Monthly Archives: March 2016

Backing Up Word Templates and Shortcuts

By Geoff Hart

geoff-Australia-croppedIf you’ve used Microsoft Word for any length of time, you’ve probably begun using its key automation features, such as macros and automatic text. If you’re as gung ho as I am, you’ve accumulated a significant collection of these shortcuts. You probably even depend on them for getting work done efficiently. You’ve also probably spent some time adding words to the software’s custom dictionaries, and may even have created specialized dictionaries for certain genres that have their own jargon. Wouldn’t it be a shame if you somehow lost all that hard work? Continue reading

Nine Steps to Improve Technical Editing Skills

Francis_Bao_thumbnailBy Francis Bao

Technical writers always want their work to be recognized by the audience. Technical writing and editing skills are highly associated with each other. Effective editing will help make bad writing good and good writing better. Experienced editors will catch both factual and grammatical errors in copy before it is published, preventing embarrassment, additional costs, and possible legal action. Follow these simple steps to improve your editing skills. Continue reading

Book Review: The Sense of Style

geoff-Australia-croppedby Geoff Hart

Pinker, Steven. 2014. The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century. Penguin, 359 p.

We editors love our style guides and accumulate them by the dozen so we can seek insights to solve vexing editorial problems. But if we’re honest, we’ll admit that we return to some guides more than others—usually the ones that support our preferences and prejudices. Even for those references, we sometimes wonder whether certain recommendations make sense, or whether they’re just rules for the sake of rules—the author’s prejudices carved in stone, as in Theodore Bernstein’s eponymous “Miss Thistlebottom” or even The Elements of Style, which William Strunk began carving in stone nearly a century ago. Continue reading