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Editing Electronically Submitted Papers
(using Word)

Table of Contents

Introduction

Many instructors who assign written papers grade them by writing in the margins and may wonder how, with papers submitted electronically, they can avoid printing each one and "handing back" the graded, edited papers. Word has several functions—from "low tech" to "high tech"—to help instructors retain that personal touch of including comments within written papers.

This handout explores some of these functions by demonstrating various editing techniques of editing and commenting using the following sample paragraph:

In September 2001, the world trade centers in NYC were hit by planes being flown into them. Also, a plane hit the Pentagon in Wahsington, D.C. and crashed in a field in Pennsylvania. Thousands of people were killed.

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Adding Comments in a Text-only Format

The following is a low tech method of adding comments to a written paper. It is most useful when grading assignments such as electronic mail and discussion forum postings that are in a text-only format which does not allow changing font color or adding attributes such as bolding. Instructor comments may be written in capital letters and enclosed in square brackets to set the comments off from the student's work:

In September 2001, the world trade centers [YOU SHOULD CAPITALIZE THE "World Trade Centers" BECAUSE THAT IS THE NAME OF THE BUILDINGS] in NYC [UNLESS YOU ARE SURE THAT YOUR AUDIENCE KNOWS WHAT "NYC" IS, YOU SHOULD SPELL IT OUT: New York City] were hit by planes being flown into them. Also, a plane hit the Pentagon in Wahsington [MIS-SPELLED: Washington], D.C. and crashed in a field in Pennsylvania. [BE CAREFUL WITH SENTENCE CONSTRUCTION; BY KEEPING THIS SENTENCE WITH A COMPOUND VERB, IT READS AS IF A SINGLE PLANE CRASHED BOTH INTO THE PENTAGON AND INTO A FIELD. CONSIDER CHANGING IT TO READ: Also, a plane hit the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and one crashed in a field in Pennsylvania.] Thousands of people were killed.

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Adding Comments Using Color

The example below demonstrates how the paragraph could be edited by adding comments in a different color than the original text color. Your goal when using font coloring is to make the color different enough from the color of the text to be easily read. However, just as many teachers have been taught over the years to avoid red ink red (since some claim that is causes psychological trauma to the student by having it appear that you "bled all over it"), you may want to avoid red. Bright blue should be avoided since some readers may infer it to be a hyperlink. "Hot" colors such as fuschia may be difficult to read since they are more intense:

In September 2001, the world trade centers [You should capitalize the "World Trade Centers" because that is the name of the buildings] in NYC [unless you are sure that your audience knows what "NYC" is, you should spell it out: New York City] were hit by planes being flown into them. Also, a plane hit the Pentagon in Wahsington [mis-spelled: Washington], D.C. and crashed in a field in Pennsylvania. [Be careful with sentence construction; by keeping this sentence with a compound verb, it reads as if a single plane both crashed into the Pentagon and into a field. Consider changing it to read: Also, a plane hit the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and one crashed in a field in Pennsylvania.] Thousands of people were killed.

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Using Font Formatting Attributes to Edit Text

You may choose to physically correct the text by applying formatting such as strike-over as shown in the next example:

In September 2001, the world trade centers World Trade Centers in NYC New York City were hit by planes being flown into them. Also, a plane hit the Pentagon in Wahsington Washington, D.C., and one crashed in a field in Pennsylvania. Thousands of people were killed.

This method may be least useful to the students since it does not easily lend itself to adding instructional comments along with the actual corrections.

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Using Track Changes Features

Word has an editing feature built into its toolset, called Track Changes. It functions differently in Word XP than it does in Word 2000. Both methods are identified below.

Using Word 2000

  1. Open the Word document that you want to edit.
  2. From the menu choose, TOOLS : Track Changes : Highlight Changes.
  3. In the Highlight Changes dialog box (shown below), click in the box to place a checkmark indicating that you want changes tracked, then click OK.

Highlight Changes Dialog Box

In the sample paragraph below, notice how the edits are indicated by a different color, in addition to a vertical bar being placed in the left margin to indicate edited lines:

Sample of edited document using Word 2000's track changes function

Using Word XP

  1. Open the Word document that you want to edit.
  2. From the menu choose, TOOLS : Track Changes. The Reviewing Toolbar (shown below) will indicate that Track Changes is in use by the depressed appearance of the Track Changes tool.

