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Lock Pages


One of the main problems editors have working on a computer is that they lose their sense of proportion about the manuscript. What do I mean by sense of proportion? While working on a paper manuscript, with the pages piled neatly on the desktop, editors know exactly how much work they’ve done: 112 pages, stacked on the left, are finished; 204 pages, stacked on the right, are left to edit. In my experience, they also know that chapter 3 is about, oh, half an inch from the bottom in the left-hand stack if they need to go back to it. And they know, semi-consciously, that the odd foreign word the author used was about twenty pages back and about a third of the way down the page. In other words, they have a “positional memory” that helps them find things. It’s not as efficient as their word processor’s “find” function, but it’s not bad, either.

Editing on the computer throws all of this out of whack, because on the computer there are no discrete pages, just one long, solid mass of text that scrolls up and down. I know which “page” I’m on because Microsoft Word tells me the page number on its status bar. Still, when I fixed that misspelling, it was about half an inch from the top of the screen, but where is it now? And on what page? Who knows?

A fairly workable solution consists of “locking” the pages, using manual page breaks to separate that long string of text into discrete pages, each of which fits nicely inside of your screen, and setting the page length to its maximum of 22 inches. Then if you add or delete text on a page, the text won’t reflow over other pages (unless you’ve added more than 11 inches of text), which helps solve the positional-memory problem. Finally, Editor’s ToolKit sets the Page Dn and Page Up keys to go to the top of the page (like turning a manuscript page) rather than the next screen. All of this together makes a real difference in the “feel” of editing on the computer.

When you lock pages, the program sets the pages one line shorter than the height of your window. That means you should set the size of Microsoft Word’s window the way you want it before running the Lock Pages program. If you change the size of your window later, you can easily unlock the pages and then lock them again to fit the new window size.

Editor’s ToolKit plays fast and loose with such things as page size because it assumes that at this point in the publishing process you don’t really care about such things as page size or even point size because you are editing, not typesetting. Typesetting comes later in the publishing process. If you’re trying to do typesetting, copy fitting, or final formatting with Microsoft Word, you probably won’t want to lock or unlock pages.

Caution: If you’ve locked your pages, remember that they’re now 22 inches long, which means you probably don’t want to print them in that condition. Before printing, unlock your pages to return them to an ordinary 11 inches long.


• Editor’s ToolKit menu, Lock Pages

• Editor’s ToolKit 1 toolbar