Archive for the ‘Tools’ Category

PerfectIt by Intelligent Editing : Product review

May 28, 2009

PerfectIt Product Shot

Title: PerfectIt
Developed by: Intelligent Editing
Price: 1 License ($90); Bundle of 5 licenses ($250); Bundle of 20 licenses ($650); Site license ($1,490)
Website: http://www.intelligentediting.com/default.aspx
Reviewer: Eddie Gear

PerfectIt is an excellent tool for users of the Microsoft Office Word application especially writers, editors, and others who are in the field of authoring and who need an easy-to-use proof reading tool. Although PerfectIt does not offer spell check or grammar check options, it includes several key tests that help you to create professional looking documents. PerfectIt can be easily installed in MS 2000, 2003, XP and 2007 as add-ins.

The main focus of this tool is checking for inconsistencies in documents. You can apply all the tests that are available in the tool, choose a test, or customize the test settings to suit your needs.

System Requirements

Microsoft Office Word 2000, 2003, XP or 2007

User Interface

The interface has a simple layout and easy-to-use buttons that helps you to perform tasks quickly and efficiently. A balloon notification guides you through the proof reading process when required.

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The PerfectIt dialog box comprises the Menu bar, an instructions section, and a Settings section. The Menu bar provides file saving options, testing options and Help options. The Settings section allows you to save documents before starting the test, select notifications on tips, and choose the tests you want to apply to your document. Once you hit the Start button, PerfectIt will run tests based on certain criteria and display the inconsistencies in the document. You can then choose to fix the errors or move on to the next item.

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On clicking the Start button, the user interface displays four sections.

Section 1: Displays the test that is currently running.

Section 2: Displays a brief description of the error.

Section 3: Displays preferred forms of the error.

Section 4: Displays the locations of the errors in the Word document.

A description at the bottom of the PerfectIt dialog box displays a note or cautionary message. There are also a series of buttons that help you perform tasks related to the error which are described in the following table.

Button

Function

Next Moves to the next criteria that are to be tested
Help Displays the PerfectIt Help window explaining the rules related to the test or criteria
Fix Fixes the error
Undo Reverses the error that was fixed in the earlier instance
Fix All Fixes all instances of the error related to a particular criteria

Final Tasks

On successful completion of the tests, the PerfectIt dialog box displays a note informing you that all the tests are complete and performs a series of finalization tasks. The tasks include:

  • Generating a table of abbreviations
  • Accepting all tracked changes
  • Removing comment boxes
  • Updating the table of contents
  • Updating cross-references

These additional tasks help you create a clean and professional looking document.

Tests Used By PerfectIt

PerfectIt proof reads documents based on certain tests. Brief descriptions of the different tests run using this tool are described in the following table.

Test Type

Description

Phrases with hyphens/dashes Checks if hyphenated phrases or words appear consistently throughout the document.
Language version Identifies instances where there is inconsistent usage of British and U.S. English.
Numbers Checks if there is consistency in using numbers between words in a sentence.
Usage of compound words Checks if compound words of a similar type appear consistently.
Abbreviations Checks for consistency issues when using abbreviations including if abbreviations:

  • Are used for in two forms
  • Are defined in two ways
  • Are used before a definition
  • Appear twice
  • Appear without definition( provides options to add a definition if without one)
  • Are not used
Capitalization Identifies areas where capitalization is not followed consistently in:

  • Headings
  • Phrases
  • Bullet lists
  • Numbered lists
  • Titles in tables
Punctuation Identifies missing or inconsistent usage of punctuation in:

  • Bullet lists
  • Numbered lists
  • Tables
Tables Highlights consistency issues in tables including:

  • Labels in table headings
  • Labels in Boxes/ figures
  • Figure captions
  • Sequential numbering of tables
  • Missing table headings
  • Missing Figures/boxes

Customizing Settings

PerfectIt allows you to apply settings to customize the tests to suit your writing needs. The Customise Test menu includes options to select preferences for a particular word or never find a specific word. Advanced customizing options include options to select phrases that PerfectIt never finds, phrases that PerfectIt always finds, and applying settings for lists numbers and compound words. You can also add, delete or modify the custom settings as per requirements.

