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March 8, 2007

Stumped by Microsoft Word
Posted by Patrick at 09:39 AM *

We’ve wondered this before, but we’ve never had any luck figuring it out, and it comes up once in a while in the course of our work. Postulate a long manuscript composed entirely of ASCII text. The writer has indicated italics by framing the text to be italicized—sometimes a single word, sometimes several words—with asterisks, *like this*.

Is there a way, with Word (2003, “Professional Edition”, running on XP SP2) to automate the conversion of these passages to underlined text, per normal manuscript format? It seems to me the kind of thing that a computer ought to be able to do. (Possibly simplifying matters, the writer doesn’t use the asterisk character for anything else.)

Comments on Stumped by Microsoft Word:
#1 ::: Matt the Geek ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 10:15 AM:

Have you tried doing a global replace from '*' to '_' and selecting "autoformat" under "format"

Make sure that under "Autocorrect" under "tools" that *bold* and _italic_ with real formatting is checked.

That does it on my version of word

#2 ::: galloglass ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 10:16 AM:

On a quick test in Word 2002, the following works for me:
- bring up the Find and Replace dialog box
- click on the More button
- tick the "Use wildcards" option
- set "Find what:" to "\*(*)\*"
- set "Replace with:" to "\1"
- with focus still on the "Replace with:" field, click on Format/Font
- select an underline style in the "Replace Font" window that comes up and click OK (the "Replace with:" field should now have a "Format: Underline" label below it)
- click on "Find Next" and "Replace".

#3 ::: Matt the Geek ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 10:24 AM:

That looks lie it may be a little unfriendly if you're not a geek, let me give you a step by step in case you're a normal human.

1. Click on the "Tools" tab.

2. Select "Autocorrect options" from the menu.

3. Click on the "AutoFormat" tab from the pop-up screen that you will create.

4. Make sure there is a checkmark next to "*bold* and _italics_ with real formating.

5. Click "OK" on the pop-up.

6. Select "Edit" from the tool bar menu.

7. Select "Replace" from the Menu.

8. Put a * next to "Find What" and a _ next to "Replace with"

9. Click "Replace All" then click "Ok" to the pop up telling you it's done.

10. Select "Format" from the toolbar.

11. Select "AutoFormat" from that menu.

12. Click "Ok"

And that should work.

#4 ::: SKapusniak ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 10:32 AM:

In addition to what Matt said, there's a 'More' button on the Find and Replace dialog box, which reveals a checkbox allowing to use wildcards in search expressions, and also a dropdown thingy for setting up what formating you want to search and replace from/to.

#5 ::: Tilt ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 10:47 AM:

I was working on an ugly kludge converting asterisks to HTML codes, but in the meantime galloglass @ #2 posted the most elegant solution possible. For those anyone who couldn't quite follow what was happening there (I had to look up the \1):
1) Use a wildcard search to find any number of characters between an asterisk and another asterisk.
2) replace that wildcard text you just found with the same text (the \1 refers to the text grabbed by the (*) in the search), only underlined. The framing asterisks are not included.


#6 ::: Daniel Martin ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 10:53 AM:

What galloglass said.

Two things to watch out for:

First, before you click Format...Font, be sure that the cursor is in the box for the replace text (it should be, since you just typed \1 in that box). Secondly, before starting all of this make sure that your cursor in the document is not in a section that should be underlined, or... well, hillarity will ensue.

Assuming the author isn't italicizing every other word, it's best to click the "Replace" button repeatedly rather than blithely click "Replace All", just in case the author did have a stray asterisk somewhere you didn't notice before. If word does suddenly higlight a big chunk because the author went and included a spare asterisk like this:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur *adipisicing* elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. (*) Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla *pariatur*. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est *laborum*.

Then you can easily click in the middle of the document, position your cursor someplace after the errant asterisk, and then hit "Find Next" and "Replace" in the Find/Replace box again.

#7 ::: Marcos ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 10:55 AM:

galloglass's instructions worked fine here. No idea Word could do that sort of thing. Though simple wildcards with captures is an odd combination to me..

#8 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 11:09 AM:

Going to file this one for reference. (My new computer is running XP Pro and Office 2003 (basic).)

'I didn't know it could do that!'

#9 ::: Connie H. ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 11:17 AM:

Huh, a couple of years ago I was trying to substitute asterisks for underlines, and this is the advice that a friend gave me:

Choose "replace" from the edit menu and click on the "more" button. Under "format" choose "font" and choose the underlining style you're looking for. It should then say "Underline" in the format section of "find what". Under "replace with" type "*^&" for an asterisk before the word and "^&*" for an asterisk after. Hit replace all. Voila!

It seems to me that you could very probably reverse the procedure.

#10 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 11:20 AM:

May I ask software questions not related to Patrick's original request?

First... Is it true that AVG is better at protecting one's computer than, for example, Norton?

Second... Is FileZilla one of the better tools, for MS users, to implement changes to their web site? If not, what would you recommend?

#11 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 11:33 AM:

Norton is utterly, despicably, cynically evil, unless your life savings is invested in Symantec stock, of course. Over the years, it has been responsible for more adverse technical issues than any other software product besides Microsoft Windows itself at the various companies where I've done technical support. I prefer ZoneAlarm Security Suite.

#12 ::: Matt the Geek ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 11:34 AM:

I believe that if AVG is not better than Norton, it certainly provides at least the same level of virus protection and uses less system resources while doing it.

#13 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 11:41 AM:

Thanks, Earl and Matt... Basically, what happened is that my wife's internet access stopped working so I removed Norton. That didn't help. I took it to a nearby place, which figured out that the problem was that some virus had gotten in and messed up the access, in spite of Norton. Three days and three hundred dollars later, the computer is back and working. The technician installed AVG, which also has the benefit of being free. Or is free a benefit?

