TRY THIS AT HOME
You all know that the key to a good ebook format is a squeaky clean source file, right? Word doesn’t produce particularly clean documents. For best results, you should strip out extraneous codes before you begin to format. Mark Coker of Smashwords calls it the “Nuclear Option.” You copy/paste your document into a text editor and that will remove all the unwanted coding. Then you copy/paste the clean text back into Word and you are ready to format.
Anyone who has tried this knows that doing so will not only remove unwanted coding, it’ll nuke your italics, too (and other special formatting and styles). Here is an easy way to tag all your special formatting and then restore it. (What I will show you applies to bolding, underlining, different sized fonts, etc., too.)
Here is a document in need of a good cleaning:
I have come up with tags through trial and error. I use several different programs when I format ebooks, so I needed something unique for search purposes that didn’t make any of the programs say, “Oh no you don’t!” and crash the search box. I use all caps and hyphens to make sure they don’t get mixed up in the text. The most common tags I use are:
- -STARTI- for italics
- -STARTB- for bold
- -STARTU- for underline
- -END- to close the tag
Back to the document. Click Replace All.
Now copy/paste into a text editor:
Now open a new file in Word and apply your main style sheet. Copy/paste your text into the new file. Open the search box and make it look this:
In the time it took you to read this blog post, you could have tagged and restored six files. It really is that easy.