One tool that I absolutely could not do without is a text expander – a program that saves time by completing frequently used phrases or snippets of text. In the past, I used the Autocorrect function in MS Word to do this. For example, I had set up Word so that when I typed ‘hivx’, the words ‘human immunodeficiency virus’ magically appeared in the text. These days I use a text expander – PhraseExpress – to do the same thing.

The advantage of using PhraseExpress is that it works across all applications: Word, Excel, Thunderbird, Outlook, WordPress, etc. It’s also more user-friendly than the autocorrect function, it can include formatting, and the phrases can be stored in a single data file and shared across a network.

I use PhraseExpress to save time and improve quality. For example, I use it with:

  • names of organisations – e.g. typing 'oecdx' gives me 'Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development'
  • medical and technical terms – e.g. typing 'mrsax' gives me 'methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus'
  • comments to authors – e.g. if I have deleted the word 'very' from the text, I explain the change in a comment by typing 'veryx', which gives me 'Best to avoid the subjective term very.

You may have noticed that all my snippets are just the abbreviated term plus 'x' – I use this approach because it makes them easy to remember.

If you're keen to learn more about tools to help you save time and improve quality with your editing, you might like to take a look at my courses in PerfectIt and EndNote. You can also book a coaching call with me to hone your EndNote skills.