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Editor’s Toolkit

PG received a promo email for a program called Editor’s Toolkit and was intrigued by some of the features it claimed.

From An American Editor

The new Editor’s ToolKit Plus 2018 has a wealth of new features, but I’d like to alert you to a few of my favorites, some of which are not immediately obvious but can be enormously useful.

. . . .

If I had to pick a favorite out of all the new features, it would be this one. The previous version of Editor’s ToolKit Plus made it possible to select a heading, press a key (or click the mouse), and properly title-case the selected text. For example, a heading like this one—

THE GHOST IN THE MACHINE

or this one (Word’s default)—

The Ghost In The Machine

instantly became capitalized like this—

The Ghost in the Machine

with commonly used articles, prepositions, and conjunctions lowercased. That was great as far as it went, but why not make it possible to properly title-case all of a document’s headings without having to select them? That’s what this new feature does, for any text formatted with a heading style (Heading 1, Heading 2, and so on—or your own custom heading styles).

But this feature takes things even a step further, allowing you to automatically title-case headings in the active document, all open documents, or all documents in a folder — your choice. Now, rather than painstakingly capping and lowercasing by hand, you can have this feature do it for you, in seconds rather than hours.

But wait — there’s more, as they say on TV. This feature references a list of words so it knows what to lowercase, and you can edit that list to fit your needs. Obviously you’re going to want such words as and, the, of, and an, but what about beyond? How about through? Add or remove words to meet your own editorial style.

In addition, you can add text that you want to remain in all caps: USA, NASA, AARP, and so on.

Finally, you can even specify mixed case, with words like QuarkXPress and InDesign.

. . . .

As you almost certainly know from hard experience, sometimes Microsoft Word documents become corrupted. (The technical term for this is wonky.) The standard fix, known as a “Maggie” (for tech writer/editor Maggie Secara, who has made it widely known to colleagues, although she did not invent the technique), is to select all of a document’s text except for the final paragraph mark (which holds the corruption), copy the text, and paste the text into a new document, which should then be free of wonkiness.

That’s simple enough, but section breaks can also hold corruption, so if your document has several of those, you have to maggie each section separately. Paragraph breaks also can become corrupt, in which case they need to be replaced with shiny new ones. The AutoMaggie feature in Editor’s ToolKit Plus takes care of all this automatically.

. . . .

If you’re fond of using macros that you’ve recorded yourself or captured online, you’ll find MacroVault a truly revolutionary feature of the new Editor’s ToolKit Plus 2018. It was included with the previous version of the program as a way to easily access the macros you use the most, including automatically set keyboard shortcuts to run those macros. Now it takes your macro use to the next level, allowing you to run any of your macros on the active document, all open documents, or all documents in a folder.

Not only that, but you can specify which parts of a document you want to use — the main text, text boxes, footnotes, endnotes, headers, footers, and comments. This brings enormous power and flexibility to your macro collection.

. . . .

FileCleaner has lots of new (and useful!) cleanup options — so many, in fact, that I’ve had to put each kind of option on its own tab, one for each of the following:

Breaks, Returns, Spaces, Tabs
Dashes
Hyphenation
Formatting
Text
Punctuation
Miscellaneous

. . . .

But I think the slickest new feature in FileCleaner is the ability to save entire sets of options for future use.

Just enter a name for a set of options (for a certain client, a certain kind of manuscript, or whatever). Then click OK to clean up those options. The next time you use FileCleaner, you can activate that set of options again by clicking the drop-down arrow on the right. When you do, all of the options for that saved setting will become selected. You can save up to 20 different sets of options.

Link to the rest at An American Editor

Here is additional information from the product’s website about various modules in the program:

FileCleaner

FileCleaner cleans up common problems in electronic manuscripts, including multiple spaces, multiple returns, unnecessary tabs, improperly typed ellipses, ells used as ones, and so on. It turns double hyphens into em dashes, and hyphens between numerals into en dashes. It can also remove directly applied font formatting (such as Times 12 point) while retaining styles (such as Heading 1) and character formatting (such as italic and bold), quickly cleaning up those messy documents imported from other word processors or OCR programs.

. . . .

 ListFixer

Microsoft Word’s automatically numbered and bulleted lists are fraught with problems. They’re hard to understand, they’re unpredictable, and, worst of all, they don’t use real characters, which means they can’t be imported into typesetting programs like QuarkXPress, making them useless for real-world publishing.

ListFixer converts automatic numbers and bullets into real numbers and bullets in the active document, all open documents, or all documents in a folder. In addition, it can be used instead of the Bullets and Numbering buttons on the Formatting toolbar, making it possible to select text and instantly apply or remove real numbers and bullets as you work.

If you like, ListFixer will apply special paragraph styles to your lists, allowing you to easily adjust indentation, line spacing, and tab alignment for list items simply by modifying the styles.

. . . .

MegaReplacer for Microsoft Word

MegaReplacer finds and replaces multiple text strings (characters, words, or phrases), text formatting (such as bold and italic), or styles in the active document, all open documents, or all documents in a folder—automatically or with your manual approval. The perfect tool for achieving complete consistency in a manuscript. No more looking through document after document for each item on your editorial style sheet. Simply list the items and have MegaReplacer find and fix them all. Or, if you’re writing a novel and want to change a character’s name in all of your chapters, MegaReplacer will do it for you in seconds.

Link to the rest at Editorium

At Casa PG, Mrs. PG writes the books and PG formats them, using MS Word and Kindle Create at the present time.

However, Mrs. PG, like many other authors (except those who stop taking their OCD Meds while writing) is focused on creating a story, not precisely formatting her manuscripts and maintaining coding consistency throughout the document. She and PG each have Grammarly installed on their machines for basic grammar-checking, but that doesn’t do much for formatting.

