Tag Archives: copyediting

The Gloucestershire Copywriter challenges you not to get hooked on this …

I found this bit of inspired website homepage design the other day and got hooked playing around with it. I challenge anyone not to. It’s very clever and very ‘sticky’ once you’ve discovered it…


Actually, this was the last thing I needed as I tried to get back up to speed after three weeks away. But it is just so engaging and irresistible.

Who remembers Tracy Chapman and classic songs such as ‘Fast Car’ and ‘Baby Can I Hold You? Well, Tracy’s website is currently promoting her new album, called Our Bright Future – with a twistPlaying around with the colour palette and colouring in those clouds and houses (and the birds and plane if you are quick) reminded me of how I often help clients get draft copy completed when they have roughed out some copy ideas but haven’t the time to finish the work.

I call it copy-editing PLUS and it’s another example of how I help businesses and individuals write the copy they don’t have the time, specialist skills or inclination to do themselves. Just as the Tracy Chapman website sets up an outline framework ready for colouring in, so I can take your outline copy and add the ‘colour’ it needs to work effectively online or in print – often without the cost of ‘from scratch’ copywriting.

That’s enough about me. If you need a bit of colouring-in therapy, visit Tracy’s website and be hooked (I take no responsibility for the effect on your productivity)!

On the other hand, if you want a hand getting copy off your to-do list, please contact me.

Al Hidden is an experienced Gloucestershire based copywriter specialising in Marketing, Web/SEO, technical and PR copywriting.

Canadian contact solves Gloucestershire copywriter’s Word 2003 macro quandary

I’m reading Geoff Hart’s great book Effective onscreen editing: New tools for an old profession (2nd edition) at the moment. As a busy Gloucestershire copywriter and copy-editor , it’s always useful to mine gems from one of the recognised masters of technical editing and tech writing.

Calling Ottawa…

Because I periodically have to edit text within HTML tags I was really interested in Geoff’s explanation of a Word macro to change the HTML tags to an unobtrusive grey colour. This makes it much easier to concentrate on the text content contained between the tags. Four hours into trying unsuccessfully to get the macro to work, I realised that something was wrong. Not sure whether it was my limited macro knowledge or simply ‘Word being Word’ I emailed Geoff in Ottawa, Canada. That was at 21.00 last night. Imagine my delight this morning when I discovered a fast and friendly email response from Geoff, explaining that there’s a known bug with font colours in W2003’s Find and Replace function and that it causes problems when you try to record a macro. So this Gloucestershire copywriter wasn’t going mad after all… (Geoff has subsequently added a note to the book’s errata website.)

A great macro for use when editing text in HTML pages

Even better, Geoff had kindly worked out an alternative that works a treat in Word 2003 (the bug was fixed from Word 2007 onwards). It’s a great macro, especially when assigned a keyboard shortcut. Start with your page of text, enshrouded in HTML tags, click your shortcut and watch the ‘meaty text’ jump out of the page as the HTML is knocked back into understated grey. Once your editing is finished, simply convert everything back to black and you’re good to go. Simples! (as that meerkat says on TV).

Here, with Geoff’s blessing, is a copy of the macro to convert the HTML tags into a light grey font:

Sub HideTags()

‘ HideTags Macro
‘ Macro recorded 21 February 2011 by

With Selection.Find
.Text = “[]”
.Replacement.Text = “^&”
.Replacement.Font.Color = wdColorGray25
.Forward = True
.Wrap = wdFindContinue
.Format = True
.MatchCase = False
.MatchWholeWord = False
.MatchAllWordForms = False
.MatchSoundsLike = False
.MatchWildcards = True
End With
Selection.Find.Execute replace:=wdReplaceAll
End Sub

Recommended by the sfep

For more of the same and 735 information-packed pages on every possible aspect of on-screen editing, I can’t recommend Geoff’s book highly enough (it’s also recommended by the UK Society for freelance editors and proofreaders). You can find more details and information on how to buy a copy on his editing, writing and translation website. It’s a great read, packed with useful information and insights, written by a really decent guy.

Thank you again Geoff.