Daily Archives: October 5, 2012

How Do I Hate Thee, Word 2007

I’ve been formatting my book for printing at Createspace, due out this month. Since Embers Amongst the Fallen was already formatted for an ebook, the copy was clean, the headings matched, the front and back copy were done  and everything looked hunky dory.  But I needed to add a few elements that are different from an ebook.

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Word 2007 is a relationship that would end in a messy divorce. Creative Commons Stuartpilbrow

First, the ebook files had been  set with 1.5 spacing. For print, you want single spaced. That’s simple enough to do. I also wanted to drop cap the first letter of each story. That’s easy too, but don’t drop-cap quotation marks. Just remove them because you’ll never get them to look right.  Next is changing the table of contents to reflect no hyperlinks but page numbers. So page numbers are needed but here’s where it gets to be fun I’m an expert at Word but have found Word 2007 defies logic an intuition (Don’t let that pretty “ribbon” with all its graphics fool you–it’s an energy suck and they change everything around.)

Any copy that comes before the main body of text tends to be numbered with i, ii, vi, ix, etc. Roman numerals of the uncapitalized variety. This shouldn’t be a problem and didn’t used to be in the older versions of Word, or at least not as big of a problem. You start with i, ii, iii and then when you get to the front matter you switch to pages 1, 2, 3 by entering a break.  Consider these preliminary steps the part of a relationship where everything is new and fresh and you get to learn of the person’s interests and personality. Putting in the numbering is when you get to a firm commitment.

However, Microsoft figured out that they could give people more meaningful moments if they expanded the time-to-search ratio and placed things such as  breaks in two different areas, segregating “page breaks” from continuous, odd, even, section and other breaks. Except that you can find page breaks in this section as well but of course it takes more hunting. Already, one thinks, gosh I’m so glad I got to spend such long quality time within Microsoft Word. Just to help in developing a complex and deep relationship, they set these pages to link automatically to the previous section and should you have found the philosopher’s stone that tells you actually which type of break lets you move on to new numbering, as opposed to it wanting to continue the one you don’t want, then you might be in luck of getting it to work right. Because of course they work different and are linked to headers and footers as well.

Now, remember, I’m formatting a print book. This means there are recto (right hand) and verso (left hand) pages. You

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Windows 2007 and I doubt Vista is better. It’s a broken relationship. Creative Commons: Deviantart LarsEliasNielsen

want your book (in Western countries at least) to start on the recto side, which are the odd-numbered pages as we all start reading at page 1. This means such things as dedication, acknowledgements, introduction, afterword, credits, contents and stories all should start on the recto page. You may have to add a blank page from time to time but keep the numbering going correctly. That’s no problem,  just as a page break shouldn’t be, but don’t make it a section break or some other unfathomed system because your numbering might just decide to start over. I believe it involves esoteric rituals and words of endearment to actually work correctly.

And let’s say you want to try something nice, like flowers to make your relationship better, or perhaps a header that says Colleen Anderson on the recto page but says Embers Amongst the Fallen on the verso page. Easy, right? All you do is click on the tab that says Different Odd & Even Pages. Voila, so simple, you don’t have to even work at this relationship. Oh, but wait. When you go back to look at your title and copyright pages the headers are showing. Insert a section break, but wait, the numbering now starts at page three. Delete the numbers, unlink from the previous section and go again. Okay, the numbers are going right, but now both headers say Colleen Anderson. Okay, fiddle back and forth and that should be good. Looking good.

Upload the file to Createspace and review it. What? All the numbers are lower case Roman. Go back, tinker with section and page breaks. Restart or continue numbering and run through it again. But now the text body shows the two different headers but the front matter shows only one header for both pages. But I entered them differently and everything is checked as different odd and even pages. Fix and go again. What? Now some of the headers missing. We’ve got to the point in the relationship where one says, “Where were you last night?” And you say, “I was working late.” This isn’t believed and you go around in circles rehashing the old info and even offering to call the office to verify. Back and forth and forth and back, and finally out of exhaustion the argument dies and the page numbers and headers look right. Please don’t find a typo at the stage or it could all flare up again, as it has before.

After counseling, many apologies, attempts to make things work a different way and finally a clean copy that comes through with everything on the correct side of the page, the numbering in the right order and the headers where they should be. The final is  up at Createspace and my designer is finishing the back cover and we’ll have copies in about 10-12 days, in time for arriving in Toronto.

Four hours. Yes, folks. As an experienced Word user it took me four hours on Word 2007, partly because I don’t use different headers and numbering all the time, but also  because this relationship is sadistic and malicious, and I would toss it out a high window if I could. As it is, I want a divorce and a big cash settlement.


Filed under Culture, Publishing, Writing