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You can also maintain the same custom settings when you work on different computers by copying the files CustomFindLists and CustomExclusionLists from the location where the application is stored. For example, if you have saved the application on your C drive, the location will be C:\Program Files\ PerfectIt.

Likes

PerfectIt is a very useful tool especially when working with large complex documents. Most technical papers and documents have consistency issues and having a simple add-on tool such as PerfectIt saves time and increases efficiency in proof reading.

  • Easy to install and use
  • Quickly locates discrepancies
  • Especially useful in tracking inconsistencies when document is prepared by multiple authors
  • Checks inconsistencies in hyphenations, abbreviations, capitalization, tables, language version, use of numbers and punctuation
  • Fixes errors at the click of a button or allows you to manually fix errors
  • Saves time
  • Helps to generate a table of acronyms and update the Table of Contents
  • Good reference documentation in PerfectIt Help
  • Customizable to suit your business\industry requirements

Dislikes

PerfectIt is not the perfect proof reading tool. Just as with any proof reading tool you cannot take it for granted and assume that all errors in the English language are identified and eliminated. You still need to exercise due discretion and judgment before making fixes.

  • Does not provide a spell check option
  • Grammar check option is not available
  • Based on specific tests, so does not identify other types of errors

Conclusion

PerfectIt is the answer for writers who have time bound projects or who run on tight schedules and who need quick proof reading solutions. It’s user-friendly interface and features, make it a worthy tool for all those in need of proofing solutions. The fact that PerfectIt is customizable for your specific writing needs makes it a must buy item. Although you still have to apply your judgment before making the changes to your document, this tool will definitely go a long way in ensuring the highest standards of writing and creating a professional looking documents that will impress your clients and customers.

I give this tool a rating of 7 out of 10

Creating styles in Microsoft Word 2003

April 28, 2009

You can create styles by formatting text and base a style on the formatted text. If you want a higher degree of control over style creation, you might want to consider creating styles using the New Style dialog box. By using the New Style dialog box, you can easily incorporate alignment, paragraph spacing, indents, line spacing, font colors, and many more into your style.

To create a new style using the New Style dialog box, follow the steps below:

  1. Click the Styles and Formatting button on the Formatting toolbar to display the Styles and Formatting task pane or select Format a Styles and Formatting, and then click the New Style button from the styles and formatting task pane. The New Style dialog box appears.
  2. In the New Style dialog box, type a name for your new style in the Name box. Think clearly when you consider names to associate with styles—the more vivid your style names are, the easier it will be for you and others to identify each style’s purpose and apply the proper style within documents.
  3. In the Style Type list box, specify whether your style will be a paragraph, character, table, or list. (Most styles are paragraph styles)
  4. In the Formatting section, configure your style’s properties using the Font and Size list boxes as well as the formatting, alignment, spacing, above and below spacing, and indent buttons.

When you are done configuring the formatting options, click OK. The newly created style will appear in the Styles and Formatting task pane as well as in the Style list box. You can use and modify your new styles just as if they were built-in styles. Furthermore, unlike built-in styles, custom styles are easy to delete when you no longer need them.

Macro to remove text with specific style in MS Word 2003

April 7, 2009

A writer who is required to format a MS Word document might find this piece of code very useful. This has helped me a lot in the past and I would like to share it with others as well. The exact procedure to use the code is mentioned below. In simple words what it does is that, if you have text in a Word document with specific style applied to it that would like removed, this code would do that for you in a matter of seconds. This tool is only for subscribers, and you can download the template with the code from the member’s area.

Summary

This macro is editable and can be modified based on user requirements. The macro searches for text in the document that has (”Heading 1”) style applied to it. It then selects the text and deletes it; this procedure is looped such that the text with (”Heading 1”) style no longer exists. If you would like text with another style removed, you can modify the code accordingly with the style name and run the piece of code as usual.

Note: To keep track of all the changes made to the document while the macro runs, Turn ON Track Changes.

