A while back I did a post on how to format an ebook with Microsoft Word as your starting place. Since writing that I discovered a great tip that makes the process even easier, how to save italics when you have to strip all formatting from the original file.
If you have gone through the process, you know the worst part of taking an old manuscript and converting it into a clean Microsoft Word Doc file, which can either be uploaded to Smashwords or saved as web page filtered html and then pulled into Calibre, etc, is keeping track of those italics.
So here is a tip for how to save italics in Microsoft Word. It will allow you to give your manuscript the nuclear blast (copying into Notepad) to remove all formatting and still not have to go back and manually re-insert all of the italics.
Start with the original manuscript. I do this the very first thing, BEFORE anything else listed in the How to Format an Ebook with Microsoft Word post.
Open Find or hit Control/F
1.) In Find Window: Leave box blank but go to More–>Format–>Font–>Font Style. Click ITALIC. Hit OK.
2.) In Replace Window: QQQ^&QQQ
Select all, copy/paste into Notepad. Copy/paste back into a new Word document.
Now, select all, hit “clear all” to make sure you remove all styles. (You can check this by having your document map open. If there are no styles, nothing should show there. If something does, hit “clear all” again.)
With EVERYTHING SELECTED hit “Body” in your stylesheet.
Now you can proceed with putting your italics back.
Go to Find or hit Control/F
1.) Select “use wildcards”
2.) In Find Window: (QQQ)(*)(QQQ)
3.) In Replace Window: 2 with your body italics style chosen. (You will have to have built this style. You can just choose italics in the same place you did before and convert all italics to a stylesheet later using find/replace if you like.) To get to styles here go to More–>Format–>Style–>Body Italics (or whatever you named your italics style). Hit OK.
Voila! Everything that was in italics before is again and you can proceed with adding your other styles, page breaks, etc.
Lori Devoti is the multi-published author of romantic comedy, paranormal romance and urban fantasy. She also writes the Dusty Deals Mystery series under the pen name Rae Davies. Look for her workshops at Write by the Lake (DCS University of Wisconsin), at RWA conferences and meetings, and here at the How To Write Shop. For more information, visit her website.