Step 1 - Make a Back Up

This goes without saying but I’ll say it anyway. Don’t make the formatting modifications below on your original document. Instead, open your final manuscript within Microsoft Word, and create a copy of it by going to File: Save As: and then enter a new file name, such as MySmashwordsMasterpiece, and save it as a .doc file (the default in Word 2003 and earlier). In later versions, go to Save As: Word 97-2003. By making a backup, if you make any mistakes as you follow my advice you won’t screw up your original.

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Step 2 - Activate Word’s Show/Hide

Word’s “Show/Hide” is of my favorite editing features in Word. It reveals your hidden formatting. Do this now, BEFORE you start formatting, otherwise you might as well blindfold your eyes. The show/hide feature is designated by the ¶” mark in the toolbar (I’ve always thought of it as the “reverse P thingy,” but for you typography purists out there, you know it as a “pilcrow.”), as shown below.

The show/hide button helps you view the guts of your formatting

When clicked, it exposes your paragraph returns, extra spaces, tabs, field codes or strange formatting. It’s a great tool to help polish your document for the cleanest possible conversions. If it’s not in your toolbar, you can usually find it in Tools: Options: View and then under Formatting Marks click All.

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