Scientific writing: Easily change all the “degree signs” you wrote to a proper degree sign

So you wrote all your degree signs as a superscript small letter o, or a superscript zero or some other rubbish, and now you need to change all several hundred instances to a proper degree sign: °, also known as unicode character U+00B0.

Here’s how to easily use Word’s find and replace function to accomplish this task.

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Scientific writing: Stop using esoteric operational labels in your manuscript

Stop using operational labels and esoteric short-hands in your manuscript. Keep them in your lab book – that’s where they serve their purpose – but remember they’re meaningless to everyone who’s not you or directly involved in your project. Continue reading

Scientific writing: Stop using convoluted bracketed constructions to tell your reader about opposites

Stop using convoluted bracketed constructions to tell your reader about opposites in your scientific writing.

For example, writing:

The first and second models overestimate (underestimate) precipitation in spring (summer).

is confusing. The reader still has to read the words enclosed in parentheses: in her head she hears the words “underestimate precipitation in spring” –  or at least this is what I hear. This wasn’t your intention, right? Continue reading

Scientific writing: Easily change multiple instances of subscript and superscript formatting in Word

Scientific writing: Easily change multiple instances of subscript and superscript formatting in Word

So you just finished the first draft of your report / thesis / paper in Word, but neglected to use the correct subscript and superscript formatting in your chemical formulae or your units. Now you need to change them all before sending the manuscript to your tutor / supervisor / journal editor. Oh, and there are several hundred instances scattered throughout the manuscript.

You probably already guessed that find and replace is the answer. Less obvious, perhaps, is the fast way to replace “13CH4” to something with mixed formatting using normal in-line text, superscripts, and subscripts, like “13CH4“. Here’s how to do it using Word’s option to replace text with the clipboard contents, including formatting. Continue reading

Why I use… KeePass

What is it?

KeePass is a free open source password manager, that you can use to create and access an encrypted database for storing passwords and usernames.

Why is it relevant as a dyslexia coping strategy?

I locked myself out of a work account at a new job within half an hour of having set it up, and then had to wait two days for a reset key to be delivered by internal snail mail. Continue reading

A summary of… Windows 7 and Office keyboard shortcuts

This post was inspired by the excellent Ask Jack article about how to be more productive when using a computer, and is dedicated to my Mum, who wanted me to write down all the “magic buttons” I use to control her computer annoyingly quickly.

Why are keyboard shortcuts useful as a dyslexia coping strategy?

First, dyslexics need to work out how to save time when working, and using keyboard shortcuts is faster than using the mouse. For example pressing Ctrl+S is several seconds faster than clicking on the file ribbon and then clicking on save, and those seconds add up over the course of the working week. Continue reading

Why I use… WorkFlowy

I organize my entire life with WorkFlowy, so it’s an excellent topic for my first blog post.

What is it?

WorkFlowy is a nested list accessible via the Internet. Yes – it’s very simple and very elegant.

Why is it relevant as a dyslexia-coping strategy?

I find it helps me to remember and plan things by making organized lists that are easy to reorganize, and then to share and sync that information across platforms, i.e. my laptop and my smart phone. Continue reading