#14 ::: Kieran ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 11:44 AM:

Ah, the wonderful world of regular expressions. Seeing as the solution has already been posted, here's a related story where I had to do the same thing, more or less.

#15 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 11:45 AM:

Serge, I'm using AVG now. I don't know if it's better protection, but Norton was slowing my computer down to a crawl and crashing programs because of its constant updating and overall hugeness. I haven't had any virus problems in a long time, I think mainly because I use a web-based mail instead of downloading it on to my own computer like Microsoft wants you to.

On the Word thing -- I'm glad to see this discussion. I was trying to do a search and replace on formatting at the Word computer I sometimes have to use and couldn't find any way to do it at all. So my solution was to mail the piece to my home computer and use Word Perfect to do the job.

#16 ::: Adrienne Travis ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 11:50 AM:


#1 "Better" is a relative term. Probably "as good", at least, and runs with SIGNIFICANTLY less resources (memory and processing power). In addition, unlike Norton, it will let you *uninstall* it if you don't like it without popping up all kinds of dire fucking warnings and leaving random bits of crap on your machine.

I personally recommend PrevX ( instead. In ordinary virus-scanners and malware scanners, the manufacturer has to put together an "update list" anytime there's a new threat, and that means that if you're one of the first people to get the malware, there won't BE a fix yet, and it won't even know to tell you that there's a threat. PrevX has both a community-updated database (it downloads a list every day or two to your machine, just in case you're not connected to the internet -- but when you ARE connected, it will check the *real-time* list), AND it won't let **anything** install without popping up a note to tell you what it is and that either (a) it seems to be completely safe, (b) they don't know much about it but it doesn't seem to be a threat, or (c) it's malware. That extra verification step is amazingly handy -- because nothing can automatically run out of your email box, or a script attached to a word document, or by being called from somewhere else, WITHOUT you getting to check it first.

(Note: I'm not affiliated in any way with them. I just like their software a lot. Arovax Shield is free rather than just cheap, and it works on a fairly similar theory, but i don't think that either its interface or its database are nearly as good. YMMV.

Oh, and one last note about Norton and McAfee, the "big name" providers of anti-malware stuff: back a year or two ago, when some Sony music CDs were installing a rootkit on your machine and thus leaving it open to all kinds of exploits -- Norton and McAfee passed that software through. Not because they didn't know that it existed -- they DID -- but because Sony had *asked them not to*. The story of the rootkit finally broke when some independents discovered it. Norton and McAfee didn't even TELL anyone about it!

Do you really want your anti-malware software company granting requests like that, without you even KNOWING about it?


#2 FileZilla is just an FTP client, so it depends on what you mean by "implement changes". It's a perfectly acceptable FTP client, which means that once you've edited the files it will allow you to upload them to your site with a minimum of fuss.

If, however, by "implement changes" you mean *actually edit the files*, FileZilla won't help you at all. You need a different tool, and *which* tool depends on how clueless you are about HTML/CSS/etc.

If the answer is "pretty clueless", i'd recommend Dreamweaver (formerly Macromedia, now Adobe, find it at their site) -- it's rather expensive, but it produces the best code of any of the WYSIWYG editors.

(NVu is a fairly decent free alternative produced by the Mozilla people, but its code isn't nearly as good. I'm a BIG FAN of open-source software, mind you, but i'm also kind of a Nazi about good HTML. And again, YMMV.)

If you know HTML and just need a good text editor, i recommend the free Notepad++ -- i love it to death. You can find it here.

Sorry to talk your ear off; hope this helps.


#17 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 11:52 AM:

Thanks, Lucy. I'm glad to hear that AVG doesn't fall into the bad-decision category. I'm not sure why AVG causes the download of emails into Outlook to flag each and every message with the attachment symbol, but we can live with that. Things are working fine so far. And my wife can now access James Wolcott's blog without Internet Explorer having a fit over it. Huzzah!!!

#18 ::: hooboy ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 11:59 AM:

The only thing I would note on galloglass' elegant method is that it will underline all the text between any pair of asterisks. Therefore, if a single asterisk is used somewhere as a character, it will cause the wrong text to be underlined. So don't do "Replace All" blindly. One solution for this would be to restrict the search to instances where the two asterisks are followed and preceded by the beginnings and endings of words, not spaces, by using the following Find string:


(if the HTML coding fails to display properly, that's backslash-asterisk-lessthan-openparen-asterisk-closeparen-greaterthan-backslash-asterisk)

#19 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 12:02 PM:

Adrienne... No, you didn't talk my ears off. About FileZilla... I make my changes off-line, directly on a backup copy of the site's HTML, using NotePad basically. When my wife is OK with my changes, then I use FilleZilla to FTP the changes over to the actual site. Or rather, I used to. For some reason, the cleanup the computer just went thru saw FileZilla as something bad so it removed it. Darn. I thought I'd ask about it and alternatives before putting it back in. Thanks again.

#20 ::: Mark Wise ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 12:08 PM:

Word can be made to do backflips and juggle flaming batons, but finding the magic commands isn't easy.

Jack Lyon and the folks at The Editorium offer a suite of helpful editing tools that bolt on to Word. Several copy editors of my acquaintance swear by these tools. (I have no vested interest in the company. I've just heard good things about them.)

#21 ::: Adrienne Travis ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 12:15 PM:


FileZilla is the best Free (in both Open Source and monetary senses) FTP client i've used for Windows.

My favorite Windows client is a non-free program called FlashFXP. If FileZilla is irritating you for whatever reason, you might check it out.


#22 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 12:22 PM:

I switched to Trend Micro for security after Norton made problems. Any comments from the geeks as to the wisdom of this choice would be appreciated. I use Windows XP, Microsoft Office 2003, and Firefox.

