Tuesday, July 01, 2008

You would know all this if you had been a contemporary of Shakespeare

A virtual acquaintance of mine, a long-time denizen of a couple of mailing lists I’ve been on, turns out also to be a big shot in the world of Renaissance Faires and Elizabethan-era re-enactors. For a number of years Maggie Secara has been the proprietress of the elizabethan.org website, where she gradually accumulated hundreds of little tidbits that help lend authenticity to the speech and actions of re-enactors. A few months ago, Maggie approached me about printing her Compendium of Common Knowledge 1558–1603 as a book. A Compendium of Common Knowledge The book is out and available. I learned all sorts of fascinating details while I was working on it, and if you’re as enamored of trivia as I am, you’ll enjoy it too. And it’s a perfect gift for a history buff. Maggie that document Maggie is also the eponym of the ultimate corrupted Microsoft Word document rescue technique that has come to be known as maggieing the document. Or maggying the document. Nobody really knows how to spell the gerund. Nonetheless, if your Word document starts to behave badly and you’re afraid it may be irretrievably corrupted, you should maggie the document. (This applies to version of Word up through Word 2003; Word 2007 documents are constructed quite differently and should not become corrupt in the same ways older documents can.) Here’s how you maggie a document.
  1. Open a new blank document.
  2. In the problem document, ensure that the show/hide ¶ button is turned on so that you can see paragraph marks. Track Changes should be off.
  3. For each section in the document (it may only have one section, which is fine), select all of the text except the final ¶.
  4. Copy to the clipboard (Ctrl+C).
  5. Switch to the new document and paste (Ctrl+V).
  6. In the new document, recreate section breaks as needed and recreate all headers and footers, which will not have transferred over.
  7. Save the new document with a new name and close the old one.
Note that you would not have known this procedure had you been a contemporary of Shakespeare. I just thought I’d toss this in as a bonus so that you could puzzle over the sort of mind that can repair Word documents Monday through Friday and transform itself into the countess of Southampton on weekends.


Katharine O'Moore-Klopf said...

Very cool to have kept the book production in the Copyediting-L family, Dick. If you produced it, I'm sure it's gorgeous inside and out.

Anonymous said...

Dick threaded the needle; now, I'll try to stitch the Maggies together. After using the Shakespearean Maggie's Compendium (an easy to use, effective fact-checking tool) and the Word-repair maggie (a gift from Heaven), I think that these two tools -- these weapons -- are "holy saws of sacred writ."

Dick Margulis said...

Sally the anonymous commenter emailed me a postscript: "Oh, that was Queen Margaret (needed for the stitch, eh?) in Act 1 of Shakespeare's Henry VI, Part 2."