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Thanks for using WordSetter!

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been editing a book in Microsoft Word and wished that I could also typeset the book in Microsoft Word. Usually the book has hundreds of pages and thousands of footnotes—things that QuarkXPress, PageMaker, and InDesign don’t handle well at all. The problem is that Word doesn’t handle typesetting well, especially adjusting word spacing (which is usually too wide) and inserting crop marks.

Fortunately, WordSetter helps solve the problem, making it possible to adjust word spacing; insert crop marks and slug lines; insert thin spaces; automatically style block quotations, lists, and poetry; and (if you’re using a Macintosh) use ligatures right in Microsoft Word. For me, this means no more setting footnotes by hand in QuarkXPress. It also means I can now do some projects completely in Microsoft Word—everything from writing to editing to indexing to typesetting.

Of course, even with the addition of WordSetter, Microsoft Word isn’t QuarkXPress or InDesign, and it probably never will be. There’s currently no way to give Word the kind of fine typographical control available in dedicated typesetting programs. Nevertheless, with the addition of WordSetter, Word’s typographical quality is at least adequate for many projects, especially long, structured documents such as books and manuals. For many jobs, you may find it’s all you need. For others, you may be interested in our QuarkConverter and NoteStripper programs, which make it possible to import Word documents into QuarkXPress while retaining styles, note numbering, and character formatting.

WordSetter adjusts word spacing by changing the character spacing of the spaces between words. Ordinarily, people use character spacing to manually kern letter pairs, such as W and A. You can try this by following this procedure:

1. Select a character in your text.

2. Click Word’s Format menu.

3. Click “Font.”

4. Click “Character Spacing.”

5. In the Spacing box, click “Condense.”

6. In the By box, select “1 pt.”


You’ll see a shift in the spacing between the character you selected and the character that follows it.

WordSetter does basically the same thing but on a wider scale and with more finesse:

1. It lets you select paragraph styles and the character spacing you want to apply to spacing in those styles.

2. It creates character styles based on your selections.

3. It applies the character styles to the spaces between words in your text.


This procedure is a bit unorthodox, I admit, but it works. Similarly, WordSetter inserts ligatures by replacing “fi” and “fl” with their corresponding ligature characters. Because the program operates in this way, you shouldn’t use it until all of your editing and corrections are finished. If you try to make corrections after you’ve adjusted word spacing and inserted ligatures with WordSetter, you’ll run into problems with uneven spacing and incorrect characters.

The current trend in publishing is to keep and maintain a source document from which to create and publish target documents in a variety of formats, such as books, Web pages, Palm Pilot documents, electronic books, and so on. You should think of WordSetter as creating a target document, because it changes formatting and characters solely for the sake of appearance. That means you should leave your source document and several backup copies untouched. Then you'll have something to go back to, if necessary, and you’ll always have a clean version of your document that can be converted into other forms. Nevertheless, I strongly recommend that you try using WordSetter several times on a variety of test documents until you understand fully how it works and what it can do.

You may notice that I’ve prepared this document using the WordSetter program, and I’ve even had the temerity to try it with justified text. (Ragged right looks better, in my opinion.) I don’t claim to be the world’s greatest typesetter, but to me the text looks better than anything Word could achieve on its own.

By using WordSetter, you accept the terms of agreement found at the end of this document. The first time you use WordSetter, the terms of agreement will appear on your screen. Please read them carefully. If you accept the terms, you will be able to use the program. If not, you will not be able to use it.