#23 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 12:27 PM:

No feelings of irritation towards FileZilla, Adrienne. I'm just making sure it is the tool I should work with. Thanks again.

#24 ::: meredith ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 12:34 PM:


I use FireFTP, which is another Firefox extension that does the same thing as FileZilla. I haven't tried FileZilla myself, but I am quite happy with FireFTP so that's worth looking into if you're curious.

(I also use Dreamweaver to edit my HTML/CSS files ... used to use good ol' Notepad, and I still only use the code editor part of Dreamweaver and not the WYSIWYG part ... but I do so like how the tags close themselves! That no happen in Notepad. :)

#25 ::: Sternel ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 12:41 PM:

You can turn on auto formatting this way: Format > Auto Format > Options, but it is set up so that asterisks are *bold* and underlines are _italics_.

Performing global replace of "*" with "_", and then running automatic formatting would eliminate the need to mess around with the formatting options in find/replace.

#26 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 12:51 PM:

FireFTP, meredith? Duly noted. As for NotePad, I rather like using it when working on the HTML - it makes me feel like Mister Scott inside the Jefferies Tube - but without the Klingons shooting at my ship.

#27 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 01:17 PM:

I recommend NoteTab instead of Notepad. It's got all sorts of extensions for HTML editing among other things, *and* you can have multiple files open at the same time.

#28 ::: Scott W ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 02:25 PM:

Serge @17:

That behavior could be from AVG certifying the mail, which, assuming I remember correctly, was AVG adding it's own style of approved stamp to the bottom of the email. Outlook might very well see that appendage as an attachment, and flag appropriately.

To change it, look at the properties section of the E-mail Scanner component, click on configure and de-select the "certify mail" box.

#29 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 02:32 PM:

Scott W... I thought that might be what was going on. Thanks for confirming.

#30 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 02:44 PM:

Great stuff. Thank you, galloglass and hooboy. One more question? " \*<(*)>\* " almost works, but it fails when the text to be italicized ends with a question mark, a quotation mark, or a dash. What modification would handle that?

#31 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 02:49 PM:

(As for the AutoFormat approach, I tried that, but it seems to add all kinds of other unwelcome cruft to the document.)

#32 ::: Sternel ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 02:57 PM:

Patrick #31 --

The Options tab under autoformatting should let you deselect the rest of the dross, and allow just the italicizing.

#33 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 03:22 PM:

For those wondering about virus scanner effectiveness, you should check out AV-Comparatives, which provides independent ratings.

Neither McAfee or Norton do significantly well.

#34 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 03:33 PM:

Any recommendations regarding printscreen software?

#35 ::: cap ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 03:52 PM:

I'm hoping it's okay if I ask a question about secruity programs, too. I'm a student at a university which has provided my PC with free Symantec stuff. I use my computer primarily for composing papers and blogging, so I'm not very familiar with What's Good and Not Good in terms of software. (My brother is very much a computer person, but he has a Mac, and never misses an opportunity to point this out.)

Last week I received an email in my spam folder (it's web-based) that will not delete. This has never happened to me before. And then I find out from reading this thread that Symantec/Norton is, apparently, crap. Alas!

I've got tabs open for ZoneAlarm and PrevX right now. And I really have no idea what I'm looking at. But I don't want a crappy virus protection program, and I don't want any more of those undeletable emails. Since all of you together seem to know about fifty thousand times as much as I do, could I get a little help/advice?

(If this is out of line, or whatever, that's cool. I can always venture down to the unversity IT office.)

#36 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 03:59 PM:

Symantec/Norton isn't actually bad, it just isn't always friendly, and the download can really slow the machine. McAfee is the same way. At work we have Trend Micro, and I put Kaspersky on my new machine. (Check Graydon's link for ratings.)

#37 ::: meredith ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 04:09 PM:

Serge, what do you mean by "print screen software"? The "PRNT SCRN" button works just fine for me. :)

#38 ::: Leigh Butler ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 04:12 PM:

Damn, I wish this thread had happened a couple of weeks ago. I just renewed McAfee for the next year. (grumble grumble seventy bucks grumble)

Of course, I haven't particularly noticed any slowdown or other problems on my computer with McAfee, but maybe I've just been lucky.

Oh, and for HTML editing, I've always used Edit Plus, myself. It's nagware (unless you buy it, of course), but I find it's wonderfully intuitive.

#39 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 04:17 PM:

meredith... The PRT SCR key on my wife's laptop never worked so I figured it's missing whatever software is associated with the key. As for the computer my employer has provided, the key does work, but it almost always fails and I then have to reboot the darn machine.

#40 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 04:21 PM:

Patrick #30:

Try " \*<(*)>[.\"\?!]\* " to catch the missing ones. If that doesn't work, try " \*<(*)>[."?!]\* ".

#41 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 04:22 PM:

Err... you probably want a dash rather than a full stop in there, but I'm sure you know what I mean. :)

#42 ::: Michelle ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 04:22 PM:

On a windows computer...the prt scr button only creates a picture of your destop...

You then need to got into a program like paint or photoshop and paste it into a file.

It doesn't print to a printer.

#43 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 04:24 PM:

Jules @ 40... This string of symbols reminds me of the way comic-strips used to use to signify very foul swearing.

#44 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 04:31 PM:

Serge #43:

Not enough octothorpes, ampersands and at-signs. I always called it "Beetle Bailey curse words" because that was its primary venue as near as I could tell.

I look at something like #40, and what comes to mind is "I went to the Perl shop and all I got was this lousy string".

#45 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 04:36 PM:

"I went to the Perl shop and all I got was this lousy string."

I smell a t-shirt in there, joann. Well, not literally.

