Effective Onscreen Editing

If you’ve spent much time in user groups related to Microsoft Word, Macintosh computers, or technical writing, you’ve probably seen postings and articles by Geoff Hart, one of the most prolific, respected, and helpful writers and Word experts I know. And now for the big news: Geoff has released his long-awaited book Effective Onscreen Editing! You can learn more about the book here:


Effective Onscreen Editing is yet to be released in print form, but the PDF version is well worth acquiring–723 pages, exquisitely designed for on-screen reading. I’m going to want the printed version so I can study on my patio with a lemonade in hand, but the PDF offers some real advantages, not the least of which are the clickable hyperlinks to online resources and the ability to search the text (CTRL + F in Adobe Reader).

The book is extremely well organized and amazingly thorough, covering everything from determining your pay rate to preventing repetitive stress injury, from personalizing your software to implementing a practical backup strategy. I’ve included the basic table of contents below, but you can download the complete table here:


If you’re editing onscreen, you can’t afford *not* to buy this book. I give it my strongest recommendation–and besides, Geoff deserves your support. You can purchase the book here:


Many thanks to Geoff for creating this wonderful resource.

Contents of Effective Onscreen Editing

I. Overview and introduction

Chapter 1. My goal and approach in this book

Chapter 2. Advantages of onscreen editing

Chapter 3. Writing and editing are human endeavors

II. Mastering the tools

Chapter 4. Personalizing how your software works

Chapter 5. Moving around the document and selecting text

Chapter 6. Using revision tracking

Chapter 7. Inserting and deleting text

Chapter 8. Using the search tools (find and replace) to improve consistency

Chapter 9. Developing style sheets: a tool for consistency

Chapter 10. Using spelling and grammar checkers

Chapter 11. Automating your edits

Chapter 12. Editing in special situations

Chapter 13. Using the Internet to improve your editing

III. Identifying and overcoming barriers

Chapter 14. Coping when revision tracking isn’t available

Chapter 15. Developing safeguards

Chapter 16. Solving the proofreading problem

Chapter 17. Coping with the human factor

Chapter 18: Putting the theory to work: a four-step implementation process

Appendix I. Developing a sound backup strategy

Elements of a backup strategy

Recovering the current version of your work

Recovering previous versions of your work

Protecting yourself against viruses and other malware

Protecting yourself against theft and damage

Appendix II: Protecting yourself from injury while using the computer

Aches and pains

Hand problems

Eye strain


Appendix III: Changes made in Word XP, Word 2003, and Word 2004

Adapting the tips in the main text to work with these versions of Word

Further reading

Useful references

Helpful Internet resources

You’ll find more information about Geoff himself at his website:


And again, you can purchase the book here:




After reading the last newsletter on “The Need for Speed,” Bill Rubidge wrote:

One suggestion I would add, since it is so basic, is: Learn to use the keyboard whenever possible, rather than the mouse. And I’m not necessarily suggesting learning and memorizing the keyboard commands–I’m just suggesting using the keyboard Alt keys to access the Word menus and move through them to the command you want and would otherwise access via numerous mouse moves and clicks. Once you display the keyboard commands (use the options to do this), learning to use the keyboard instead of the mouse is pretty quick.

Many thanks to Bill.



Jonathan’s Tool Bar & Grill reviews many free or cheap utilities and Web sites, both of general interest and of special interest to writers and editors. Among the writer’s productivity tools recommended are:

* ToDoList (free task list manager)

* Smart Type Assistant (shareware abbreviation expander)

* Phrase Express (free abbreviation expander)

* WordWeb (free dictionary)

* Documeron (free quick access to recently used files)

* TinySpell (free text spell-checker)

* FileBox Extender (free quick access to recently used folders)

* TraxTime (shareware punch clock)

* Copernic Desktop Search (free)

* Screenshot Captor, FastStone Capture, and MW Snap (free screen capture tools)

For more information, visit the blog here:


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.