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Thread: MS Word Utilities for Writers

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  1. #1
    Moderator In Name Only AW Moderator Roger J Carlson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    West Michigan

    MS Word Utilities for Writers

    I've written several little programs in Microsoft Word to do some things that Word does not do:

    Word Frequency Counter:

    This program counts all instances of each word in a document. This can be useful to determine if you are using some words too frequently. In addition, it also tracks the shortest distance (in words) between any two instances of a word. (For instance, "I said that he said" would return 3. This can help determine if you are using words in too close proximity.

    Phrase Frequency Counter:

    This program is similar to the Word Frequency Counter, but it counts only those phrases you specify. If you have a tendancy to use cliches or over-worked phrases, this can help identify them.

    Passive Word Highlighter:

    This program goes through an entire document and changes the color of passive, boring, or cliche words and phrases. For instance, it will replace every instance of "was" with "was" (formatted in red). You control which words it checks for and the color it assigns.

    Count Lines:

    This program accurately counts the number of lines in a document opened in Microsoft Word.

    Adverb Eliminator
    We are constantly being told to get rid of as many adverbs as possible from our writing. I've added two new utilities that can help:It works like this:
    1. Make a copy of your file
    2. Turn on Track Changes (MS Word of course)
    3. Check every word to see if it ends in ly
    4. Check word against an Exclude List
    5. If not in Exclude List, mark word for deletion
    6. When done, you can go back and scroll through the deletions and either accept or reject it.
    Adverb Highlighter
    For those who don't use (or are afraid of) Track Changes, I also wrote the which does the same thing but just highlights the adverbs instead.

    Preposition Highlighter.
    This program checks the number of prepositions in a sentence and a paragraph and highlights those above a pre-defined threshold. I just bundled it into my standard package which gives the user the ability to choose threshold and color. It can be useful for finding excessive prepositional phases.

    I originally posted these in the Writing Novels board, but I thought they might be useful to others as well. The links above connect to those discussions if you want to read more about them.

    These programs are entirely free and you can download them from my website, here:

    I hope you find them useful. I would be glad for any comments or suggestions. I'd particularly like to know if you have any problems.

    BTW, all of the programs work externally, that is they open a separate document file and work on that. I am currently working on a Master Suite of utilities that you can import into Word itself and use on your currently active document. I'll let you know when it's ready.
    Last edited by Roger J Carlson; 01-27-2007 at 10:16 AM. Reason: Added another program
    --Roger J. Carlson

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