#46 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 04:45 PM:

Michelle @ 42... Oh, I know that. That's how I made my LiveJournal's backup ID pictures of Ming the Merciless and of General Zod. But I digress. It's just that the key never worked on my wife's laptop. Hmm... I forgot to check and see if it works after that extensive cleanup/upgrade. Still, I thought I should ask, in case it's still inoperative.

#47 ::: hooboy ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 05:02 PM:

... it fails when the text to be italicized ends with a question mark, a quotation mark, or a dash. What modification would handle that?

Hmm, well, one easy workaround would be (turn off the formatting first):

Find: (\*<[!\*]@)([\-.,;:'"\?\!])\*
Replace: \1*\2

That will find all instances of text enclosed by two asterisks where there is punctuation just inside the second asterisk. It then moves the punctuation to the outside of the asterisk.

And then do another sweep with the initial find and replace formulation.

Clunky, but it should work.

#48 ::: hooboy ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 05:10 PM:

Jules @ 40, I don't think that would catch text enclosed by asterisks but lacking punctuation. So, it would "see" *Hello world!* (make sure you escape the exclamation too) but not *Hello world*. If your text is:

The computer displayed *Hello world* when I wanted it to display *Hello world!* Alas, I shall have to start anew.

Since *Hello world* appears in the text before *Hello world!*, then Word will consider everything from the first asterisk to the last as a matching expression and underline it all.

#49 ::: Michelle ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 05:18 PM:

ah okay...

I just had three people ask me today why the prt scr key doesn't work to print...

It's been one of those days

#50 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 05:22 PM:

Thanks, Michelle.

#51 ::: Scorpio ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 05:40 PM:

#49 Michelle -- I just paste Prt Sc material to a Word document and print away.

#52 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 05:41 PM:

I like AVG antivirus. I like ZoneAlarm.

I also like AceHTML and AceFTP (both freeware) as an HTML editor and an FTP client.

For unknown, not-yet-classified, fresh-out-of-the-wild viruses, consider Grr! (shareware) which stops things from modifying your registry without your explicit permission.

#53 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 05:59 PM:

My only real complaint about ZoneAlarm is its obstinate refusal to actually start doing its thing when you do an update. It wastes a bunch of my time asking me if I don't want to get the pro version, while leaving that turned off which I really wanted turned on already. (Note further that its updates *always* seem to happen right when I really want to look at NOAA radar to see what the tornado watch is really about at 4 am.)

#54 ::: Alex ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 06:16 PM:

Security: for Wintel, my solution is just to use Zonealarm for the firewall, and run ClamAV and Lavasoft Adaware weekly. Norton=the AV package you find on computers with viruses.

For Mac OS X, well, the built-in firewall, and Clam now and then.

Real-time AV is a silly idea. After all, it's not a real-time OS you're running it on.

#55 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 08:32 PM:

Norton=the AV package you find on computers with viruses.

I have read this is because the virus writers test their work on Norton.

#56 ::: Garrett Fitzgerald ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 08:47 PM:

I <3 Perl RegExps. :-)

Especially when you can do something complicated in one line, like:

$ perl -ln00e 'print join ",", map qq["$_"], split /n/' addr.txt

(What that does, believe it or not, is reformat addresses so that instead of looking like they belong on an envelope, they're all on one line with the pieces separated by commas.)

#57 ::: Alan Hamilton ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 09:44 PM:

On laptops, the PrtScn key often serves double-duty, so you have to press Fn, Ctrl, or some other key to get it to work.

Despite the name it no longer prints anything but just captures the screen to the Windows clipboard. Also, you can capture just the foreground window by typing Alt-PrtScn.

#58 ::: Aconite ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 10:21 PM:

Serge@45: I smell a t-shirt in there, joann. Well, not literally.

Give it a couple of days, and it will be.

Okay. I have a Mac. I know this means I don't have to deal with much of the crap that affects PCs, but I'm not silly enough to think I don't need virus protection et al. I had Norton, but it's expired and, frankly, I didn't like it much. Money is extremely tight, and I am so burned out right now from various Life Stuff that I don't have the energy to deal with anything complicated. Does anyone have recommendations for anti-malware for a Mac that's easy to get, easy to use, effective, and really, really inexpensive? And could you throw in a pony and prison time for the whole Bush administration while you're at it? And a renewed Sensawunda?

#59 ::: Jon H ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 10:32 PM:

"Does anyone have recommendations for anti-malware for a Mac that's easy to get, easy to use, effective, and really, really inexpensive?"

Yeah, don't buy anything yet, just be reasonably careful what you download and run.

Seriously, I've been using OS X since 2001, and haven't ever used an anti-malware app, and have had no problems.

There may come a day when we need it, but it isn't here yet. I don't feel the risk is high enough to sacrifice that much performance at this point.

(And I wouldn't be surprised if, when that day comes, the malware only tries to use the Mac to spread Windows malware to machines on your network. That would be far more profitable, i think, than targeting the relatively small number of Mac users.)

#60 ::: Jon Hendry ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 10:45 PM:

If you were on the Mac, you could do a select all -> copy on Word, then open a Terminal window and type something like

pbpaste | perl -pe 's/[*]([^*]*)[*]/(u)$1(\/u)/g' > out.html

(The parens in (u) and (\/u) should be replaced with angle brackets to make proper html.)

Then open the out.html. Despite lacking the usual start and end tags (head, body, etc) it will open in Safari.

Word might also read it as html, at which point you'd have a file in Word with underlines where there had been asterisks.

The regex matches two asterisks that surround zero or more non-asterisk characters. The parens around the ^* in the middle save that part of the text in $1 so it can be inserted between the underline tags in the second part.

#61 ::: Kevin Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 10:49 PM:

Best option for antivirus scanning on the Mac is probably ClamXav. You probably don't need it, but if you want to feel more secure it's the way to go.

