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Editing Text Filled With Manual Line Breaks

A client sent me a book with nice graphics but a poor design. They used manual line breaks throughout to try and place images, which (as you may know) means the text is impossible to work with without changing the formatting (automatically/by design).

For instance, when I add a comma that needs to be added on one line, the manual line break is positioned so that every line on the page gets offset. Removing the line breaks is not doable since they are throughout the document and have been used to try and align graphics.

I have explained that these formatting changes were made automatically while I was editing (and demonstrated an example for the buyer) due to the placement of the manual line breaks. The original file had many formatting issues to begin with, but editing the text further threw off the graphics. Any suggestions?

what was that??..

I’ve actually had this exact problem recently. My only way around the issue was to create an entirely new document and reformat it from scratch. Of course, this isn’t an ideal solution, especially for a 60k word manuscript but I personally felt obliged as I and the client had spent a long time negotiating the price prior to them ordering and really, it was my fault for not taking formatting issues into account.

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Would turning on display of “all formatting marks”/non-printing characters help?

So you’re willing to mess up your client’s document just to get your job done? That’s not fair. Either cancel the project because you breaks the document or get it right.

I’m not sure if you know what I’m referring to, but text with manual line breaks (especially when placed everywhere throughout the file) is impossible to edit without automatically changing the layout. They hired an editor and I am expected to make corrections. I should not also be expected to format their document just because they did it wrong.

I hadn’t seen the file or its issues beforehand (they ordered from my gig directly). There are really only two persisting errors that resulted from the editing: an image’s alignment was changed and a blank page was added mid-document, both of which I have tried to remedy for them but it’s simply outside of my realm of expertise and my gig’s scope.