Monday, February 2, 2009

Viewing Your Notes and Manuscript Together

Here are some tips for using features of MS Word to make it easier to co-ordinate the documents you use for your manuscript and your notes by viewing them at the same time.

Compare Side by Side feature
  • Window, Compare Side by Side with…
  • Select your second document from the list (both documents must be open)
Use this feature to open a document containing your notes, so that you can refer to them as you work on your manuscript. Turn off the Synchronous Scrolling function on the Compare Side by Side Toolbar so that you can reference each document independently.

You can also adjust the width of each window by clicking and dragging it, giving more of your screen space to the document you’re working on and a small pane to allow you to refer to your notes. With your notes document open in a side by side pane, you can make notes while you are working, simply by clicking in your notes document and typing.

The Compare feature is also a great editing tool for copying sections from one document to another (for example, copying a character description across to your notes for future reference). Highlight the text you want to copy from the one document, hold down the Control key, and drag the highlighted text across to the other document.

Click “Close Side by Side” on the Compare Side by Side Toolbar when you no longer need both documents on the screen.

Arrange All feature

  • Window, Arrange All
If this vertical screen splitting doesn’t work for you, use the Arrange All command to split the screen horizontally. As with the side by side comparison, the panes are adjustable. You may need to close any unnecessary documents.

Split Screen feature

  • Window, Split Screen
The Split Screen command allows you to view two areas of the same document at once. This is handy if you need to review what you wrote earlier, copy from one area to another, work from an outline of your document, or view notes you may have made in the same document.

---------------------------------------------Elsa Neal
Is Word driving you crazy? Then Word 4 Writers is for you. Learn to tame the monster and save your time in front of the screen for writing not fighting. Elsa Neal has been strong-arming Word for 14 years and teaching others to do the same. She is based in Melbourne, Australia.

Bookmark and Share


  1. I love that you share software tips, too! Great advice and ideas.

  2. Thanks for the tip. There are so many features in Word to learn.

    Morgan Mandel


The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.