Manuscript File Formats
I can edit in any of the major Windows word processing programs, including Microsoft Word (.doc and .docx), Apache OpenOffice Writer (.odt), and LibreOffice Writer (.odt).
I can also edit in Google Docs, and proofreads can be done in Adobe InDesign or PDFs.
Editing in Word, OpenOffice, and LibreOffice
These are the most common programs used for editing manuscripts. Unless otherwise requested, I use track changes so you can easily accept or reject suggested edits. Notes are made using the comment feature.
Editing in Google Docs
Google Docs files are edited in the same way as Word files, but once a link is submitted for editing, I ask that you do not access the file or make any changes until the completion of the edit. Multiple people working on a document together can be exceptionally productive during the developmental stage, but in later editing stages, it leads to the introduction of errors.
Authors making changes during an edit can also drastically increase the time it takes to complete an edit. I am happy to take the extra time and work with authors who want to make edits and comments while I’m working on a file, but those edits are charged by the hour.
I also ask authors to wait until the edit is complete to review the document because most edits include two readings. There are certain issues I address in the first reading and others that I save for the second reading, so notes made in the first reading are usually notes to myself and suggested changes are often not the final edits.
Google Docs (especially on my poor old computer) can struggle with large files when a lot of suggestions and comments are added. If you have a full-length book and want more than a light edit, I may need to break the manuscript into several separate documents to keep the file loading smoothly.
Editing in InDesign
InDesign is a fantastic program for formatting your manuscript after editing, and I can proofread in InDesign to catch any last-minute errors before publishing.
Because editing in InDesign can be messier than in classic word processing programs, I recommend doing any major edits before formatting your manuscript.
PDFs can be marked up but do not have the track changes or editing options of word processors. Manuscripts should be edited before being converted to a PDF, but PDFs can be used for a final proofread.
File Formats I Don’t Work With
Editing Hard Copies
Editing a printed hard copy is similar to editing a PDF. But while I have worked with PDFs and have read the guidelines for marking up physical hard copies, I have very little experience working with hard copy manuscripts. If you need a hard copy manuscript edited, you should seek out an editor who is well-versed in that style of shorthand.
Editing in Scrivener and Related Programs
Scrivener and other manuscript organization programs are wonderful tools for organizing your ideas and writing your book. But when it comes time to edit, you will want to export your manuscript to a word processing program. I do have (and love) Scrivener and can view files in that format, but if I were to do an edit in Scrivener, you would not be able to see what edits I made.
I cannot open Mac-only files, but Pages (.pages) documents can easily be exported to a Word file. Please let me know if you need help exporting your manuscript to a Windows-friendly format.
Don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions about manuscript file formats or need help exporting your manuscript to a new format.