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Friday, September 19, 2008


When I am writing I will generally just hammer it out and then go back and proofread it and correct whatever errors I find. Sometimes, if it is a longish piece, I will print out a copy and then sit down and read it over and mark any errors I find with a red pen. For some reason changing the media makes it easier to find mistakes. Of course, after I have marked up the page, I have to go back to the electronic copy and make the corrections there.

That last part can be a little tedious, especially if the paper copy is not formatted the same as the electronic copy. If your lines on the screen and on the electronic copy match, you can look at where the error is on your paper copy and know that it will be in the same relative place in the electronic copy. If not, you have to read through your words again to find the place where the correction is to be made.

My daughter is doing some writing (in the form of a blog) for school and she wanted some suggestions /reassurance /proofreading. She is in Seattle, so it's not like I can show her the error on a piece of paper. So I try to come up with a way to do this electronically.

It turned out to be a bit of a pain. First I just tried printing the blog, but it wouldn't print. The computer said it printed, and three sheets came out of the printer, but only one had any text on it. So I copied the whole web page and pasted into a text editor (Notepad++). Did this twice to get the whole blog in there. Edited it a bit to get rid of extraneous text, then printed it. Ten pages, black and white, much better than orange on white. Mom sat down and went through it with a red pen and marked all the errors she found.

All that was fairly straight forward. I was just going to put the marked up document in the mail, but Mom says darling daughter needs it right away. So I thought I would highlight the errors in the electronic file and mail it to her. But Notepad++ does not support highlighting, or at least I could not find a way to do it. It does support different colors for text, but not for text documents, but that's another issue.

Anyway, I copied and pasted the text into an e-mail and then went through and highlighted all the errors. Mom put in some comments, but I did not put them in the e-mail. She'll have to call to find out what our suggestions are.

There has got to be a better way to do this. Some kind of paint program that would allow you to mark up the document like you would a printed page. Probably want some kind of stylus instead of a mouse. Writing with a mouse is a little difficult. And I don't think you would really want to use an image for the text. It would be more efficient it you could just store the text as text and use an overlay for marks made with the stylus.

There are probably programs out there that do this, but I don't know of any. I don't use Microsoft Word or even Open Office Writer because of the bloating problem. They take too flipping long to load for the kind of things I want to do. I know I could start them and just keep them around in a minimized state, but this is Windows, and I am on the net a lot, and bad things happen. I don't want any more programs running than absolutely necessary. That way when something bad happens, I have a better chance of identifying the culprit.


Anonymous said...

Tried PDF?

Chuck Pergiel said...

That would mean buying Adobe Acrobat, wouldn't it? Actually spend (gasp, choke) money for software? Oh dear. If it worked, I suppose that might be okay.