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Roger J Carlson
04-27-2005, 10:46 PM
I have been given permission by Jenna, our kind and generous hostess, to post this on multiple boards. I hope you don't mind.

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.

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.

Maryn
04-28-2005, 04:38 PM
Roger, these sound cool. (I know which one I need most, too!) As the self-appointed low-tech representative, I'd like to know:


how long each takes to download on a dial-up
how much space each one takes on my hard drive
whether they're truly idiot-proof (I like a big button labeled "CHECK FOR PASSIVES NOW")
if you will roll your eyes when/if I can't figure out something obvious and ask you for tech support

It's very generous of you to share your custom-designed tools. Thanks in advance.

Maryn, who will put them back in your garage when she's finished using them

Roger J Carlson
04-28-2005, 06:22 PM
Roger, these sound cool. (I know which one I need most, too!) As the self-appointed low-tech representative, I'd like to know:

how long each takes to download on a dial-up
how much space each one takes on my hard drive
whether they're truly idiot-proof (I like a big button labeled "CHECK FOR PASSIVES NOW")
if you will roll your eyes when/if I can't figure out something obvious and ask you for tech support
It's very generous of you to share your custom-designed tools. Thanks in advance.

File Sizes (zipped):

PassiveWordHighlighter.zip (111KB)
WordFrequencyv2.zip (106 KB)
PhraseFrequency.zip (72 KB)
My experience with dialup is that these should take less than 2 minutes each to download.

File Sizes (extracted):


PassiveWordHighlighter.doc (434 KB)
WordFrequencyv2.doc (410 KB)
PhraseFrequency.doc (409 KB)

Idiot Proof:


As a software developer, I can tell you that there is no such thing as "idiot proof". When it comes to messing up software, idiots are the smartest people on the planet. However, I have tried to make these tools reasonably user-friendly.
Yes, there is a big button (it actually says: Run Word Highlighter), plus some options for you to choose (which color you want to use for highlighting and whether you want modify your document or create a backup to work on). There is also text on the document that explains what it is, how it works, and some trouble-shooting tips if something goes wrong.

If I roll my eyes, you'll never see it (lol).


I'm a little old fashioned about courtesy, and I'll never deliberately insult you or put you down.
However, I did create these on my own time, and I have a full-time job plus my writing. I'll try to give reasonable support, but please remember what you paid for these and act accordingly. Thanks.

Maryn
04-29-2005, 04:31 PM
(Grinning) I especially like 4--aren't you glad we don't all have webcams?

I'm not a complete computer moron, just approaching that level, and I'm a serious believer in gratitude for freebies bestowed on others. Hosannas to you!

Maryn

Roger J Carlson
05-11-2005, 07:32 PM
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:

Adverb Eliminator
It works like this:

Make a copy of your file
Turn on Track Changes (MS Word of course)
Check every word to see if it ends in ly
Check word against an Exclude List
If not in Exclude List, mark word for deletion
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.

You can find them here:
http://www.rogerjcarlson.com/WritingHelp/TechTips.html

Roger J Carlson
05-16-2005, 06:01 PM
I've added one more utility: the 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.

It's on my website here:
http://www.rogerjcarlson.com/WritingHelp/TechTips.html