Mama Deb (mamadeb) wrote,
Mama Deb

Squishing fic

You need to get Abadi Condensed MT Light. It comes with Word 97, but we had to buy it for Word XP. Otherwise Gill light works.

First, there's the most common way I do it.

1. Select the text you want to format. If there are ads or lots of headers or footers, or graphics, or frames, be very careful to only take the text you want. Copy.
2. Open Word. Edit/paste special/html format. This keeps any italics or bolds used by the author.
3. Make sure you can see symbols.
4. Select entire document. This is important because of how Word does formating.
5. Go to formattng box (to the left of font box.) Select Normal on the menu. *Not* Normal (Web) or Remove Formatting. Just Normal.

If all goes well, you should have a document in your default font and size, with an even left margin and singlehard returns between paragraphs. You might also have some line returns (these look like arrows pointing down.) Get rid of them by doing a search and replace, changing the line returns (^l) to hard returns (^p). It doesn't hurt to run one just in case.

6. Now change the font. If you have Abadi, use that. Otherwise, use Gill.
7. Change the font size to one step above the smallest you can read comfortably. For me, that's 8 pts - I can read 7.5, and even 7, so I choose 8pts.
8. Go to format/paragraph/spaces and indents.
9. Choose first line indent, and pick a good sized indent. I like .15" for 8 pts. Experiment - too large is wasteful, too small is hard to see. For 7.5 or 7, I like .1".
10. For line spacing, choose multiple and .7. This is a percentage of the normal line spacing, so it would work for any font or size.
11. Go to format/columns. Choose three columns, and a gutter size of .1".
12. Go to file/page setup and change the margins to .5 all around.

This is the basic stuff. I tend to go further, just for aesthetics - I paginate (which I suggest firmly), I hyphenate and justify both margins, and I make the columns even by chosing a continuous break after the last hard return. Doing this, I get it down to about 1/12th. Larger fonts will reduce that, and if you're going above 10 pts, you'd probably do better with two columns.

If I find I have only a few lines on the last page, I'll reduce the line spacing to .68. That's not enough to really notice, but it does the job.

If I need to go smaller, I reduce the font to 7.5, reduce the margins to .4 (.46 on the bottom), and reduce the space between the columns to .05 and add a line between. This can reduce things by as much as ten pages if the file is big enough.

And, of course, I print duplex. Also, if I'm doing many files, what I'll do is, after printing, select and delete the file before cut and pasting the new one. This gives me pagination, hyphenation, margins and columns already down. I still have to do the rest, but it's a start.

Edited to Add: This is for a discussion currently being held on Prospect-L, where someone wanted to know how I squish fic. This way I could just post a link.

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