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Thread: MS Word Utilities for Writers

  1. #1
    Moderator In Name Only AW Moderator Roger J Carlson's Avatar
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    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:
    http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=11152

    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:
    http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=11380

    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:
    http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=11330

    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:
    http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=11657

    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:

    http://www.rogerjcarlson.com/WritingHelp/TechTips.html

    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 10:46 AM. Reason: Added another program
    --Roger J. Carlson

  2. #2
    wishes you happiness JennaGlatzer's Avatar
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    This is really nice of you to share, Roger. Thanks!
    I am no longer here. If you'd like to visit me, please find me at www.jennaglatzer.com or on Facebook. Thanks!

  3. #3
    It's hard being green ChunkyC's Avatar
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    Excellent, Roger! When you say these work externally, that means that you run these programs and use them to open a Word document? I use OpenOffice, so I could save my document in Word format, then run it through the phrase frequency counter. I could then have the native OpenOffice file open, and use the processed Word version as a reference and flip back and forth to make my changes.

    Cool!!
    "Hey, Steve, just because you broke into Xerox's store before I did and took the TV doesn't mean I can't go in later and steal the stereo." -- Bill Gates, Mac Week, March 14, 1989

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  4. #4
    Moderator In Name Only AW Moderator Roger J Carlson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChunkyC
    Excellent, Roger! When you say these work externally, that means that you run these programs and use them to open a Word document? I use OpenOffice, so I could save my document in Word format, then run it through the phrase frequency counter. I could then have the native OpenOffice file open, and use the processed Word version as a reference and flip back and forth to make my changes.

    Cool!!
    Well....

    You DO have to have Word 2000 or above to run the program. It's written in Word.
    --Roger J. Carlson

  5. #5
    It's hard being green ChunkyC's Avatar
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    Ah -- felgerkarb! I downloaded them and had a look using the copy of Word I use at work. I have OpenOffice 1.1 and WordPerfect 11 on my laptop, which is where I would want to use them. I gather the programming won't run in WordPad either. I'm pretty darn sure WordPad can't run macros.

    I suppose I could try it with OpenOffice and see what happens, unless there's some reason (like it specifically calls the Word executable and/or dll's for the new document session or something) that would prevent it operating properly.

    Poo.
    "Hey, Steve, just because you broke into Xerox's store before I did and took the TV doesn't mean I can't go in later and steal the stereo." -- Bill Gates, Mac Week, March 14, 1989

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  6. #6
    Moderator In Name Only AW Moderator Roger J Carlson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChunkyC
    Ah -- felgerkarb! I downloaded them and had a look using the copy of Word I use at work. I have OpenOffice 1.1 and WordPerfect 11 on my laptop, which is where I would want to use them. I gather the programming won't run in WordPad either. I'm pretty darn sure WordPad can't run macros.

    I suppose I could try it with OpenOffice and see what happens, unless there's some reason (like it specifically calls the Word executable and/or dll's for the new document session or something) that would prevent it operating properly.

    Poo.
    Unfortunately, you MUST have Word in order to use this. I suppose I could re-write it in VB or even Access. Hmmm... take some time though.
    Last edited by Roger J Carlson; 04-30-2005 at 06:26 AM.
    --Roger J. Carlson

  7. #7
    It's hard being green ChunkyC's Avatar
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    Don't knock yourself out, Roger ... unless you just can't resist tinkering.

    I tried it with OpenOffice. The document opened just fine, all the elements were there. Just no 'action' when I clicked on the button. OO even recognized the macros and tried to convert 'em, but to no avail.

    Not a biggie.
    "Hey, Steve, just because you broke into Xerox's store before I did and took the TV doesn't mean I can't go in later and steal the stereo." -- Bill Gates, Mac Week, March 14, 1989

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  8. #8
    Moderator In Name Only AW Moderator Roger J Carlson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChunkyC
    Don't knock yourself out, Roger ... unless you just can't resist tinkering.

    I tried it with OpenOffice. The document opened just fine, all the elements were there. Just no 'action' when I clicked on the button. OO even recognized the macros and tried to convert 'em, but to no avail.

    Not a biggie.
    I CAN'T resist tinkering. But this is rather low on my list. I'm working on a master suite right now that can be imported into Word itself.

    Still, it would be interesting to know what sort of macro language OpenOffice has. Does it just record keystrokes and mouseclicks or can you actually write programs in it? Since it tried to convert the macros, there must be something there.
    --Roger J. Carlson

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