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Effective Onscreen Editing: new tools for an old profession (3rd ed.)
The 3rd edition is now available! If you're still using an older version of Microsoft Word, the eBook (PDF) version
is still available, on request. Please contact me to request a copy. If you purchased the eBook version of the 2nd edition in April 2016 or later: Please contact me directly (with the date of
purchase) and I'll send you a copy of the 3rd edition. If you purchased the printed version, I can't offer a free upgrade, but I can send you a copy of the eBook of the 3rd edition at no cost or offer a large discount on the new printed edition. Contact me (include your receipt) to request details.
What's new in the 3rd edition?
The 3rd edition is substantially revised, and includes the following updates and improvements:
- All errata have been corrected and additions from the 2nd edition have been integrated in the text.
- The PDF version has been reformatted to be suitable for use on tablet, desktop, and laptop computers. An EPUB version is included at no additional cost for small tablets and smartphones; please note that the EPUB is a lagniappe and is not intended as a separate commercial product. There are no DRM usage restrictions on either the PDF or the EPUB.
- Separate Web pages are now provided for each chapter and each version of Microsoft Word so you can display instructions and annotated screenshots as you follow a procedure. This information is also available as a downloadable .zip file so you can use the Web pages even when you don’t have Internet access.
- The overall goal is still to teach editing strategies, not specific software. Nonetheless, I've updated the descriptions to cover Word 2010 for Windows and Word 2011 for the Macintosh. I'll add Web pages for more recent versions as time permits.
- Chapter 3: A new discussion of collaborative real-time editing over the Web. Because the relevant technologies are evolving so rapidly, this provides only a snapshot of the available options.
- Chapter 4: Descriptions of Word's settings have been expanded, updated to match newer versions of Word, and reorganized into a single comprehensive list to make it easier to find specific settings.
- Chapter 5: I've added several powerful new shortcuts for moving around files and selecting text that save me tens of minutes daily.
- Chapter 9: A downloadable sample style sheet is now available to help you create your own style sheets.
- Chapter 10: I've added a description of several important new software tools for imposing consistency on manuscripts and for applying certain publisher styles (e.g., APA, Chicago, MLA) to manuscripts.
- Chapter 11: I've enhanced the discussion of automatic text features and their use in editing.
- Chapter 12: I've added a short discussion of editing the text from software interfaces, and updated the discussion of font problems and dealing with special characters.
- Chapter 15 and Appendix 2: I've updated the information on protecting your files and yourself while you work.
- Chapter 16: I've thoroughly revised and updated the discussion of proofreading PDF files and online documents such as Web pages.
- Appendix 1: I've simplified and updated my description of backups, and have included descriptions of cloud storage and where to find all the files that contain your Word customizations (keyboard shortcuts, automatic text, macros, and dictionaries).
Bibliographic information: Hart, G. 2016. Effective onscreen editing: new tools for an old profession. 3rd ed. Diaskeuasis Publishing, Pointe-Claire, Quebec.
- Printed version: 518 p. ISBN 978-1-927972-04-5
- PDF version (suitable for most table computers): 827 p. ISBN 978-1-927972-05-2
- EPUB version: (unpaginated) ISBN 978-1-927972-06-9
Why do I need this book?
Most editors now edit manuscripts on the computer screen ("onscreen
editing") using a word processor. The editing skills
remain the same, but transferring them into a word processor can be challenging. Effective
Onscreen Editing eases
the transition from on-paper editing by teaching you how to apply general editing strategies suitable for all word processors, supplemented by proven
tips and tricks that will maximize your productivity and effectiveness. This book
is based on my nearly 30 years of experience as an editor and as a mentor for other
editors, improved by incorporating feedback from students who have taken my courses on
To make the editing strategies concrete, I use Microsoft Word (2010 for Windows and 2011 for the Macintosh) to show how to implement these principles in the
real world. (Because these examples illustrate the principles,
you'll benefit from the book even if you don't use Word. However, you'll have
to learn how your word processor implements the techniques.) The information
is provided in small chunks, designed for
easy reading and browsing. Dip into
the book to solve a specific problem, or
read a few pages every week to increase your mastery of
the art of onscreen editing.
