Editing Tips from Crystal Collier and the Timeless Tour

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I’m so pleased to have Crystal Collier here today to share her new book and some editing tips!

–Take it away Crystal–

timeless-web-minIn 1771, Alexia had everything: the man of her dreams, reconciliation with her father, even a child on the way. But she was never meant to stay. It broke her heart, but Alexia heeded destiny and traveled five hundred years back to stop the Soulless from becoming.

In the thirteenth century, the Holy Roman Church has ordered the Knights Templar to exterminate the Passionate, her bloodline. As Alexia fights this new threat—along with an unfathomable evil and her own heart—the Soulless genesis nears. But none of her hard-won battles may matter if she dies in childbirth before completing her mission.

Can Alexia escape her own clock?

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BUY: Amazon | B&N

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How to Use the REVIEW Function in Word

Do you use the review function in Word?

I’ve worked with many authors through the years, and it seems about 60% of them understand the review panel, so I thought I would enlighten those of us who are TERRIFIED of the technology. (I promise, you can’t break your story by using the review function.)

Now why would we use this tool rather than typing our thoughts into the document? For a couple reasons.

  1. There’s a button that will jump you to each and every comment or change made through the editing function. No change will be missed.
  2. There’s a single-click accept or reject button that makes implementing changes SUPER FAST. (We’ll talk about these buttons later.)

Basically, the Review Function is super efficient. (I don’t know about you, but I’m all for saving time/sanity.)

So how do we use the review features?

First of all, to access the review panel, go click on REVIEW in the top menu bar:

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click to enlarge

You’ll see exactly what we’re looking at right here. We’re not going to worry about the first half of the menu bar. I think most of those are self explanatory. Right after “Language” you’ll see “New Comment.” This is very easy to use. Place the blinking cursor on the spot in your document where you want to add a comment, and then click on this icon with your mouse. A bubble like this will appear:

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From there, place your blinking cursor in the comment box and type your thoughts.

Easy peasy.

Some people get worried they won’t be able to get rid of a comment once it has been entered. Look at the menu right next to the “New Comment” button. Once there are comments in the document, “Delete,” “Previous,” and “Next” all become operational. Click on the comment with your mouse so that the cursor is again in the dialog box, and hit “delete” in the top menu bar (right next to “New Comment”). Goodbye comment. You can also right click on the comment bubble and a drop down menu will appear with options to “Reply to Comment,” “Delete Comment,” and more.

When there are multiple comments in the document, you can easily jump to the next one or previous one by hitting the “Previous” or “Next” button in the top menu.
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Next, look at the “Show Comments” button. If there are comments in the document but they’re hidden, click this button and they will all appear.

Track Changes is just what it sounds like. If you click on this button, any change you make in the document will appear underlined and in red, or blue, or whatever color you have set for your changes, like this:

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Next we come to the Mark Up windows. These are where you decide which notes and editing you’d like to see in your document.

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Right now I have mine set to “All Markup.” That means I see EVERY suggestion anyone has put in my document. If you click on the little arrow next to it, other options appear in a drop down menu: Simple Markup (hides the comment text but shows where comments appear. It also shows a vertical line on the left side of the document, indicating where changes have been made. You can select “No markup” or “Original”–meaning you’ll see only your untouched document.

The “Show Markup” menu is a drop down menu that gives you an option to look at EXACTLY what you want to of the reviewed material. You can look only at comments, or only at formatting, only at insertions, etc. When you have multiple reviewers on a single document, this is also where you can hide all but one, or choose to view all at the same time.

Reviewing Pane. You can view all the comments and changes in the actual document, or you can turn on this review pane (with the option to view it on the left or below the document).

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From there you can click on any revision in the left hand menu, and it will jump you to the spot where the edit was made.

Last of all, the Accept and Reject buttons. This is where the power of speed comes into play. You can integrate any change simply by hitting the accept button. You can deny any change by hitting the reject button. Previous and Next will jump you to the preceding or upcoming suggestion. No need to reformat text. No need to hit the backspace button a hundred times. As an author with a 350 page book, this makes the job of integrating suggestions exceedingly easy.

And there you have it. If you haven’t toyed with this exceptionally helpful tool, I hope you will. Technology is there to benefit us. Let’s use it. (And while you’re at it, buy my books!)

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What is your favorite writing technology?

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croppedsmaller-minCrystal Collier is an eclectic author who pens clean fantasy/sci-fi, historical, and romance stories with the occasional touch of humor, horror, or inspiration. She practices her brother-induced ninja skills while teaching children or madly typing about fantastic and impossible creatures. She has lived from coast to coast and now calls Florida home with her creative husband, four littles, and “friend” (a.k.a. the zombie locked in her closet). Secretly, she dreams of world domination and a bottomless supply of cheese.

