Comp: Vet Content for Composition

Composition is the act of applying structure to content, resulting in a file that conforms to the standards of best practices for editorial and production processes. In Word and InDesign, this is done mainly by applying styles to elements. The Word composition process involves three main categories: file integrity, style application, and content checks.

Use the Word Composition Procedure to apply structure and review Word documents. That procedure is expanded here with more details about available tools and additional information.

Composition Procedure: File Integrity and Initial Vet

  1. Scroll through the file.

  2. Use the tools in the SAI and Digital Hub to review the file.

  3. Take note of the styles to be applied and potential issues. Plan for how to apply the styles and address issues.

Best Practices

  • Work in draft view. This makes it clearer to see applied paragraph styles and allows Word to run faster.
  • Activate the styles pane to view the styles applied to selected text.
  • PC Only: When vetting files, click the options button in the lower right of the style pane and enable Font formatting. Scroll through the list on the right for unique formatting that is unlikely to get caught during the course of composition. This will commonly be displayed as a “+” and description after the style name. When finished vetting, turn off the Font formatting option for a cleaner style pane menu.

Vet Content

  1. Upload the .docx to the Digital Hub. View stats and make a note of anything that may require attention.
    1. Expect to see Non-ScML and Unstyled Content warnings in uncomposed files.
    2. If there are many non-ScML character styles, plan to overwrite these when running rendering cleanup.
    3. Take note of any hidden text.
  2. In the SAI, run Vet File to identify punctuation inconsistencies or special Word elements. If anything does not match the manuscript specification, make a note of it.
  3. If Vet File reports that the file has embedded images, replace them with callouts. Search for these instances using ^g.
    • Note: Any graphics remaining in the Word file will be replaced with callouts during conversions through the Digital Hub, with the graphics saved into the project’s image assets. This should be considered a safety net to preserve any graphics that may otherwise have been lost; the best practice is to handle graphics outside of a Word document.
  4. If there are Word equations in the file, apply the appropriate output settings per the project specification. If the equations need to be converted to MathType, do so now.
  5. Scroll through the document or open any style gallery to use the Automatically Advance Cursor options. Review the paragraph styles that may be needed for composition and identify any special elements. Use this opportunity to create a style gallery as you go. Do the following to use the Automatically Advance Cursor feature:
    1. Open any style gallery.
    2. Choose Autoselect Next Paragraph Formatting Group, Skip ScML Paragraph, and Skip Likely <p> Paragraph.
    3. Select Next Paragraph Formatting Group (Alt+N on PC; ⌘+N on Mac) to jump through the document and review the non-p paragraphs. Do not compose yet, but identify what ScML styles will be used in the file. Make a list.
    4. Create or modify a Style Gallery. The first ten items in the gallery will have keyboard shortcuts (e.g., Alt+0, Alt+1 on a PC; ⌘+0, ⌘+1 on a Mac).

Note: The key commands associated with this tool are only functional when the Style Gallery window is the active window. This will be the case when the text is selected by the Automatically Advance Cursor tool. Otherwise, if text is selected manually, click back to the Style Gallery to activate the window and enable the key commands.

Procedure Notes

Word composition can vary by manuscript and by the preferences of the person doing the work. Some people may prefer to use style galleries and find-and-replace while others may prefer to use keyboard shortcuts. The composition procedure as presented on is meant to present best default practices and provide information about the available tools both in and out of Word. In some cases, it is necessary to approach the file in a particular order, like running the rendering tool before applying the paragraph styles. In other cases, a step can be done at any point, as long as it is done before the file is considered complete.

Along those lines, the goal of Word composition can vary. In some cases, a file must match its source material exactly, preserving any textual errors that may be discovered. In other cases, cleanup options may be helpful or identified as a requirement. In all cases, the expectations should be clarified at the outset so that the decisions made will result in the desired output.

  1. Ellipsis standardization. Punctuation may be mixed in a way that requires running more than one cleanup option to get a consistent ellipsis sequence. See Punctuation and Character Cleanup.
    1. Run Periods to spaced periods first, even if you will ultimately use the ellipsis character. Three periods in a row with no spacing are not converted to the ellipsis character by Periods to ellipses, and instances of four spaced dots will retain the space between the first period and the ellipsis.)
    2. Then run either Periods to ellipses or Ellipses to spaced periods, depending on the specification for your project.
  2. Making composition corrections in a .sam file. In most cases, you will use the text changes to find issues only, then make the changes at the appropriate point in the corresponding Word document. Though not recommended for beginners, more advanced users may feel comfortable making the changes directly in the .sam file and converting back to .docx. In such a case, a Hub user should be aware of the following behaviors:
    • When you convert a .sam file to .docx, titles with embedded footnotes or endnotes that were previously renumbered by chapters will now number in a single sequence throughout the entire book. This is because Microsoft Word uses section breaks to enable note renumbering. Section breaks do not travel outside of Microsoft Word, so they will need to be added back to the document. See the procedure for renumbering footnotes or endnotes by chapter under Adjust Note Numbering and Add Note Heads in Comp: Refine and Check to adjust these settings.
    • Note heads in the embedded endnotes section (such as ah chapter indicators) will be placed at the end of the document. For this reason, it is recommended that this content be added during the Refine and Check phase.
    • When embedding notes, there must be no file warnings regarding note count. Embedding notes in spite of this will result in notes getting linked incorrectly.

Next Step: Prepare the File