#62 ::: Jon H ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 10:50 PM:

As an addendum, you could of course install Perl on your Windows box, but you wouldn't have pbpaste to integrate the command line with GUI cut & paste. You'd have to save the file as ascii or html, and run the command on the file:

perl -pe 's/[*]([^*]*)[*]/(u)$1(\/u)/g' in.txt > out.html

As far as editors go, at work I've been using PSPad, which a tabbed editor with lots of extensibility, and a built-in FTP client, which is quite handy for examining log files on servers and that sort of thing.

#63 ::: Kevin Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 10:51 PM:

Er, and ClamXav is free.

#64 ::: Kevin Marks ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 10:54 PM:

Macs don't need Norton. I've been using OS X since I was helping write it in 1998, and the anti-virus stuff is more trouble than its worth. Macs don't have viruses, and only have a few trojans.

If you do get a corrupted disc on a mac, don't use Norton, use DiskWarrior. Far better.

As for html editing, have a look at it gives you a Word-like UI, but it makes clean HTML

#65 ::: Spherical Time ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2007, 11:56 PM:

Out of curiosity, I notice that in speculative fiction there seem to be some basic conventions for special formatting that you don't see much of in other fiction:

Italics are used for emphasis and words in non-English languages, but also to indicate thoughts, both internal and communicative.

Bold is used to indicate the use of magic or psychic powers.

All caps is used to indicate multiple voices or thoughts (sort of like using it to shout online).

Patrick, as editor of Tor, do you find that fairly typical in usage?

Finally, looking at my copy of word, since italics is indicated by underline and bold is by wavy underline, how do you indicate both? Word doesn't seem to have any combination of the two.

#66 ::: Nicholas ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2007, 12:54 AM:

Serge @ 45: I smell a t-shirt in there, joann.

Indeed, shirts based on the same general idea are now available. (I have come to suspect that the mere act of publicly posting "such-and-such should have a shirt" actually causes it to be so.)

#67 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2007, 03:07 AM:

This thread makes me want to learn regular expressions better. Or maybe just to whole hog and learn perl.

Cause, you know, I have so much time...

#68 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2007, 03:09 AM:

hooboy #48: the intention was to do it as well as the existing process that already catches the case where there isn't a punctuation mark at the end of the word. Despite having the {n,m} operator, Word can't handle the case of 'zero or more repetitions of this', so the entire operation cannot be done in a single step.

#69 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2007, 03:14 AM:

Spherical Time #65:

Italics are used for emphasis and words in non-English languages, but also to indicate thoughts, both internal and communicative.

I've noticed this convention in use outside speculative fiction as well. Stephen King, for example, uses it regularly, whatever genre he's writing in. Perhaps it's more common in spec fic because of the fact we have to deal with the possibility of communication via thought.

Bold is used to indicate the use of magic or psychic powers.

I've never noticed this.

All caps is used to indicate multiple voices or thoughts (sort of like using it to shout online).

Or this. Do you have examples of those last two?

#70 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2007, 04:45 AM:

Abi @67,

I had gone for a while never getting around to learning Perl. I could make Excel or other spreadsheets dance with the data if needed, and I was happy.

And then a project came up where I needed to extract certain strings of info from 750,000 text files. I could have rigged up a combo of VBA scripts and nested equations that might have done about 90% of what I needed with 95% accuracy. I'd have ended as mad as Frankenstein, with program(s) as ugly as his monster.

Instead I learned Perl. 100 lines of code, 100% of the results I wanted.

If you have assorted text files of any kind (emails, stories, recipes) then Perl is useful. It is the forklift and the very sharp knife that gets you right to and into the box of data you need to open.

#71 ::: Kevin Marks ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2007, 05:06 AM:

If yo're going to learn a scripting language, I'd recommend Python over perl, becasues there is a far higher chance you'll be able to understand what your code does when you look at it again.

#72 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2007, 05:26 AM:

Kathryn @70
I do the spreadsheets dancing thing, with occasional swaps among a text editor (I use TextPad) and Word to clean data in various ways.

The last time I was doing big-time data cleaning, it was 300,000 entries (file definitions and characteristics between two environments) and it was on the mainframe. We used Rexx to extract the file definitions from two sources, compare them, sort the resultant lists of differences, and build the JCL to fix them.

I'm not likely to go back there again. I just need a slightly more advanced syntax than I currently have. I do wildcards, for instance, but not much more.

So if I am sitting here with a Vista laptop, what do I do to learn and use perl? (Or Python - I don't want to get into that particular religious war.) Does it run natively in a command prompt, or do I need to install an application? Is it inside my Office applications?

How do I get started, basically?

#73 ::: Stephan Brun ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2007, 05:54 AM:

I think we covered some of that on another thread. Let me check my brilliant memory. (Surreptitiously clicks own VAB)
Ah, that discussion is here, Open thread 70

Quick summary: Perl with Cygwin, Standalone Perl for Windows/others with tutorial, Standalone Python with tutorial.

#74 ::: Stephan Brun ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2007, 06:05 AM:

I see I left one thing out of the summary: Python also comes with Cygwin.

#75 ::: DaveL ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2007, 09:12 AM:

#20: Word can be made to do backflips and juggle flaming batons, but finding the magic commands isn't easy.

There is a possibly (probably?) apocryphal story that Microsoft did a focus group of Word power-users to see what new features they wanted to see in the program; a top ten list was produced, and it was discovered that all ten suggestions were already in the product.

#76 ::: hooboy ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2007, 09:28 AM:

Jules #68: That's right, but I don't think you can achieve it in multiple sweeps of actual reformatting, because any proposed find strings (for world* and world!*) will select text beginning with an initial asterisk and go until it finds the matching ending asterisk, which could be multiple asterisks later and would lead to wonky underlining all over the place.

