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I would like my document as I am writing it to be independent of software layouts as I think it would be a better decision to make at the end of the process. What would be good ways to denote stylistic notes within the text for later use. For example say I wanted to publish this text you are reading and I wanted for there to be a quick tip box on the right margin of the page. How would I denote this, something like this:

Margin-Right:

Quick Tip Box "This is my Quick Tip Box"

What are some different ways to achieve this during the initial stages of writing.

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Publishers, at least of technical and how-to guides, typically provide you with a template with specific styles for various call outs, etc. As you work, you choose the correct style. The document looks nothing like the finished product, but it does have the styles designated for easy replacement. You could create your own MS styles. Here's a page that describes how the process works: wiley.com/WileyCDA/Section/id-301879.html –  Lynn Beighley Apr 15 '11 at 2:22
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up vote 5 down vote accepted

When I want to leave formatting notes throughout the page, I use Microsoft Word's comment feature. I'll leave notes that something should be formatted as a sign, or that something should be formatted as a letter or email or IM. This way its out of the way of the main text, but it's still noticeable and won't be missed when you go through at the end.

It's also how we're asked to do it for publishers as well. We're asked to mark things like trademarks, letters, email, IMs, etc. using the comment feature so that the ones that do the formatting at the end of the process know what needs to be done.

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I've never been asked by a publisher to use comments to mark formatting. Every publisher I've worked with has provided templates with specific styling for such things. –  Lynn Beighley Apr 15 '11 at 2:14
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The publishers I work with all have people they've hired to do all of the formatting work in the books. It's easier for them to have their editors point it out and have the formatters make sure it's formatted correctly instead of having editors junk it up. =P –  Ralph Gallagher Apr 15 '11 at 3:38
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Likely the difference is that with the tech books I've written there's such a lot of formatting, and of different types, that it is better addressed by having multiple styles in the initial document. I wish I could get by with comments! –  Lynn Beighley Apr 15 '11 at 12:20
    
I do fiction editing, not technical, so that's the big difference. Fiction has very little formatting to do compared to tech books. –  Ralph Gallagher Apr 15 '11 at 14:37
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I highlight that sort of thing. Quick, easy, impossible to miss. When I'm finished, I go back through and address them.

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You'd be surprised how many people miss things they've highlighted when they go through the manuscript again. –  Ralph Gallagher Apr 15 '11 at 0:40
    
I'm forced to address everything I've highlighted because, well, the book's in black and white. :) –  Lynn Beighley Apr 15 '11 at 0:59
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