Thursday, June 26, 2008

MS Word for the Novelist - Creating Excerpts for Web Pages and Email

This installment is by request.

We all have to do it--we must paste the first three chapters, first chapter, or first five pages in either an email message or on a web page for critiques or submissions. And every time we do so, we lose our indents due to the way web pages work. Therefore, we must find our paragraph breaks and put an extra space between each paragraph


Well, here's a way to do it. All you have to do is search and replace for paragraph marks. Already know how to search and replace for regular text? Well, you're halfway there!

  • First, highlight the text you want to enwebben (to coin a word) and copy it into a new document. Five pages, three chapters, whatever. Get it in a new document. Don't do this with your official manuscript
  • In the new document, bring up the Find box (Click Edit on the Word 2003 menu bar, then Find).
  • Click the Replace tab.
  • Click the More button at the bottom of the form.
  • Make sure the cursor is in the "Find what:" box.
  • Click the Special button at the bottom of the form. Heres a helpful image of what the form should look like at this point:
(Click to embiggen)
  • Select the first option, which is Paragraph Mark. Do not select Paragraph Character, which is further down. That's just an image. You want Paragraph Mark.
  • You'll see this code appear in the Find what: box:
  • You could have just typed in the ^p, but the Special dropdown menu will always give you the proper codes so you don't have to remember. In the Replace with: box, just go ahead and type:
(Or you can select it from the Special menu twice, if you prefer.)
  • Click Replace All. Spaces will magically appear between all your paragraph marks.
  • Press Ctrl-A to select all of the text again, copy it to the clipboard (Ctrl-C) and paste it (Ctrl-V) into the email or the web page.
And you're done. These instructions assume you are using normal paragraph breaks, but don't worry; you'd have to try to get anything other than ordinary paragraph breaks, so you're probably ok.


  1. Tia, you are a lifesaver! Thank you!!

    I hated having to do all that stuff manually.

    I owe you a drink, woman!

  2. Maria, I'm so glad you like it.

    I seem to have attracted comment spam. Time go get out the ole zap gun.

  3. I am a total doofus! All this time, and I didn't realize you also had a writer's blog. DOH!! :)

  4. Hey, Kelly! I don't shout about it. Welcome to my secret blog!


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