So I think in Word one would have to standardize all instances, by moving the asterisk to the appropriate position at the end of the underlined text, and then perform only one Find/Replace with reformatting. Find/Replace would be pretty powerful if they could add logical operators, or at the very least permit the "zero or more" as you indicate. Maybe a macro could do it.

#77 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2007, 09:47 AM:

Spherical Time @ 65... Italics are used for emphasis and words in non-English languages, but also to indicate thoughts, both internal and communicative.

Or they can indicate that you're a Bene Gesserit using the Voice. Or you're a human being whose body has been taken over by an alien from Outer Space.

#78 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2007, 10:09 AM:

At Locus, bold + italics is used for movie titles (see p. 11 of the current issue: Maltese Falcon).

As for AVG, I've been using it since a Norton update became unworkable. The only time it gives me trouble is when I'm downloading updates, then doing an antivirus check. The download doesn't usually take long, even on my creaky machine, but if I don't exit quickly after that it will start to download again. Meanwhile, the antivirus check starts *automatically*, and I have to put it on Pause in order to get offline, delete unwanted messages, then leave Juno altogether. Since my machine is so old and slow, every now and then trying to do all this almost simultaneously will make it crash. Otherwise, it's just a nuisance.

#79 ::: Liam-668 ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2007, 10:12 AM:

I'm looking at the responses here and I think I'm missing a bit of information. What format is the original manuscript in? I spend a good chunk of my on-duty time converting résumés into something readable by MS Access, so I do a lot of text stripping and flipping and reformatting. Is the manuscript file originally a .doc file or is it a .txt file? If a text file, you're in trouble, since there's no formatting in the original. If a .doc file, the search/replace is cool, followed by resaving the file in text format. One other thing to consider is what program is importing your text file and if it differentiates between Word text files and DOS text files, because they are ever so slightly different, and Word lacks a DOS text save option. "Plain Text," is NOT DOS text; I found this out the hard way. End of file characters have caused me no end of headaches at work, and most of what I've been doing is converting .doc files for database usage. Thanks to Joel Spolsky for setting me straight about the nonexistence of "simple" text.

#80 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2007, 10:38 AM:

#67: abi, you planted a bookbinding brainworm in me, perhaps I can return the favor.


Impatient Perl is about 130 pages, is available free in electronic format, and can be purchased through Lulu if you want a bound (though, not nearly as nicely as you'd do it) copy.

#81 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2007, 10:41 AM:

So, I actually tried to use the MS-Word Autoformat conversion to conver _text_ to text. It did that part nicely.

Problem is it appears to want to convert my scene breaks, indicated by three asterisks "***", into some kind of special character that is the width of the page.

And I think it stripped out my blank lines. Stuff like "Chapter 2" would have a blank line before and after it. And after the Autoformat, they appear to have disappeared.

I unselected pretty much everything I could unselect in the Autoformat menu. Is there some other place I can disable these unwanted conversions?

#82 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2007, 10:44 AM:

"Plain Text," is NOT DOS text

That's news to me. I've never had a problem with saving text as a text file in Word. In fact, I frequently save it that way.

#83 ::: Neil in Chicago ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2007, 11:33 AM:

Getting back to the original question, and definitely away from covert perl --
As already said, there are basically two ways to handle this, with search&replace, and with auto-format.
Since there may be extraneous asterisks, I go for search&replace, one-by-one.
That is, search&replace with Wildcards. There are effectively two different sets of codes &c. (With the gotcha that when you click any of the other dropdowns or boxes in the search&replace, the cursor jumps back to the search, out of replace.)

So I go with Wildcards, search for
replace with
(format underline, or whatever)

No one has yet mentioned the wonderful things which can be searched for in the regular search, however.
If you're diligent enough in hunting "special characters" or some such in Help, you can find the following list (which I have a saved copy of, since it's too frigging hard to re-locate):

To specify Type
Paragraph mark () ^p
Tab character () ^t
Annotation mark ^a
ANSI or ASCII characters ^0nnn, where nnn is the character code
Any character ^?
Any digit ^#
Any letter ^$
Caret character ^^
Clipboard contents ^c
Contents of the Find What box ^&
Endnote mark ^e
Field ^d
Footnote mark ^f
Graphic ^g

To specify Type
Column break () ^n
Line break () ^l
Manual page break () ^m
Section break () ^b

Hyphens and spaces
To specify Type
Em dash ^+
En dash ^=
Nonbreaking space () ^s
Nonbreaking hyphen () ^~
Optional hyphen () ^-
White space ^w

#84 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2007, 11:48 AM:

Spherical Time: Jules is right: italics to indicate internal monolog is a convention in every genre I've read (not universal in every genre, but present in every genre). The other things you mentioned -- bold for magical speech, all caps for multiples -- I have never seen that I recall, though I imagine they could be used quite handily by a writer who wanted to do them that way. Mostly, aside from italics used for all the things you mentioned (was that last thing telepathic communication), authors establish the usage they want if they feel the need for typographical distinction. For one example, Terry Pratchett uses all caps for Death's communication. Personally, I kind of dislike italics used for more than one sentence at a time. I generally like the distinctions between different types of speech to be made by context rather than typography or even tags, when possible.

#85 ::: Lenny Bailes ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2007, 11:54 AM:

In re Graydon's comparisons link, I notice that the free Avira Antivir is at the top of the list in their February 2007 ratings.

Every time this topic comes around, I always recommend Antivir, which I've used as a replacement for Norton for about five years.

