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Using find and replace: Editor's Notes #192
August 15, 2015
Hello,

Taking shortcuts doesn't mean shortcutting the end result.
--Sandra Lee


In this issue:

1. Find and replace
2. Tickled my funnybone
3. Interesting Web site
4. Writing prompt

1. Find and Replace
Many features of Microsoft Word can save writers time and headaches. One such is Find and Replace. I use this frequently.

For example, sometimes a writer will spell a character's name inconsistently. Sara on page 5 is Sarah on page 12. Once I know which spelling the writer prefers, I put technology to work for me.

In the menu bar, go to Edit > Find. Type in the word you want to change. In this case, I want to change Sarah to Sara, so I put Sarah in the Find field. Above the field are three choices: Find, Replace, and Go To. I now choose Replace. In the new field, I type in Sara. At the bottom of the dialogue box are four buttons: Replace All, Replace, Cancel, and Find Next. In this case, I want to change every misspelling of the name, so I choose Replace All. Note that this will replace not only every instance of Sarah, but also Sarah's.

I can also use Find to help with punctuation. If I discover that a writer struggles with how to close quotes, and many do, I go through the steps above, putting a closed quote in the Find box. Usually Word will put in a curly quote in which open and closed quotes are different. If typing a quotation mark into the Find field does not give a closed quote, one quick way to get one there is simply to find one in the text, copy it and then paste that into the Find field. Because several factors come into play when using a closed quotation mark, I want to see each instance. In this case, I choose Find Next. Clicking that button takes me to the text where a closed quote appears. If it is used correctly, I go back to Find, where my entry remains, and I click Find Next. If I have to make a correction, I do that, and then go back to Find. I work my way through the text until Word tells me that it has completed the whole text. Note that if you did not have your cursor at the beginning of the document when you began, Word says you are at the end of the document when you see the last instance of the item you are checking and asks if you want to go back to the beginning. Accept that option.

Although Find and Replace saves me a great deal of time, I never, ever make that the last thing I do to a text. I always reread everything before sending the work back to the writer, and you should also reread everything before sending your work on. Technology is a great time-saver -- usually. I have made the mistake of hitting Replace All to change US to U.S. and got words like bu.s. and u.s.ually. So do be careful when choosing Replace All, and always do a reread of your text after making any change, especially any global change.

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2.Tickled my funnybone
The nose is in the middle of the face because it is the scenter.

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3. Interesting Web site
For more help using Word, see this page:
http://www.mswordhelp.com/

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4. Writing prompt
What was your favourite toy as a child? Do you remember how you got it? What was its appeal? What influence does it have on your current life? Turn these ideas over in your mind for a while. When you are ready, use your thoughts as a launch into writing.

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