

As an alternative, you can list all of your custom keyboard shortcuts with this handy macro:

Sub ListKeyAssignments() 
Dim kbLoop As KeyBinding
Dim aTemp As template
For Each aTemp In Templates
    If LCase(aTemp.Name) = "Normal.dotm" Then 'You can also use the name of a different template here.
        CustomizationContext = aTemp
        For Each kbLoop In KeyBindings
            selection.InsertAfter kbLoop.Command & vbTab & kbLoop.KeyString & vbCr
            selection.Collapse Direction:=wdCollapseEnd
        Next kbLoop
    End If
Next aTemp
End Sub

You may already know how to add such macros to Word, but if not, here's how.

And you can learn here how to run it.

Now, create a new document and run the macro. You should get results like this in your new document:


Much easier to read, don't you think?

After you've created a list of your custom keyboard shortcuts, you can change them or create new ones.

I hope this helps you turn your computer into the lean, mean editing machine it was always meant to be.

Posted in Editing Tools, Lyonizing Word, Macros | Comments closed