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Updated: November 23, 2016 — 3:28 pm

40 Comments

  1. Hi Crystal and Holly – congratulations on your Timeless Tour .. you are getting around. Thanks Crystal for letting us know about 'Review' … I am sure this will be a very useful guide and does look easy to use … I shall make a note of it to come back to … cheers Hilary

    1. Thanks, Hilary! It is super easy to use, and a function I wish a LOT more people knew about. My own learning curve on it took a while, so why not throw it out there to help others, eh?

      1. This is such a fantastic tool.

  2. I use it, but I don't think I've ever used it to that extent.

    1. I think I've pretty much used every aspect of it through giving or receiving critiques. I'd go mad without it!

    2. I haven't either, but I'm encouraged to try more now. 🙂

  3. Crystal, congratulations on your release. Great tips here. Anyway you can save time is a good thing.

    1. Agreed! There's so many more pressing things to do!

  4. I freelance write for a living and I have clients who refuse to use the review panel. They make me just make the changes. I've heard a lot of writers refuse to use it, too. Both my publisher and my agent require that I use it, though. I guess when you work with someone who requires it, you just suck up whatever opinion you have of the track changes/review feature, but I LOVE it!!!

    1. Interesting. I have found it a really handy tool, too.

    2. If an author is adverse to using it, I'm not sure they'll make it in the writing world. You have to be adept, adaptable, and smart in the current market. I had one client who also refused to use it, and I don't want to tell you how that relationship ended. Not good to say the least.

      I saw it the first time while working with my first literary agent back in 2006, and I was like "What is this new and unexpected awesomeness?" It's definitely one of those things that once you start using, you never look back.

      1. Ha! I had that same reaction when I discover it.

  5. Great Timeless Tour!

    I'm an Apple user–often curse myself for making the change from PC–so I use Track Changes. It's pretty good even when interfacing with a PC user.

    Thanks for the post, Crystal.

    1. I thought they had the same features, just not so easy to find. 🙁

    2. Apple… I hear they're wonderful, but I don't think I'll be allowed into that realm. My techie hubby HATES repairing apples.

  6. yes, us translators use the review option all the time with the correctors when they return our translations with their 'fixes' 🙂 I usually use the comments to quarrel with them and battle our biggest enemy which correctors are 🙂

    1. Oo, a battle in the comment bubbles. Sounds fiesty.

    2. Oh my! That sounds like a riot of a time!

  7. Crystal, thanks for the tutorial! I was just thinking the other day how I need to tap into more of Word's features. This is a big help (and very cool!). Wishing you well with the new book.

    Holly, thanks for hosting and sharing your space with Crystal. Have a great week!

    1. I'm so glad, Karen. It's one of those aspects I think EVERY author had better learn. Now if they only knew about the mail merge function…

  8. Sadly, my iMac is getting old and most of the features on Word, Blogger, Mail don't work any longer. It's a long story, but I'm also hoping to switch to WordPress to fix the glitches with my blog. Thanks for this post, Crystal. Great to see your tour is so successful. I'm cheering for you.

    1. Aw, that is a sad tale. Fingers crossed for a smooth transition.

    2. Joylene, that just makes me sad for you. There's nothing worse than buggy tech when all you want to do is write.

  9. I love the review features of Word.
    Congrats again to Crystal!

    1. Right? What would we do without them?

  10. I do use the review tool, but only really since becoming a professional editor. Definitely need to apply it more to my own work!

    1. Lol! Isn't that the way? You don't break out the big guns until serving others?

  11. I like the Review function for work, but at home I've got a Mac and use Scrivener. They all have similar features though. Love anything that saves me time!!!

    1. Agreed! I tried Scrivener a while back, and I didn't like it. Too structured. It killed my creativity.

  12. I used to know all the features of Word when I used it for a day job, but then stopped having to use all the bells and whistles. I need to relearn! I've used track changes to judge writing contests, but haven't used it on my own stuff.

    1. Time to change that, eh? 😉

  13. Great tips, Crystal. It certainly makes critiquing and editing much easier. 🙂

  14. I've used the review function most when editing someone else's work. It's so handy. Congrats, Crystal!

    1. Thanks, Cherie. I use it for both, especially when not 100% on the changes made.

  15. Sounds pretty good. I should try to experiment more with the program. I hope they don't keep changing things that I have to relearn.

    Arlee Bird
    <a href="http://tossingitout.blogspot.com/">Tossing It Out</a>

    1. The functionality has been there since 2006, so I don't see it going anywhere.

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