The Open Desk

Margie Beilharz

Freelance editor and writer in science, environment, education, health


  • Book review: ‘Wedderburn’ by Maryrose Cuskelly

    Maryrose Cuskelly has chosen a difficult topic for this book: the murders in late 2014 of Greg Holmes and Greg’s mother and stepfather, Mary and Peter Lockhart. The killer was Ian Jamieson – a farming neighbour and former friend of Peter Lockhart’s. Their farms were south of Wedderburn in central Victoria, and the rural setting…

  • Opening your Word document in multiple windows

    Opening your Word document in multiple windows

    It can be really useful to look at your Word document in two separate, independent windows. And it’s very simple, but unless you’ve played around with the menu options you may not be aware of it. To see how it works, first open up a Word document. On my PC, I then go to the…

  • Summarising tracked changes in Word

    Summarising tracked changes in Word

    A few months ago, I wrote about having trouble getting an author to see my tracked changes in Word (and showed a solution for that problem in PDFs). Since then, I’ve come across some solutions in Word too. I wanted my client to see my tracked edits, but they seemed to not see the edits…

  • Transcribing interviews

    The time-consuming task of transcribing can be speeded up with technology or by outsourcing – as long as, in both cases, the quality is good. Rachel Smith (of jobs list service Rachel’s List), shared her interviewing and transcribing process in a blog post in 2017. She explains the services she uses for recording interviews and…

  • Making a PDF more readable with bookmarks

    Making a PDF more readable with bookmarks

    Let’s say you’ve created or edited a report – it’s all nicely laid out and you will be saving it as a PDF file. Before you do, take some time to think about PDF bookmarks. With a bit of forethought, you can make the document much more user-friendly than a long, unstructured PDF. For one…

  • Search all your open browser tabs or bookmarked pages

    You’ll thank me for this one! As we know, writing and editing can involve checking a lot of facts, and the number of open tabs on my browser window can quickly spiral out of control. Then it can be hard to remember which of the open pages had a particular piece of information or topic.…

  • Google My Business

    Have you noticed that when you google a search term you’ll often get a box with a summary of relevant information on the right of the screen? This is the knowledge graph (like this one here for editor and author Sophie Cunningham), which contains information grabbed from various sources on the internet.

  • Post to your blog directly from Word

    I’m insanely pleased to have discovered this, even though I don’t actually blog very often. But I could have used it in jobs I’ve had in the past, and may even be tempted to blog more now! Did you know you can post to a blog directly from Microsoft Word? This is exciting for a…

  • Book review: Make grammar great again

    What do you do when Donald Trump becomes president of the United States? Stop watching the news? Book a flight into space? Hope the next four years will pass really quickly? Melbourne copyeditor Meredith Forrester took a more proactive approach. Irritated by the President’s language-mangling tweets, she took it upon herself to respond with corrections.

  • Showing off your mark-up in PDFs

    This tip was written for the May 2018 Editors Victoria newsletter. One of the funny things about working as a freelance editor is that often you are not sure how familiar your author or client is with some of the software and techniques we tend to take for granted. Even editors vary in how familiar…