RTW: Software Secrets
It’s Road Trip Wednesday time again. This week, the burning question on the mind of the YA Highway team is:
What word processing program do you use to write your manuscript, and can you share one handy trick you’ve learned in that program that has helped you while you write?
Whether at home or at work, I’ve been using Microsoft Office products since… probably 1993. If I recall correctly, back then you could buy Word and Excel as separate products, and I don’t think the concept of an “office suite” had kicked in. But I digress. That said, I’ve been using Word for a very long time. And old habits die hard. I wouldn’t call myself a Microsoft enthusiast (indeed, from a design perspective, Apple products are pure genius). But thanks to Microsoft products (whether Word, Excel, or their software development tools), I’ve had reasonably steady employment for almost 20 years, despite my degrees being in Theology. So I can’t complain.
Clearly, then, my default word processing tool is Microsoft Word. I did purchase Scrivener for PC, and have used it some. It looks like a great tool, and I can see how useful it could be. But so far, it hasn’t dislodged Word as my go-to writing tool. Possibly the time-saving and organizational features of Scrivener don’t correspond to the way I work. The idea of using flash cards to help summarize and organize chapters is good, but it’s not one I’ve really felt compelled to use. But should I feel the need to take that approach to my writing, it’s good to know Scrivener can accommodate more than adequately.
Aside from the “Save” button, the most useful writing feature I can think of in Word is the ability to get an instant word count.
In Word 2003, the word count is available as a toolbar. Just select the “Word Count” toolbar from the “Toolbars” drop-down under “View”:
In Word 2007, you can display the word count on the status bar just by right-clicking and selecting “word count.”
I’m sure later versions of Word make the word count available in similar ways.
If you’re a Word user, what’s the coolest feature you’ve found? What Scrivener feature can you not live without? If you’d like to join in the Road Trip, blog about your favorite word processing tool, and add your link to the comments on YA Highway!