Tag Archives: editing

Does this happen to you too? Tell the Gloucestershire Copywriter…

Do you listen to the radio while you work? Have you ever been writing or editing a document while the radio is on and noticed that a word is spoken just as you type it in your document? I’ve noticed this over the years and it’s happened enough that I’m fascinated why it occurs.

Combining background music or radio with writing or editing is a controversial and very personal subject. We all have a different view on its usefulness (or helpfulness) of background music or radio. Most of the time I’m creating new copy or editing, the most demanding thing I’ll listen to is Classic FM or Classic Radio Suisse. Often, I’ll even switch everything off and work in silence – it depends on the job. I usually reserve spoken-word radio for less demanding writing or editing because it can be distracting. But over the years I’ve noticed that I surprisingly frequently type or edit a word just as the same word is mentioned in a radio programme or podcast. Why is this?

So far, I haven’t been able to find references to this happening elsewhere on the Internet – maybe I simply haven’t been trying hard enough. I’d be interested to hear whether you’ve noticed this phenomenon or are aware of anything else that’s been written about it. If so, please tell me about it with a comment.

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

Copywriting, like helicopters, can be cost-effectively repurposed

lamalandingWould you like to fly with us?’ asked the orange suited pilot in heavily accented English as the cloud cleared over Bergun and we finished our morning coffee and Birchermüesli high in Switzerland’s Albula valley. I’d never flown in a helicopter, let alone a working Aerospatiale Lama like the one that was being used for helilogging that October in the late 1980s.

For a moment I imagined every fiery exploding chopper I’d ever seen in Bond movies, and how there was no way my travel insurance would cover me if worst came to worst. Then I said yes, and spent the next few days in the left-hand seat of HB-XND as we flew timber from the forested God da Speschas to the road head at Latsch. It was an experience that fired my passion for the ‘angry palm trees’ and led me to various helicopter-related writing in the years ahead: a technical communications project on safe boarding procedures for light helicopters; a helicopter-centred novel; and SEO website copy for a helicopter business since becoming one of the copywriters in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.


Those autumn days in Graubünden remain among my treasured memories from dozens of walking trips in Switzerland. Now, when I can’t be in my favourite alpine republic, I follow Swiss life, language and culture through radio, reading and the online SF1 Videoportal. Imagine my surprise then, when, more than 20 years after my Swiss heli adventure,  I spotted HB-XND in new (Air Zermatt instead of Air Grischa) colours during an episode of Die Bergretter, a Swiss documentary series about helicopter rescue in Canton Wallis.

And the connection with copywriting? Often with copy, rewriting saves money. Just as that Aerospatiale Lama was refurbished and reliveried for a second productive life with Air Zermatt, so tired written content can be renewed and repurposed. Okay, nothing’s as perfect as ‘from scratch’  copy, but when budgets are tight, editing and rewriting existing copy can prove an attractive, cost-effective option.

Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as just pulling copy from an old brochure and putting it online. Different media and applications require different copywriting skills and approaches.  That’s where a skilled copywriter can help. And how, just as HB-XND got a second life, it’s possible to re-use and reinvigorate old copy or rough drafts.



Aerospatiale Lama HB-XND flies on, doing sterling service. And with a little bit of professional input, so can your old copy – at a fraction of the cost of new  ‘from-scratch’ copywriting.


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.