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Writing / Research Tip Tuesday

Today's tip features a neat little writing tool and comes to you from the fabulous Heather Lane. Make sure to stop by and visit her blog, Edited to Within an Inch of My Life. But check out her tip before you go. She picked it up from Verla Kay's awhile ago, and it's a good one!

"When I am revising, I need to be able to get to each chapter easily. So, I highlight the words, Chapter One (or the title, if you use them for chapters) and right click to have the menu pop up. I select Paragraphs, and under Outline Level, I highlight Level 1. On the left hand side of my screen, an outline appears, and if I click there on Chapter One, I zap back to that first chapter, no matter where I am in the novel. Since I have different POV's within each chapter, I highlight the beginning of those, and right click to get me to the same menu. Then in Outline Level, I choose Level 2. So, my whole novel becomes outlined on the left hand side of the screen, and I get a feel for where things are, and am able to find anything quickly. All my chapter starts are at Level 1 of my outline, and all my POV switches are at Level 2. It makes revisions so much easier.

And I love anything that helps my revisions easier."

This little wonder is called Document Map and is a standard feature in Microsoft Word. I did a quick post about it here (and oddly enough, it was a Heather that introduced it to me!). It can be a little confusing at first, but give it a shot and I bet you'll be hooked. It's only a little effort for a lot of organization.

Thanks so much Heather!

16 comments:

  1. Thanks for the tip. It will definitely come in handy in the revision process.

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  2. Great tip. I am a big geek so I love anything to do with making Word work for me.
    And I love your new pic!

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  3. Invaluable advice. Now to figure out how to implement it... I will try.

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  4. I'm obsessed with revision tips right now so thanks!

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  5. Thanks! One of my document maps got all messed up, and everything I did to fix it made it worse. I didn't think to look under Paragraphs.

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  6. If anyone has trouble figuring it out, feel free to leave a comment here or e-mail me. It's a great little tool.

    And thanks Dreamstate! I like playing around with my pictures. I can't stand having the same one up there too long. : p

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  7. I am in shock that I did not know this existed. All the wasted years in Word, scrolling and scrolling. Thank you!! It's awesome!

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  8. This is a great tip. Do you know of any way I can print out just the document map?

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  9. Wonderful idea. I can't wait to try this!

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  10. Wow!! What an awesome tip. I had no idea that feature was there :)

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  11. Great tip! I think I'll try this right now on my current revision.

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  12. I have to try that! I don't plot out the entire novel and forget about POV switches and whether I've given a character her or her fair share of "screen time". Thanks for the tip!

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  13. Many institutions limit access to their online information. Making this information available will be an asset to all.

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  14. It was actually *me* who introduced you to document map. ;)

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