The last version of Norton that I'd ever install (in terms of application bugginess and memory footprint) is 2003. I still have 2001 running on one OS partition. It uses the same pattern updates as the newer, clunkier versions, with none of the warts they seem to have. I don't have an opinion on Trend, other than to give them some praise for continuing to maintain their free, online Housecall website. (The European version in that link is better than the U.S. one, with its ability to run from any web browser, not just Internet Explorer.)

#86 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2007, 12:06 PM:

Neil in Chicago

One of the things I like about Word is that I can do search and replace on things like tabs and paragraphs. (I'm still using Word 6/Office 4.2, in Win98. It works fine, although the compatibility with later versions and graphics other than BMP and GIF is, um, sucky. Hey, I paid real money for it!)

#87 ::: Jonathan Cohen ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2007, 05:51 PM:

I tried to write the most inefficient Perl script that would do the job, and wound up with something that used Text::Balanced to find the asterisks and Win32::OLE to turn the text into a Word document with italics. Windows automation is just ugly.

#88 ::: Aconite ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2007, 09:05 PM:

Thanks to those who kindly supplied me with requested info.

Lucy Kemnitzer: OTOH, different fonts to indicate different characters, done well, can add layers to characterization. I'm thinking particularly of Delirium's in the Sandman graphic novels, though of course graphic novels are more visually-oriented than plain text. I don't "hear" words when I read, though, so for me, all reading is an almost exclusively visual experience.

#89 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2007, 09:57 AM:


Would you be willing to email me that script by chance?

#90 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2007, 10:06 AM:

Hm, so, a double carriage return in a text document gets AutoFormated in MS Word into a single carriage return.

That solves the line break problem.

I still can't figure out what to do about the three asterisk thing, which I really want to translate into three asterisks centered horizontally.

And if there's a code to force a hard page return, that would be cool too.

#91 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2007, 10:57 AM:

Greg @ 90

Try shift-return. It usually works. (iIf you have the hidden characters turned on - I do - it echoes as the little arrow on the key, rather than a paragraph mark.)

Also, you can turn off some of the autoformatting and autocorrecting, if you don't want it telling you what it thinks you mean.

#92 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2007, 06:22 PM:

#32 Sternel: Thank you! That was the trick that did the trick.

#65: I'm not so sure. Italics are widely used to indicate interior thoughts in non-SF as well. As for the others, I've seen all of those things done, but not regularly enough to call them established conventions.

#79: The original manuscript was a text file. Since pure text files don't include italic or underlined text, the author had indicated that kind of text by *framing it with asterisks*, a common convention in all-ASCII communication. I had opened the file in Word and was reformatting it into something a copyeditor would be more comfortable with, a task which included converting *passages like this* into properly underscored passages. I'm not sure what you mean when you say "if a text file, you're in trouble." I know that ASCII text doesn't preserve underscores and italics, but that's irrelevant; my aim wasn't to embed formatting information into an ASCII file, but to create a printed document for an old-fashioned copyeditor to mark up.

The reason I decided to ask the assembled problem-solvers of the fluorosphere is that I've been stumped by this problem before, and spent a lot of time making such changes manually. I'm glad I asked; I've learned a ton of useful stuff from this thread and I'll definitely consult it the next time I have problems of this sort.

#93 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2007, 06:40 PM:

Lucy, Pratchett actually uses small caps for Death's speech, not all caps. (Or maybe he uses all caps in his manuscripts, and his publishers do the sensible thing and set them as small caps.)

This isn't a trivial distinction. One of the principles of typographical design is that a block of text should have a uniform grayish tone when seen from a distance. (This property is called, confusingly, "color".) Chunks of all caps, or bold, stand out from the gray like raisins in oatmeal, and distract the reader. (Assuming that the reader has the refined visual sensibilities of a graphic designer or typographer. I suspect most actual readers are perfectly happy not noticing any of this.) And long strings of regular numerals, which is why many designers use lower-case numerals.

Other things that detract from even typographic color are double-spacing after punctuation, and "rivers" (when spaces line up vertically across two or more lines -- the more lines, the worse).

#94 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2007, 08:14 PM:

Avram (93): Interesting that you should mention lower-case numerals as a sometimes-desirable thing. I *hate* lower-case numerals. Hate, hate, hate. I find them horribly disconcerting and distracting. The only thing worse is whatever font that is where the ones (1) look like capital 'I's.

Why, yes, I am opinionated. Why do you ask?

#95 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2007, 08:16 PM:

To go with Neil in Chicago's list of special characters, here's the keyboard shortcuts for inserting them (from Word 6; YMMV):

To insert Press
A line break . . . . . . SHIFT+ENTER
A page break . . . . . . CTRL+ENTER
A column break . . . . . CTRL+SHIFT+ENTER
An optional hyphen . . . CTRL+HYPHEN
A nonbreaking hyphen . . CTRL+SHIFT+HYPHEN
A nonbreaking space . . CTRL+SHIFT+SPACEBAR
A copyright symbol . . . ALT+CTRL+C
A registered trademark symbol . . ALT+CTRL+R
A trademark symbol . . . ALT+CTRL+T
An ellipsis . . . . . . ALT+CTRL+period
A single left quote . . CTRL+`,`
A single right quote . . CTRL+','
A double left quote . . CTRL+`,"
A double right quote . . CTRL+',"

#96 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2007, 09:14 PM:

Avram, #93: "One of the principles of typographical design is that a block of text should have a uniform grayish tone when seen from a distance." You're right, but you're going to confuse some people by putting it that way.

The principle is that blocks of type should be themselves defined by relative uniformity of color, not that all the text on a page or in a work should be of uniform color. In other words, if on a magazine page the body text is in one typeface and the inset sidebar is in another, the two typefaces should have "colors" clearly distinct from one another.

#97 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2007, 03:14 AM:

Mary Aileen #94: I *hate* lower-case numerals.

Wow, really? I find them kind of beautiful.

