Manuscript Formatting (Document Scrubbing)

• Scope • Cost Estimate
• Money-Saving Formatting Tips


When you request copyediting services, All My Best first scrubs, or basic-formats, your MS Word manuscript to bring consistency to such matters as subheadings, paragraph indents, line spacing, justification, block quotations, font treatments, and spacing between words and sentences. This preliminary housecleaning prevents distractions from reading and copyediting the content, thus assuring you of a higher quality result.

 Cost Estimate

Manuscript formatting is billed at an hourly rate. The time involved can range from 10% to 33% of the rate you've been quoted for copyediting. (Example: If you were quoted $18.00 per 1,000 words for copyediting, then manuscript formatting could cost between $1.80 and $6.00 per 1,000 words.)

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Money-Saving Formatting Tips

The more carefully you format your manuscript, the less time you'll be billed for manuscript formatting. If you want to save money and you have the time, inclination, and skills, then once you have your entire book interior in a single MS Word manuscript, follow these handy tips to help you find and correct the most common punctuation, spacing, and paragraph-indent inconsistencies.

Display formatting codes to demystify formatting problems. To turn on the Show Codes feature, click on the Home ribbon in the set of tabs above your task bar, and look for the various formatting icons (e.g., centering, indenting, justification, etc.) Among these is a paragraph symbol (¶) which, when you float your cursor over it, temporarily displays the words "Show/Hide."

Left-click once on the "¶" icon to Show Codes. (Later on, when you're through, you can left-click it again to Hide Codes.) The most common codes you'll notice are small dots (·) representing spaces, paragraph symbols (¶) representing every time the Enter key was struck, and a right-pointing arrow (→) every time the Tab key was struck.

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Proceed to Find/Replace. Now that Show Codes is on, and while you're still using the Home ribbon (task bar), locate and click on the Replace option near the far right of the ribbon, in the Editing section. Make these formatting improvements in your manuscript:

  1. FIND all occurrences of    ".    and REPLACE with    ."    if appropriate.
  2. FIND all occurrences of    ",    and REPLACE with    ,"    if appropriate. 
  3. FIND all occurrences of two spaces between sentences and following punctuation marks. These spaces show up as two small dots, "··," but all you have to do is press the Space Bar twice in the Find box. REPLACE with one space only.
  4. FIND all remaining occurrences of spaces at the beginnings of paragraphs and DELETE them. (If you'd been striving for a first-line paragraph indent by using a series of spaces, you may either set them up in the Paragraph window as a proper first-line indent, or else ask your copyeditor to do this for you.)
  5. FIND all remaining occurrences of two spaces (or more), where the spaces were used to horizontally center a line of type. DELETE those spaces and instead use the center-justify command to achieve the centering.
  6. FIND all occurrences of Tabs (shown as "") and confirm that they've been used appropriately. Don't use a Tab to help you horizontally center a line. (See #5 in this list.). And don't use a Tab to indent the first line of a paragraph. (Instead, see parenthetical statement at the end of #4 in this list.)

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