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Use your computer like a computer: Editor's Notes #232
March 31, 2017
Hello,

I'm all in favour of keeping dangerous weapons out of the hands of fools. Let's start with typewriters.
--Solomon Short


In this issue:

1. Don't use your computer like a typewriter
2. Tickled my funnybone
3. Interesting Web site
4. Writing prompt
5. Letter to the editor

1. Don't use your computer like a typewriter
In the last issue (http://www.writershelper.com/Editors_Notes-231.html ) I told readers to use computers like typewriters. Today, I'm telling you when you should use your computer like a computer and NOT like a typewriter.

Computers do things typists could only dream of. Here is a list of things you should let your computer do for you. (I am not telling you how to do each action because each combination of word processor and computer creates different details. If you don't know how to set line spacing in Word, for example, do an Internet search for Word XXX set line spacing, replacing XXX with your version of Word. Because I use a Macintosh computer, I always add Mac. So my search would say, Word 2008 Mac set line spacing.)

Set your line spacing. Some people hit return twice to double space. That's a lot of extra keystrokes over the lifetime of a writer. You can set your line spacing to automatically double space.

Set your justification. This controls how your text lines up vertically. Until someone tells you to do otherwise, set your justification to align left. If you need to centre some text, use justification for that, too, instead of trying to count keystrokes across your page.

Set your paragraph indentation. Typewriters allow you to set tabs, and that's how people used to deal with paragraphs. It's much simpler to set your computer to begin each paragraph the way you want it to. Then, when you hit return, the computer takes you exactly to where you need to be to start the next paragraph.

Use a footer or header to number your pages. You can also include your name and the title of your work if you are submitting it to someone else. Given how often pages slide off desks, setting at least the page numbers is highly recommended.

If you use long quotations, set block quotes.

If you write lists, use the bullet feature.

If you write nonfiction, begin with a proper Table of Contents that can turn into headings within your text. This is more complicated than the information above, but well worth the trouble if you have a large or complicated project.

If you have footnotes, consider a program like Endnotes, and use it as intended. Endnotes creates perfect citations and a bibliography, and you just have to tell it once which source you are using.

When you work in Outline view, you can move whole sections of text simply by dragging it. As a subscriber, you should have my Tip Sheet on using Outline view.

Using a computer for these tasks makes changes so easy. For example, if I begin with a five-space indentation for a paragraph, and then find out I should indent eight spaces, I can make the change one time and all the paragraphs will be fixed at once. This does not work if you hit the space bar five times or use the tab key. It works only if you tell the computer in language it understands how you want your paragraphs to look. A few minutes to set up at the beginning of your writing can save hours of time later.

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2.Tickled my funnybone
From a church bulletin: Weight Watchers will meet at 7 PM at the First Presbyterian Church. Please use large double door at the side entrance.

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3. Interesting Web site
I never mess with my own Normal template, but if you want to, here is how. If you want to set up your own templates, like I do, use the link at the bottom of the linked article to create and use your own templates.
https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Change-the-default-settings-for-new-documents-430B4132-E129-46E4-97D2-19C326352C7F

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4. Writing prompt
Spring. Use this word in any way that takes your fancy.

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5. Letter to the editor
Subscriber Lesley Pinkett sent this factoid and said I can share it with you.

Typewriter is a long word written using keys entirely on the top line of the keyboard.

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