Information

1.       Start or switch to Word

2.       On the Tools menu, point to Macro, and then click Visual Basic Editor.

3.       On the Insert menu, click Module.

4.       In the module, copy and paste the following code:

<CODE IS AVAILABLE IN THE FREE GOODIES SECTION.>

5.       On the File menu, click Close and Return to Microsoft Word.

6.       On the Tools menu, point to Macro, and then click Macros.

7.       In the list of macros, select the DeleteHeading1 macro. Click Run.

Note: To turn on Track Changes Go to Tools -> Click Track Changes (or) Hold Ctrl+Shift+E

If you want to use with more than one document, you can add a button to one of the document toolbars to run the macro. To add a button for a macro to a toolbar, follow these steps:

Procedure

1.       Open the document that contains the macro. If you have just added a macro to your current document, save your document. For this procedure to work, your file must be saved before you create the button.

2.       On the Tools menu, click Customize.

3.       Click the Commands tab.

4.       Click Macros in the Categories list.

5.       Drag the name of your macro from the Commands list and drop it on one of your toolbars. This adds a button to the toolbar to run the macro.

6.       Click Close.

Macro to delete text with specific style – click to download

I’m yet to test this piece of code on Word 2007 and once I’m done with it I will have it uploaded to the members area as well.

Removing built-in styles in Microsoft Word 2003

April 3, 2009

Microsoft Word is an industry standard word processing tool that is most widely used in in the field of technical writing. MS Word is most often used to prepare manuals, process guides, procedures, proposals and others documents. Every company has a brand name associated to it and to make their documentation unique, they use their own style and format to prepare documents.

In one of my recent observation I came across a tech writer who was trying to over ride a built-in style but was not able to do so. This post is for all those technical writers who use custom styles and would like to remove the build in styles. Following the below mentioned procedure will help you avoid MS Word built-in styles like Heading 7, Heading 8 and Heading 9 for example.

Procedure

1. Open MS Word

2. Select New from the File menu to display the New Document task pane. This appears to the right of your screen.

3. Click On my computer link under Templates on the New Document task pane.

4. Select Blank document and click OK. A new Word document opens which uses the default normal.dot template.

5. Select Templates and add Ins from the Tools menu. The Templates and add Ins dialog box appears.

6. Click the Organizer button. The Organizer dialog box appears. All styles in the normal.dot template is listed in list box to the right.

7. Select all the styles in the list box and delete them.

The following mandatory styles will be retained in the template.

  • Default Paragraph Font
  • No list
  • Normal
  • Table Normal

These styles are necessary for Word to function.

Note: Keep a copy of the normal.dot template at another location on your computer. Incase you face any issues or you need the styles back or any other unknown issue due to this you can replace the Normal.dot.

I’ve performed this task on my computer and MS Word works fine without any issues.

Document statistics using Word 2003

April 1, 2009

Microsoft Word has an excellent built-in feature. This allows the user to view the statistics of the document he is working on. Managing the overall content of the writing style is an important part of the writing process. For example, students might need to write a paper/thesis with a minimum number of words. To encourage students to increase the complexity of their writing, you might want to ascertain the reading level of a document. Word contains the statistics feature that meets these needs.

You can use readability statistics to track the complexity of a sentence structure and ascertain the reading level. This simple feature reveals several information about the student’s individual writing style. In addition, document statistics can reveal the number of sentences, words, paragraphs, sentences per paragraph, and words per sentence. This can be used as a guide to understand the writer and his/her capacity.

clip_image001Procedure to view document statistics

  1. On the Tools menu, Select Options, and then select the Spelling & Grammar tab.
  2. Select the Show readability statistics check box, and then click the Recheck Document button. Click OK to close the dialog box. This turns the readability statistics feature ON. The document statistics is displayed when you perform spelling and grammar check on the document and the last part of that process reveals the statistics.
  3. On the Tools menu, click Spelling and Grammar. Word checks for spelling and grammatical errors. If you have any spelling or grammar errors, you will need to skip them by clicking Ignore or make the necessary changes.
  4. After the entire document is checked, a dialog box appears that shows both document statistics and the reading level.
  5. Click OK.