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Issue 8, 13 May 1999

ISSN 1442-8652
Editor: Jean Hollis Weber

In this issue...

Feature article: How long does editing take?
Resource of the week: The value of technical communication
Tip of the week: Editing hyphens in Microsoft Word
Question Time: Legal limit to size of small print?
Follow up: Macros for indicating acceptance or rejection of editorial changes
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Feature article: How long does editing take?

Moved to

Resource of the week: The value of technical communication

For those of you who are not members of the Society for Technical Communication, you might find two articles in volume 45, number 1 (Third Quarter 1998) of their journal Technical Communication of interest or assistance when negotiating with clients and managers:

"Measuring the value added by technical communication," by Jay Mead, pages 353-379. This article is very useful in itself, and also includes a long list of references.

"Business objectives: a key tool for demonstrating the value of technical communication products," by Saul Carliner, pages 380-384.

A general comment on STC publications: I like both the journal and the newsletter (Intercom). Intercom has shorter articles, written in a more chatty style, but for heavier ammunition, TC is good too. It's become more practice-oriented under George Hayhoe's editorship, though back issues also contain a wealth of useful information.

To find out more about the STC, visit

Tip of the week: Editing hyphens in Microsoft Word

These questions are ones that I had answered on the copyeditors' list. They refer to Word 7.

Q: "This particular chapter is driving me mad, because so many words are hyphenated. Hyphenation is OFF in paragraph- formatting and Tools, but it makes no difference. Any suggestions?

My answer: Check to see whether any or all of the hyphens are manually inserted optional hyphens. Go to Tools > Options > View and select the Optional hyphens checkbox to make them visible. I forget what odd character marks an optional hyphen in the text.

(The questioner reported that was indeed the problem. She deleted them.)

Q: "Sentence includes the words government-provided, -regulated and -managed housing. Word puts the second hyphen at the very end of a line, and would doubtless do the same for 'managed' if it had the chance. I'm not typesetting, so I need to try to find a foolproof solution. Hard hyphenation doesn't seem to work. Any ideas for what to do, or how to work round it?

My answer: Replace the problem hyphens with non-breaking hyphens (Ctrl-Shift-Hyphen).

Question time: Legal limit to size of small print?

Elizabeth M Murphy asks: "Isn't there a legal limit to how small the small print can be? I think I read somewhere that the "small print" or "fine print" that forms part of the conditions of a contract or something similar has to be at least 6 point. But 6 point in what font? Size varies enormously. I would be interested to know whether you have any firm information on that, and whether it applies only in Australia or elsewhere too."

Follow up 6: Macros to indicate acceptance or rejection of editorial changes

This solution is now on the website,

© Copyright 1999, Jean Hollis Weber. All rights reserved.

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