Today I have tips for disposing of two tasks in mere seconds. While less savvy writers and editors are laboring over for the same chores for hours, we can go dancing!
[NB: Back up work before making any global change to a document.]
Removing All Field Codes (Including Hyperlinks) from a Document
Do you ever run across strange, shadowy, curly-bracketed expressions lurking in your documents? Or chunks of text that turn gray when you click anywhere within them? Or lots of hyperlinked URLs that are merely excess baggage if a document is headed for a print publication? These bits of tagged text can be extremely useful—essential—for compiling data, updating documents, and other chores I almost never need to do. You might actually need your field codes, so consider carefully before you wipe them out. Once you’re certain they’re disposable, there’s a way to trash them all at once, in two seconds. (Don’t worry about disturbing automatically numbered or bulleted lists or linked footnotes or endnotes. Although they may fall within the scary gray description, they’re a bit more difficult to dislodge. See below.)
1. Highlight the chunk you want to remove fields from. (Ctrl-A highlights the entire document.)
2. Hit Shift-Ctrl-F9.
Ta-daa! All gone.
Learn more about inserting and deleting field codes.
Converting Automatic Numbering to Typed Numbers
Like field codes, automatic numbering can save lifetimes of word processing. This feature allows you to add or delete an item near the top of a numbered list and watch all the numbers below it neatly increase or decrease by one. However, when the auto-feature isn’t needed or welcome, simply removing the numbered formatting in Microsoft Word leaves the text without any numbers at all.
Fortunately, there’s an easy way to save yourself keying in all the missing numbers. It involves putting a toe into the waters of Visual Basic, but don’t be frightened.* I promise: you can do it. I did it, and I’m here to tell the tale. Back up your document and go for it:
1. Highlight the chunk of text that contains the automatic numbering you want to convert to typed numbers. (Don’t worry about automatically numbered footnotes and endnotes; they’ll survive.)
2. Click Alt-F11. A Microsoft Visual Basic screen will open.
3. Under the View tab, choose Immediate Window. A little window will open across the bottom of the Visual Basic screen.
4. Type the following or paste it in:
5. Hit Enter.
6. Close the Visual Basic screen.
That’s it—your numbering should now be typed instead of automatic.
*I confess that I never work in Visual Basic and have no idea what it is. My level of understanding is like that of a rat running a maze to get a hit of cocaine: I do the steps; I get what I want. I’m telling you this so you don’t come back to me if it goes wrong. You did back up your work, right?
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