How to use this book
Given the book’s length, you won’t want to read it cover to cover unless you have a serious insomnia problem. The most practical (and least intimidating) option is to use the book as a problem-solving resource. First, identify a specific onscreen editing task that is causing you trouble. Next, dip into the book and learn how to solve that problem.
As you solve each new problem, you’ll find that this frees up time you can use to learn more efficient ways to perform other editorial tasks. Use the time you save to solve another problem. Over time, you’ll be amazed at how much time you’re saving. Use that time to increase your effective hourly rate if you charage a fixed price per page, or to give yourself more time to work on difficult edits under tight deadlines if you charge by the hour or work for a salary.
To use the book most effectively: tips on how to use the PDF version of the book.
Read the reviews
Reviews of the 3rd edition are beginning to arrive:
- September 2016: An "essential weapon for your editing armory." Clare Midgley's review for the Society of Writers, Editors, and Translators.
- October 2016: "Whether Word has ever tempted you to smash your computer or you just to do some word processing task more quickly, you need this book." Reviewed for Corrigo, newsletter of STC's Technical Editing SIG, by Aelfwine Mischler.
- October 2016: "If you’re a working editor, you owe it to yourself to buy and read this book." Jack Lyon's review on the Editorium Update Web site.
- November 2016: "This is the second of Geoff Hart's books I've reviewed, and I wish I'd had it when I started editing." Dave Gardiner's review in the Southern Communicator, newsletter of the Australian Society for Technical Communication and the Technical Communicators Association of New Zealand.
- December 2016: "The bottom line is that there are more than enough gems in this book to recoup the cover price within a day of editing." Adrienne Montgomerie's review in the Copyediting.com newsletter.
- December 2016: "This is a very generous book: not only does it provide a remarkable amount of information for a relatively small (and tax-deductible) price, but purchasers are given access toa web page with links to additional illustrations, resources and screenshots for each chapter." Karen Hosking's review in the September/December isssue of The Canberra Editor, newsletter of the Canberra Society of Editors.
- January 2017: "If you are at all interested in how to use your computer and word processing software more efficiently, this editing-focused book will give you lots of ideas." Margie Beilharz's review in the January 2017 issue of the EditorsVic newsletter.
- March 2017: "Hart seems to have thought of everything... This might just be the most useful book I have ever reviewed." Stephen Gilliver's review in Medical Writing, journal of the European Medical Writers Association.
readers have been saying about the 2nd edition of Effective Onscreen Editing:
readers said about the 1st edition of Effective Onscreen Editing:
- Reviewed by Novelspot (April 2009).
- Reviewed by the Institute of Scientific and Technical Communicators. (March 2009)
- Reviewed in Offpress, the newsletter
Society of Editors (Queensland) Inc. (April
- Reviewed by the
Editorial Freelancers Association. (March/April
- Read Thomas
Sura's review in the IEEE–PCS newsletter (January 2008)
- Reviewed by the
Society for Editors and Proofreaders. (undated,
but appeared in 2008)
- Gordon Graham provided a favorable mention
of the book in the
SoftwareCEO newsletter (at the end of the
8 January 2008 article "Tips
on jotting, online directories, and fixing
your software", Copyright © 2008, Computing
Technology Industry Association, Inc.)
- The European
Medical Writers Association reviewed the book in their The
Write Stuff newsletter (December
2007, republished here with permission)
- The Society for Technical Communication reviewed
the book in the Technical
Editing SIG online newsletter (12 November
- Jack Lyon's review in Editorium
Update (22 June 2007)
- Reviewed by the Society of Writers, Editors, and Translators (1 June 2007)
Buy the PDF and print versions
of the book!
The 2nd edition of the book is still available for purchase; contact
me for details. All sales via this page are only for the 3rd edition.
||Want to add the book to your course
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Detailed table of contents (and a sample chapter)
To avoid cluttering this page, I've provided a link to a detailed version of the book's table of contents.
can also download
a free copy of Chapter 3 to confirm whether
you like the style and content. I've provided a PDF file containing tips
on how to use this eBook to help you get the most out of
this book. The tips will also work for many other eBooks and PDF files.
©2004–2017 Geoffrey Hart. All rights reserved