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 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