How to convert underlined text into italics in your manuscript~

Once upon a time, I received my first publishing contract!!!
Many many publishing contracts later, I can admit there are many woes one experiences in the process of getting published. The worst being part of the edits for that first book involved converting underlined text into italics. Ah!

And now many writers are self-publishing, facing the very same problem. So I thought I'd share. One way of dealing with this problem was my solution...begging for help at online writer groups.
The following information was given to me when I faced a 400-pg manuscript loaded with lots of underlined text.


Okay here goes. You probably want to print this out.

In Word 2003, open your document.

Do a file Save As to make a copy of the document just in case.

Select Edit, Replace

Put your cursor in the Find what: drop down box

Go to the bottom of the options box and select Format, Font

About half-way down the Font selection box, select Underline and the first
line-style in the drop-down box

Then select Okay

Now you are back in the Find and Replace option box

Put your cursor in the Replace with: drop down

Go to the bottom of the options box and select Format, Font again

Select italic in the font style box and then go to the Underline style and
select None from the drop-down box

Then select Okay

(Almost there!)

Now you can select Replace all and Voila! All underlines are now italics."

I can do this in my sleep now.
Well, on older stories. My more recent publisher doesn't require underlined text in manuscripts. They just want things italicized and ready to go. So, whew! But it's good to know I can learn new tricks. LOL ~Skhye


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  • 6/30/2008 7:23 AM Susan Vaughan wrote:
    Omigod, Skhye, you have saved my life! Next time I have to make that change, I bow to your expertise. W00t. w00t! You're the best.
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  • 1/9/2012 2:38 PM Norah Wilson wrote:
    Great tip. I searched for those manually the first time and missed a few! You might want to try this shortcut: in the search box, hold your CTL key down and type u. In the replace box, hold the CTL key and type i. I'm in a new version of word now, but I'm pretty sure CTL U /CTL I works in 2003.

    ***I don't know, Nora. I have never tried those steps with Word 2003. *wink* But for the steps to work on Word 2007 is pretty darn good considering I'm usually L-O-S-T! *snort* And now I can remember the steps. But thanks for the quickie version. Don't hold it against me for not remembering. I think anyone who reads this will appreciate your info. Me, I'm just going to go with knowing what's in the big window and what I can do with those options. I can deal with that. LOL This brain gets the window.

    (So old. So set in my ways...Bad Skhye! Bad Skhye!) And it's even funnier that people come to me for help formatting their documents when I seem to be soooo lost! LMAO ~Skhye

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  • 1/10/2012 1:37 PM Nicole wrote:
    Why not just use italics to begin with? Why underline? Is it something publishers request?

    ***Well, Nicole, since I began submitting stories in 2003, the publishing ballgame has completely metamorphosed into a new monster. I have always attempted to follow the rules to appear professional. They say that's the way to land a contract. *wink*

    2003: Everything submitted to agents/editors had to be in print and easy on the eye. The standard formatting of partials/full manuscripts required anything that would be italicized in the published version be underlined in the submission phase.

    2009-10: By this time, the publishing industry had pretty much switched to e-queries/submissions. But whatever your publisher wanted (tradition or not) was what you delivered, italicized or underlined. You get the picture. Sink or swim. Okay, dog paddle. Still, you had to know who wanted what. This required being on top of the game.

    2012: Now, an unagented/published author has to prove the quality of his/her work by self-pubbing and letting the masses decide whether it's representable by big houses! Refer to Amanda Hocking. So, anything goes with publishing since it's a self-pubbing game. But I can simply italicize what should be italicized for my publisher because it's a small press that prefers a manuscript document as ready to go as possible--less work on the pub's end. Whatever you do when submitting ANYWHERE, is find out what they want. Or you won't look professional. If you self-pub, just italicize it from the get go. Easy peasy!

    Hope that makes sense...Because I've got a migraine! ~Skhye

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