First I need to sincerely apologize to Terry O'Connor for the delay getting his terrific addition to the Word Crayon into TechTrax. But I totally forgot and it wasn't until the subject came up again, recently, when I remembered that I never posted his work. Very sorry, Terry...you're sweet to not bug me, but you should have!<smile>
What is the Word Crayon?
Back in early 2003, a writer came to me asking if there was any way to color specific words in Word. He wanted to colorize actor's parts in a play to make them more visible during readings. Greg Chapman thought about the idea and came up with the Word Crayon. A utility that allows you to enter whatever word you want into a text file, along with the color you want. Run the code against your document and the words will be colored as per your specs.
To read more about the Word Crayon see the February, 2003 issue of TechTrax.
As a result of that article, Terry, a TechTrax subscriber and editor realized this would be a good tool for his work. He created a list of clichés to allow him to colorize articles to better show his writers their use (or over use) of these terms. Below Terry explains his work.
By the way, one final note. If you colorize your content and then realize that you want to remove the color, you can rerun the same control text, just change the color to black.
Again, Terry...thanks for your hard work...for sharing with our readers and for being so patient!
The Word Crayon - Cliché Coloring Enhancement
by Terry O'Connor
To download the cliché compilations by Terry O'Connor, click here. Be sure to read the original article (linked above) to learn how to get the Crayon working and to get the template that contains the main code. If you need help learning ways to handle macro code, see this article: Sharing Macros.
The file ColorKeyWordsSmall.txt contains about 1,000 clichés and common phrases. This small list is a sub-set of the 4, 000 or so words in the ColorKeyWordsHuge.txt
Whichever version you use, you should first renamed the file to ColorKeyWords.txt, as this is the name of the file required by the original code.
The small version should be most useful to the majority of people, but if you really want to check a document thoroughly try the Huge file. Be warned, however, if you run the Huge file against a book-length manuscript, you should go make yourself coffee while it's running - and not instant coffee, either.
There are still a few double-ups I haven't eliminated, and many of the entries are parts of clichés, which makes finding all varieties easier. For instance "angels fear to" rather than "angels fear to tread" for those times when a writer tries to sneak in a cliché, and "albatross around" to allow for "his neck", "her neck" and so on.
Not all clichés are bad despite George Orwell's dictum in Politics and the English Language: "Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print."
The idea of finding a cliché is not to remove it automatically, but to alert the writer or editor to its presence, which then suggests the question: Should this be here? If the answer is yes, fine. Leave it.
Use it in good health. Oops! There's one now. Wonder if I should remove it . . .
Terry O'Connor's devotion to cyberspace led him to TechTrax and Greg Chapman's very useful Word Crayon, which Terry has adapted as a cliché checker.
Terry is a journalist with The Courier-Mail, Queensland's broadsheet daily, where his duties include editing on the news desk, occasional editing of the newspaper's Internet edition, on-line tutoring of journalism cadets and running the newspaper's annual Young Reviewer awards.
He's also a freelance editor of both fiction and non-fiction manuscripts and a tutor at creative writing camps.
His book Hold the Frontage: Writing for Newspapers was published in 1991 and was taken up by many Australian universities.
His second book, A Pictorial History of Queensland, was published in December 1996 by Robert Brown & Associates.
Terry has his own website at http://plateaupress.com.au. Email: email@example.com.
Editor's Note - Customize the Code for Whole Words
Recently, another user who loved the Word Crayon came to me asking if there was a way to modify the code to have the code search for only whole words. This would allow him to search out specific words without coloring other words that had that word (that character combination) contained within. Huh! Reasonable idea.
Although we don't currently have time to modify it and post a second version, currently have time to modify it and post a second version, you can easily modify the code yourself, if this is what you would also like the code to do. Here's how...
- Read the article so you understand what's up and download the master code template.
- Open the template in Word, hit Alt + F11 to access the VBA code inside the VB Editor.
- Locate the code in the module for the procedure called ColorWords. (Note that you can hit Edit > Find to search for it.
- Once you locate the ColorWords procedure, you simply need to add one line of code. Realize however, that you MUST add it EXACTLY as shown below...in the same location. If you make a mistake typing it, you will get an error!
Sub ColorWords(ByVal strText As String, _
ByVal MyColor As Variant)
.MatchWholeWord = True '<-- this is the new line you need to add, here!
.Font.Color = MyColor
.Execute FindText:=strText, ReplaceWith:=strText, _
- When finished adding that new line of code, press Ctrl + S to save the code.
- Close the Template
- Follow the original directions to use the template and code.
If you ever need to revert back to partial words (characters), then remove that line of code. Or create two versions of template, leaving one version with the new line and one version without.