Validator Messages


Avoiding Style Bloat

Suppose Georgette came to you and said, “You can drive my Ferrari for as long as you want and as far as you want.” Would you go out and buy a Ferrari? No, you’d use Georgette’s Ferrari. (I don’t know anyone named Georgette and worse I don’t know anyone who owns a Ferrari, but that’s…


Best Practices for Your Tesla and Your Templates

According to Wikipedia (as of November 27, 2016), a “best practice” is a method or technique that has been generally accepted as superior to any alternatives because it produces results that are superior to those achieved by other means… For example, the best practice for recharging your Tesla Model S is to plug it into…


Clearing Out Style Overrides and Unhealthy Partnerships

Today’s editors get paid to fix formatting, not just wording. In fact, I’ve been paid a princely sum to search and destroy formatting overrides over the years. (“Princely sum” in this case means I’ve been able to recoup a small portion of the massive losses I incurred while indexing books for underfunded publishers, but that’s another…


Avoiding Black Holes, Plague, Vampires, and Style Overrides

We’ve emphasized several times in this blog the headaches style overrides engender and how to purge them. Obviously, following the maxim “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” a better approach is to avoid style overrides altogether—the subject of this post. Generally speaking, if you apply formatting by clicking on the toolbar,…


Exposing Your Style Overrides

Previous posts in this blog have presented good arguments for using styles and equally good arguments for avoiding style overrides. The reality is, of course, that most documents include style overrides, and addressing them is a cost-benefit trade-off. Finding them, and then either eliminating or fixing them, requires effort that may not be worthwhile. One…


We Work So Hard to Make Our Word Processing Lives So Complicated

Of all the applications writers of non-fiction use (database programs, spreadsheets, statistical analysis, bibliographical software, etc.), word processors are arguably the most complex. Product designers spend hours and hours haggling over features to include or exclude, programmers agonize about how to write the optimal code, and forty years into the information age we have word…


How Styles Impact Your Career, Marriage, and Temperament

For the past few weeks we’ve been discussing what styles are and how they can help maintain your hands’ health. Let’s be honest: telling people they need to change behavior in order to protect their health isn’t very effective. Gambling, drugs, junk food, television, social media—all are appropriate in measured amounts, but destructive in excess….


Suffering Consequences in Style

Prior to a recent flight from Washington’s Reagan National Airport, I entered the gate area in Terminal B. The wall across from me was emblazoned with the following maxim: Health is everything This is difficult to deny. Without solid physical, mental, and emotional health, it’s difficult to get much done. (Although some unbelievably courageous and motivated…


Style Overrides: Seduction on the Ribbon

Enablers. They are everywhere. The drug dealers, the prescription writers, the person you send to the grocery store to buy “food” and comes back with a frozen pie full of toxic ingredients that you can’t pronounce. The problem with enablers is that they are fickle: when you hit bottom, will they be there for you,…


Distraction Test

Imagine going to the Louvre to see the Mona Lisa. You marvel at the model’s mysterious facial expression surrounded by a peaceful country scene, her hands folded serenely over a period armchair, and your traveling companion says, “I wonder what they use here to keep the floors so shiny?” If your formatting is too distracting,…