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MS Word and the Nuclear Option

Posted by Charles Gray on May 2, 2013

This is an issue that I’ve had a few times, so let’s talk about it.


MS word…is not a good layout program. It is, in fact not a very good program to submit materials in to a publisher  because it sorta kinda acts like a layout program, complete with styles and pictures– but it’s not.

Worst of all, often a word file will have invisible “stuff” still in it.  Old revisions, comments, places where you stuck a style, but because it’s in a space, you don’t notice it.  But in m any cases, the software used to lay it out or convert it into another format will notice it and cause all kinds of trouble.  That’s why many professional L&P professionals prefer to convert the word file to text and do all the layout in a professional package like InDesign.

Now that being said, many places, like Smashwords, require you to submit as a .doc file. So what do you do?  How do you keep your baby from suddenly going from the font you choose to  

something like this?


You use the Nuclear Method.

What you do, is you open up notepad, that free little piece of software that you’ve probably never looked at before.  You open it up, and you past your word file into it.

Suddenly, all the formatting is gone.  Everything is transformed to lovely, lovely text and that’s it.  You now know you have a clean file.

Of course, you now have a file with absolutely no formatting, which can be unfortunate if you say, hd chapter headings and italics defined already. But worry not, there’s another way to handle that, and we’ll talk about it in a bit.

But for now, remember: Word File-  copy-paste into notepad= no ugly invisible formatting to muck up you work of art.


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