A basic Word template with styles

I’ve put together a basic MS Word template, which can be downloaded from here. It’s been constructed using Word’s Styles and Formatting features and the finished file can be directly imported into QuarkXPress.

As you can see, I’ve kept the file as simple as possible (and the Word formatting is irrelevant to what the final Quark layout will look like anyway). It was created in MS Word 2003 — it will open on a PC, I’ve opened it in OpenOffice without any problems and it should open on Word for Macintosh. What you need to do is to get your authors to follow the template as closely as possible.

At the top of the page is an automatic table of contents. It’s generated from the headings in the document — to update it, periodically right click within the TOC and select Update Field. (You can choose to update the page numbers or the whole TOC.)

The document has been put together using Word’s Styles and Formatting features, which can be displayed using the View>Styles and Formatting menu. I’ve prefixed the names with “TOMP” for the simple reason that it keeps the styles together when they get listed in alphabetical order.

So, the principle is straightforward — write some text, click on the style in the right-hand pane and all the formatting is done for you.

You’ll notice the headings are numbered and there are two reasons for this. Firstly, numbered headings are useful if you’re producing a long, more technical document that will be cross-referenced. Secondly, it forces authors to think about the structure of their documents, as in my experience, they usually tend to throw in headings and subheadings at random. If you don’t want them in your final publication, it’s very quick and straightforward to turn the numbering off.

It is possible that you might need to alter the look of the Word document. Let’s say you want to make the Level A headings red. The easiest way is to recolour one of the headings red, go to the Level A style in the right-hand pane, click the drop-down box and select ‘Update to match selection’. All the Level A headings will now be red.

I have to be honest, this feature in Word can be a real pain, although despite all the glitches with it, it’s still worth sticking with. MS Word often invents new, irrelevant styles, which quickly fill up the right-hand pane. The only way to get rid of them is to click on the ‘Show’ drop-down box right at the bottom of the Styles and Formatting pane, then select ‘Custom’. You can then just display the ones you need — in this template, just the ones preceded by ‘TOMP’.

However, even with this layout, you will need to impress on your authors (and maybe yourself) several things:

  • This template essentially formats itself, in terms of spaces between headings and paragraphs. Don’t start a new paragraph by hitting return twice. If you really need a new line, do a manual line break (Shift-Return)
  • Using bold and italics is fine (although from an editorial point of view, too much bold text is best avoided)
  • Don’t use double spaces after full-stops
  • Set up the Autocorrect options on Word to ensure hyphens are converted into dashes and three dots into ellipses. It’s a good idea to turn off the automatic hyperlinks as well
  • There is a style for doing normal numbered lists. There is one thing to look out for — if, for example, you’ve numbered three paragraphs 1-3, then start another numbered list later in the document, the numbering will start at four. To get round this, right-click the relevant paragraph and select ‘Restart numbering’
  • Stick to the preset styles absolutely — of course you may need a few more paragraph styles, but set these up in the Styles and Formatting as opposed to doing them manually
  • Avoid things like page breaks and section breaks
  • If possible, put tables, graphs, figures and images in separate files. Big tables can be done in Excel and imported into Quark. Graphs will probably have to be redrawn (and won’t import into Quark anyway).
    At best, things like this will disappear on import; at worst, they’ll just get mangled, interrupt the flow of text and have to be removed.

Once you or your author has finished the document, it can be imported into Quark using Get>Text. Ideally, you’ll have set up styles in Quark with identical names and they’ll get converted to their new formats.

Before you do, however, please read my posts here and here, which address some issues with importing text and show how to fix some glitches.

For more advice on MS Word, Shauna Kelly’s site is very comprehensive.

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