Part of PG’s formatting job is slapping the manuscript’s MS Word formatting into a consistent shape prior to pouring it into Kindle Create.

Over the years, PG has created various little shortcuts to speed the process along. However, while Mrs. PG writes on a consistent basis with a few short breaks during the year and is quite prolific, her books inevitably come at intervals long enough so PG may not remember all his little formatting tweaks between books. He has made some lists, but the formatting still takes longer than PG thinks it should.

Hence, PG’s flitting and fluttering attention seized upon the Editor’s Toolkit promo email when it drifted into his inbox. He’s checked out the website and it looks interesting and located a reviewer/editor online who says it’s a useful program.

But, PG would be interested in any experiences of visitors to TPV with Editor’s Toolkit or another tool that performs the same general group of manuscript cleanup tasks.

PG gave up writing litigation briefs and law review articles a long time ago, so he doesn’t need powerful footnote/endnote, citation-checking, etc. tools, just something that can efficiently transform a creative work of fiction into something resembling an attractive book. He’s also familiar with and has used Calibre, but is looking for something a little faster, automated and more focused on actively helping him catch errors instead of just giving him access to the nuts and bolts of an ebook file.

Here’s the link for the Editor’s Toolkit product page for the latest and greatest comprehensive version of the program (you can apparently buy separate tools in the toolkit if you so desire).

Here’s another link for the review of Editor’s Toolkit at An American Editor mentioned above

Here’s a review of Editor’s Toolkit and four other similar programs for the Mac

Here’s a link to Intelligent Editing’s Perfect It Proofreading Software which seems to be designed for a somewhat different job than Editor’s Toolkit (see video below)

Here’s a bonus long, long, long list of Copy Editing Resources from Journalist’s Toolbox

 

Apps, Writing Tools

9 Comments to “Editor’s Toolkit”

  1. Basically the answer is Vellum if you have a Mac.

  2. My problem with auto-fixers is when the ‘fix’ something the wrong way. (And when it’s something small it can get past my editor’s eye and into the finish product for all the world to see. (Well, not the whole world, just the crazy people that read my stuff, but you get the idea. 😉 ))

  3. I love Perfect It for catching things like misspelled or overused words and inconsistent capitalization. It will also flag long, complicated sentences and other things that might make a reader stumble.

    But *don’t* just let it “fix” things on automatic — check each result to see if you really do want the change!

    As for the Editor’s Toolkit, I find it strange that it thinks “Unlink paragraph styles” is a good thing. One of the advantages of using Styles is that you can change something one place and have it trickle down through the whole document. For instance, changing the Heading 1 font will change all linked heading styles, too.

    Like you, I have my formatting systems and work-arounds. I do wish Vellum would expand into Windows. But even if it did, I’d probably still have to do my complex-format nonfiction books by hand.

  4. I just put out a 3-book collection of my William Palmer books, and this time, instead of hiring someone, I did it myself.

    That’s when I learned that Jutoh has a file cleanup option:

    “The powerful Document Cleanup feature allows you to quickly improve formatting throughout your book, with options that include replacing blank paragraphs, removing direct colour and font formatting, removing comments, removing unused bookmarks, replacing straight quotation marks, and more.”

    It worked very well, especially considering the manuscript was a 1,000 Word pages long and had 400+ footnotes and a lot of illustrations.

  5. I follow An American Editor’s blog and know Richard Adin specializes in editing pretty technical documents and emphasizes efficiency to keep his business profitable. I haven’t used the toolkit because I don’t work on documents that require that level technical editing. It seems like in my case it would be akin to putting a V8 in a Prius. It’s on my radar to check out PerfectIt on my next project because it’s been recommended by other editors who do work similar to mine, and seems like it would be a better fit for me. I’d be very interested in your review if you decide to use either program. Thanks for consistently providing interesting and useful content!

  6. I am a professional editor who uses all the tools mentioned in this post, and have for many years. In order to recommend any of them, I need to state a basic qualification: Context Counts. You can go a long way with any one of them alone. As a suite of options, they are superb. Some are more oriented toward nonfiction than fiction, but many of the specific tools/tasks overlap in what they can do. I’ve reached the point of cherry-picking this one and that one from all three packages, depending on what kind of manuscript I’m editing. A big thing to consider is support. While all of the vendors are outstanding in that regard, the way they do their documentation differs. If you are a techno-boob like myself, they sort themselves out rapidly on how easy it is to install, troubleshoot, and employ. In a very broad-brush way (so broad that other users will certainly argue), I would say if you are working on heavy technical and academic manuscripts, choose EditTools. If you are mostly concerned about consistency across all types of documents, choose PerfectIt. Editors ToolKit is also good for general documents, in that it addresses both fiction and nonfiction, consistency and technical; you can’t go wrong with any. Now, looking at these as a writer rather than an editor, I would say PerfectIt is the most useful. But professionally, as mainly a fiction editor, a tailored combination of EditTools and PerfectIt suits my needs. There’s also another vendor who has a huge set of task-specific macros available for free, named Paul Beverley. He has collected them into a book, Macros for Editors. These plug any holes left among the trio of EditTools, Editors ToolKit, and PerfectIt. Again, in summary, it depends on what you need to do as to which is the most value for the buck. If you can afford it (none of these applications is expensive) and need a hefty dose of support, then get all of them and do your own cherry-picking. And when all is said and done, master the tools available in MS Word to sweep up afterward.
    DISCLAIMER: I have met all of the developers personally, have used their products since early days, follow their progress, and genuinely feel they’ve done a fantastic job serving the editorial and writing communities. I encourage anyone who needs software support in their writing or editing to invest in their offerings.

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