Macros for Word are great for writers, authors, and editors. The Macro of the Month for February is DocAlyse from Paul Beverly. You can find it in his free book Macros for Editors. If you’d like to learn more about Macros, you can check out my Starting with Marcos post.
DocAylse is one of my favorite macros. It is great because you can use it to analyze your document for differences in punctuation, such as if you have a space before or after a hyphen, or how many times you did or did not use a serial comma.
Below, I’ll briefly cover what it looks for.
- Four digit numbers–This looks for any four-digit numbers and if you used a comma, a space, or nothing after the thousand’s place.
- Serial commas–This checks if you used a serial comma or not—also known as an Oxford comma.
- Hard spaces–Also known as a non-breaking space. This is where it is treated as a letter by programs like Word to help prevent line breaks.
- Hard hyphens–This is also known as a non-breaking hyphen. This is where it is treated as a letter by programs like Word so a hyphenated word is not divided if it is at the end of a line of text or end of a page.
- Types of ellipsis– An ellipsis is used when omitting words from a quote. In dialogue, it is used to indicate the speaker’s thoughts or words have trailed off. This checks if you used a proper ellipsis (type Ctrl + Alt + . on a PC), triple dots (…), or spaced triple dots (. . .).
- Ellipsis spacing–This looks at if you have a space before, after, or at both ends of your ellipsis, or no spaces at all.
- Solidus spacing–A solidus is the Unicode word for a slash (/). This looks at if you have a space before, after, at both ends of your solidus, or no spaces at all.
- Em dash spacing–An em dash can be used in place of commas, parentheses, or colons. This looks at if you have a space before, after, or at both ends of you em dash, or no spaces at all. Hint: There should be no spaces. (You can learn more about how to use em dashes, en dashes and hyphen in my guest blog post.)
- Hyphen spacing– This looks at if you have a space before, after, or at both ends of your hyphen, or no spaces at all. Hint: There should be no spaces.
- Line breaks–This is the number of line breaks you have.
- Page breaks–This is the number of page breaks you have.
- Quotes–There are two styles of quotes, curly and straight. And there are then single quotes and double quotes. Single quotes are used more in the UK and double quotes are used more in the USA. If you’d like to learn more about them, go here. But DocAlyse check for curly open single quotes, curly open double quotes, straight single quotes, and straight double quotes.
- Capitalization after a colon–After a colon, you typically don’t have a capital letter in the first word unless you are introducing multiple sentences. This macro checks how many times you have a capital letter and a lowercase letter after a colon.
- Chapters–If you have chapter headings, it will check how it is formated:
- chapter (number)
- chapter [0-9]
- Chapter (number)
- Percents–There are different ways to handle percents and this macros shows different ways you may have done it.
- unspaced, e.g. 9%
- spaced, e.g. 9 %
- 9 per cent
- 9 percent
- nine per cent
- nine percent
- Contractions–It counts a few variations of common contractions, such as can’t, cannot, and can not.
- Diacritics–This is a glyph added to a letter, such as an accent.
The important thing to remember about this macro is that it won’t tell you where it found these, only the number of times it found them. So maybe you wanted to use a serial comma, but you see that there were three times where you didn’t. You can do a search for those instances and fix it.
One of my favorite uses for this macro is to check if all the quotes are straight or curly. Curly is preferred for books, but whichever you pick, be consistent. This helps to check for that. If you’d like to know how to change your mix of straight and curly quotes to the same type, you can find out here.
And if using this macro sounds super cool to you, but over your head, I’m happy to use my tools and my eagle eyes to make your content clear and consistent. You can fill out my contact form or schedule a call.