Those pesky optional hyphen characters

Well, like a good little formatter, ever since I started making eBooks for clients I have started this way… if my clients sent a print copy for me to scan.

(1) Scan the print with a sheet feed scanner.

(2) Run the resultant PDF file through Optical Character Recognition software (we use Omnipage) and save it into a Word ‘docx’ file… NOT a ‘doc’  Saving it into a ‘doc’ file will loose the italics.

(3) Then take that ‘docx’ file and with find/replace in Word   Find: optional hyphen (it’s in your ‘special’ list)  Replace: put nothing here… then Replace all.

Straightforward of course, but I never asked myself where those optional hyphens came from. They look like a hyphen but with a hook on the left end.  Today I found out what they are. I have a Word file which was auto-hyphenated in preparation for saving as a PDF file for print on demand (POD). I had to make edits to the file when I received my proof copy from Create Space.

Well it seems that those hyphenation locations stay hyphenated which is okay unless during edits you add a line or a paragraph which moves the line (that is hyphenated automatically) to another position… and the auto-hyphenated word ends up within a line and not at the end.

Wow, there’s that optional hyphen!  In the middle of a line of text. Because Word doesn’t accommodate any changes once you click that Auto-hyphenate button. So this is how you find those Pesky Optional Hyphens if you’re editing an automatically hyphenated manuscript.

Find/Special/^- (that’s the symbol for optional hyphen)  DO NOT HIT THE REMOVE ALL BUTTON… JUST GO TO NEXT AND DELETE IT IF YOU NEED TO.

Word will find all hyphens which are put in during the Auto-hyphenate step… if they lie at the end of a line as they should, then leave them alone. If it finds one that isn’t at the end of a line, and it has that little left hook on it, then take that one out… just don’t hit the replace all button.

That’s my tip for today. A tiny issue, but you want the most perfect print book that you’re able to produce, don’t you?



About athirstyblog

If you're a published author and are sitting on a basement full of backlisted books, then you've found the right blog. Although I formerly filled these pages with book reviews, they will now be filled with tips on eBook formatting, talk about the current technology of eBooks, and other stuff that interests me and hopefully interests you. I'm currently an eBook formatter, formerly a bookseller, archaeologist, illustrator and lover of all things historical and scientific. And I'm now a permanent citizen of DownEast Maine with my own beach and 175 year old house and everything! Come along for the Journey!
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