Sample Word XP reviewing toolbar

In the sample paragraph below, notice how the edits are indicated by a different color, and a vertical bar is placed in the left margin to indicate edited lines. In addition, XP places detailed information in "call-outs" on the right of the document, with indicators of the exact location of the edit:

Sample of edited document using Word XP's track changes function

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Adding Text Comments

A useful feature in Word is Adding Comments. This can be especially powerful when used in conjunction with the Track Changes features.

Using Word 2000

To insert a text comment,

  1. Highlight the word or phrase with which you wish the comment associated.
  2. From the menu, choose INSERT : Comment.
    The image below shows how Word adds a highlighted "marker" that identifies the initials of the person adding the comment, and denotes the comment with a number (comments are numbered consecutively as they are added).
  3. Word opens a second window below the document and adds a corresponding marker in the Comments frame. When you are finished typing your comment, click CLOSE.

Sample of edited document in Word 2000 showing added comments

To see comments that have been added to a document, point to the highlighted "marker" and a pop-up box will display the comment along with the name or initials of the individual who added the comments (see below). However, it can be difficult for some people to position the mouse at exactly the right location to cause the pop-up box to display. For those individuals, the best method of viewing the comments, is to choose from the menu, VIEW : Comments (it will look similar to the sample above).

Sample of comment pop-up box in Word 2000

Using Word XP

To insert a text comment,

  1. Highlight the word or phrase with which you wish the comment associated.
  2. From the menu, choose INSERT : Comment.
    Word XP adds an insertion point indicating where a comment has been added, as well as a "call-out" displaying the comment. If you point to the insertion point, Word displays a pop-up box indicating the name of the person who added the comment. (See sample below.)

Sample Word XP Adding Comments

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Adding Voice Comments

Another way that you can add comments in Word is by recording an audio comment. This, too, can be especially powerful when used in conjunction with the Track Changes features. However, you need to keep in mind that the audio comments will result in a larger file than simply adding textual comments. You should keep your comments succinct so that the file size does not increase to the point where it will prove difficult for your learners to download the edited, commented file. You must have a microphone attached to your computer so that you can record your comments.

Using Word 2000

To add an audio comment,

  1. Click in the location where you wish the comment to be added.
  2. From the menu, choose INSERT: Comment.
  3. Word will highlight the word or area of the document where the comment will be inserted and will add the initials of the person adding the comment. Word also opens the second pane below the document with the initials indicated along with any comments previously added to the document. (To review what the window would look like, refer to the image in the section above "Adding Text Comments.")
    To record the audio comment, click the "audio cassette" icon.
  4. In the Sound Object dialog box (shown below), click the red disk to begin recording. Speak slowly and distinctly into the microphone. When you are finished with the audio comment, click the black square to stop recording.

Sample of Word 2000 record audio dialog box

  1. Review your comment by using the Foward and Back buttons. When you are finishing adding comments, click the Close button to close the bottom pane and return to your document.

Word will insert the sound icon (shown below) into the comments panel indicating an audio comment. To see who added the audio comment, point your mouse to the highlighted portion of the text. A pop-up box will display the name. To listen to the comment, choose from the menu, VIEW : Comments. The comments pane will open beneath the document and display the image shown below. Click the sound icon to begin to play the audio comment.

Sample sound icon indicating audio comments

Using Word XP

To add an audio comment,

  1. On the Reviewing Toolbar, click the down arrow to the right of the New Comment tool; choose Voice Comment (see sample below).

Sample Word XP add audio comments tool

  1. In the Sound Object dialog box (shown below), click the red disk to begin recording. Speak slowly and distinctly into the microphone. When you are finished with the audio comment, click the black square to stop recording.

Sample of Word 2000 record audio dialog box

  1. Review your comment by using the Foward and Back buttons. When you are finishing adding comments, click the Close button to close the bottom pane and return to your document.

Word will insert the sound icon into the document. To see who added the audio comment, point your mouse to the insertion point. A pop-up box will display the name. To listen to the comment, double click the sound icon.

Sample Word Xp document indicating audio comments

 

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