Paraphrasing Paul Beverley, Advanced Professional Member CIEP and macro guru, macros are programs that, like apps, do something. Since I don’t know anything about coding, I will keep these comments brief. If you can imagine a macro to do a particular task, you (or someone who does know coding) can probably write one to do it. I started using macros when a LinkedIn connection mentioned Paul Beverley and macros helping with the editing process. Once I started working with macros, I quickly realized how macros can improve my accuracy and efficiency. So, here is how I use macros in my copy editing and proofreading.
I have three phases of editing and macros come in handy in each of them. In the first phase, I use macros to set the language of the entire document, highlight potential article usage errors, pull out potential spelling errors, and so on. Usually a hard and fast rule applies to these types of errors and I can quickly mark them for later or make decisions on them right away. For example, the journal article must be written in UK English; or certain field-specific words aren’t found in my dictionary, so I look them up to confirm spelling and then use a macro to highlight the truly incorrect words. Macros allow me to do this quickly and efficiently; they give me a sense of how much editing will be needed in the document and what I errors I need to be on the lookout for.
In my second phase of editing, I consistently use a different set of macros. My current favorites include “InstantJumpUp/Down”, “PunctuationToTimesSign”, “WhatChar”, and “CommentJumpInOut”. If I’m not if a special character is the correct one, I use the “WhatChar” macro to find out. Do I need to go to the next instance of a phrase? I use “InstantJumpDown”. These are assigned shortcut keys so that I can almost exclusively use the keyboard instead of the mouse—thereby avoiding repetitive strain injury (more on that in another blog)—allowing me to quickly edit throughout the manuscript.
My final phase is clean. I run the usual spellcheck and find and replace tools. I use a macro to tabulate my comments so that I can double check them for consistency and errors. My favorite macros at this stage are “HighlightFindDown” and “UnHighlightAndColour”. Instead of paging through the text, I can quickly go to a highlighted section and then remove that same color within the rest of the paper.
There you go! These are the Paul Beverley macros that I find helpful and use for almost every editing and writing project. Not only can you get these macros free from Paul Beverley, but he has a YouTube channel on how to use macros. Now go out there and learn how to use these powerful tools!