There's a great story in Tales of the Rue Broca by Pierre Gripari (which, if pressed, I might call my Favorite Book Ever) in which a little devil from hell who just wants to be good has to take a number of tests to be admitted into heaven as an angel. In the math test he has to "find a three-digit number divisible by three which has blue eyes and one leg shorter than the other." After writing down as many three-digit numbers divisible by three as he can think of, he notices that 189, in lower-case numbers, appears to have a belly, a head, and two legs, one shorter than the other, so he draws in the eyes (and the rest of the face), and the number jumps up off the page and limps around happily for a moment before running away.

God, I love that book.

#98 ::: Spherical Time ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2007, 03:14 PM:

Yarg. I'm here. Thanks for all the other answers.

#69, Jules: Or this. Do you have examples of those last two?

The two that come most readily to mind are Julian May's Galactic Milieu series and Michelle West's Hunter's Oath and The Sun Sword series, both which use this convention, or something very similar to it. There was another one that I was thinking of when I wrote the original post, but it escapes me now.

#99 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2007, 08:15 PM:

"Rivers!" I never knew that had a name! They don't always go in a vertical line for me, sometimes they slant or wiggle a bit.

#100 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2007, 08:19 PM:

ethan (97): Early on, I seem to have imprinted on the notion that numbers should all be the same size. Lower-case numbers are thus Just Wrong. It's a personal idiosycrasy (one of many).

#101 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2007, 10:01 PM:

Lower-case numbers - do you mean 'old style'? (The modern ones, where they're all the same height and fit between the same lines as upper-case letters, are 'lining numbers', IIRC.)

#102 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2007, 10:05 PM:

marilee (#99) yes, the 'rivers' often look like a river/creek/stream/brook/burn does on a map; rather wriggly.
Something in our human eye-brain information processing system will link certain things in patterns. It seems to work with pictures & events too, hence "Story is a force of nature" (TNH)

#103 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2007, 10:32 PM:

thanks, Patrick. And I've got a lot of tricks for removing stray stuff from Word documents.... I pull excel files into Filemaker, combine fields with Quark tags, the output the text files into word and remove tabs/turn tabs into hard returns to make the files something that layout artists can deal with without handling every line of text.

Then again, as opposed to our hosts, I'm dealing with text that has a lot of the same elements (fields) because I do trade show directories, most often directories of exhibitors at a trade show.

#104 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2007, 04:43 PM:

Speaking of fonts and such, yesterday's WashPost Arts section reviewed a show that included a new font. I scanned it because they don't use it in the online version. The light part on the center right was there when I turned the page.

#105 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2007, 04:46 PM:

Oh, Marilee, make it stop! Make the bad font go away.

#106 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2007, 05:07 PM:

Jeez, they call that 'ransom note'? There are fonts out there that are closer to 'ransom note' than that. (Also, that may get them letters from lawyers, because the parts are from stuff that's copyrighted, and Monotype and Linotype are zealous.)

#107 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2007, 07:02 PM:

Holy crap, that's an awful font. Ay yi yi.

#108 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2007, 10:35 PM:

I would not have expected typography to make me start to feel physically unwell. Somehow, that thing Marilee posted managed it.

#109 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2007, 08:04 AM:

mmm ... one suspects one has been épatered

#110 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2007, 08:10 AM:

Bourgeois? Moi?

#111 ::: Laurence ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2007, 11:17 AM:

Tales of the Rue Broca

Man, I remember that book! It was weird.

#112 ::: murgatroyd ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2007, 03:30 PM:

Looping back to an earlier part of the thread, thank you, thank you, Adrienne @#16, for the Arovax link.

My employer, who had installed Norton on my office system, has gone on vacation. The Norton subscription service promptly expired and, lacking her credit card, I can't renew. Lo and behold, every time I tried to launch MS Word, it would hang (didn't even show up on Task Manager as running) and I had to hold down the power button to shut off the machine.

The minute I uninstalled Norton, Word started working again.

I am ever so glad to be rid of it. There was nothing more annoying than waiting for Norton to scan a Word document I wanted to open, even if I had just closed it 5 minutes ago.

Now maybe my hair will start to grow back again!

#113 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2007, 07:43 PM:

Serge @17: I'm not sure why AVG causes the download of emails into Outlook to flag each and every message with the attachment symbol, but we can live with that.

I think I originally had something like that. The attachment is a message telling you that the email has been scanned by AVG? Try this:

  • From the Control Center, go Menu > View > Components > E-Mail scanner. It's checked; selecting it does not uncheck it, instead, it brings up an 'E-mail Scanner' dialog.
  • Click on the 'Configure' button. This brings up another dialog, 'Test Options - E-mail Scanner'.
  • Under the 'E-mail scanning' section, uncheck 'Certify mail' for both incoming and outgoing mail.
I think that had been the answer when I dealt with that problem. 'Certify mail' meant tack a message on the post indicating that it had been scanned for viruses.

#114 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2007, 08:20 PM:

Thanks to everyone, by the way, who's added a lot of useful information to this thread.
I'm going to be coming back and checking things out and copying stuff for reference a lot. All this, with great humour, web-polite discussions in depth & poetry too! Who needs a pony?

#115 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2007, 06:27 PM:

Niall @ 110 - Louise Bourgeois, perhaps? <g>

Also echoing Epacris & the others who've said thank you for all the helpful advice and feedback, not just on this thread, but throughout the interwoven yarns of the fluorosphere.

#116 ::: Serge sees SPAM ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2010, 10:03 AM:

Ba-da-bing! Bidang!

#117 ::: Raphael sees spam ::: (view all by) ::: December 28, 2010, 01:09 PM:


#118 ::: Mary Aileen sees failed spam ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2011, 07:44 PM:

Generic post, commercial name, no URL at all.

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