Bells and Whistles #4

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  • Bells and Whistles #4

    A PDF version of this article (with graphics) is available on my website. It provides some nice illustrations of the steps that I can only describe in words here on the board. The PDF file is not available through an index. You have to click the link or type in the address to get it:

    http://www.rolandstroud.com/FadeIn/F...Comparison.pdf

    ---------------------

    BELLS AND WHISTLES #4

    File Comparison

    A feature of many word processors and text editors is the ability to compare two versions of a document.

    This is an especially helpful feature when you have reworked a document slightly or moderately and you want to see the original document and the revised document in a combined form. It is sort of like seeing two documents side by side, but it is even better - because you have a single document that displays all the deletions and additions, and you can edit the combined document in whatever way you want.

    One of the two documents in the comparison is the base document, and the other document is compared to it. Logically, the older document is probably the base document (but it does not have to be). The newer document then reflects additions to and deletions from the older base document. These changes to the older document are then marked as such in the combination document.

    Here are two schemes for showing the changes.

    Scheme 1
    • Marks additions to the base document with a different font color.
    • Marks deletions from the base document with a different font color and with a <strikeout< through the text. (Sorry, the board does not have strikeout available, so I am indicating it with <angle quotes<.)
    Scheme 2
    • Marks deletions from the base with a different background color.
    • Marks additions to the base with a different background color.
    (The board does not have background colors, so I am going to use colors for the fonts and put them in bold. Use your imagination and pretend that you are looking at background colors.)
    EXAMPLE

    Let's suppose that your original file is just this paragraph:
    Code:
                                    BOSS
                   I like the improvement in your work.
    and you change it in a second version to:
    Code:
                                    BOSS
                   I am pleased with the improvement 
                   in your work.
    How do you go about comparing these two documents in Final Draft and in Fade In?

    Your goal is to create a combination document that shows deletions from and additions to the base document (which is presumably the old version). The question now is: Which document do I open first? Final Draft and Fade In handle this in opposite ways.

    Final Draft
    You open the old document first. Next, click Tools > Script Compare to open the new version. Final Draft then creates a combined document.

    Final Draft uses Scheme 1 from above. If a paragraph has any changes (additions or deletions), Final Draft marks these changes within the affected paragraph. Consequently the result is like the «Track Changes» feature in Microsoft Word. The combined document looks like this:
    Code:
                                    BOSS
                   I <like< am pleased with the improvement 
                   in your work.
    Fade In
    You open the new document first. Then you use Document > Compare to Previous to open the old version.
    SIDEBAR
    File comparison can be confusing until you have used the feature a few times, whether in Final Draft or Fade In. Do not be confused by the fact that Fade In and Final Draft open the two relevant files in opposite order. The two programs are really doing the same thing. Both are comparing File-2 against File-1. Final Draft is not clear about the relationship of the two files that are being compared. By contrast, Fade In tells you that you are comparing something (the open File-2) against a «previous» File-1. By the way, you can use a newer file as the «previous» file, if you want the newer version to be the base file.
    Fade In asks if you want to show «All Changes» or the «Additions Only». You probably want to see all the changes, so click «All Changes». Fade In creates a combined document.

    Fade In uses Scheme 2 (background colors) for displaying deletions and additions. Since the board does not support background colors, I have to use font colors instead, and I need to make them darker so that they display well. Every paragraph in the «previous» version that has undergone deletion (or partial deletion through revision) appears with a red background. Moreover, any revision to the paragraph causes the entire revised paragraph to appear in a new paragraph with a frog-green background. Likewise, any totally new paragraph appears with a frog-green background.

    The combined file looks likes this, with two paragraphs of dialogue. Again, imagine that you are looking at background colors, not font colors:
    Code:
                                    BOSS
                   I like the improvement in your work.
                   I am pleased with the improvement 
                   in your work.
    Editing the Combined Document

    Whether you are using Final Draft or Fade In, you can edit your combined document.

    Fade In
    You can easily identify paragraphs that have been deleted or revised, because they appear against a red background. If they have been revised, then a revised version appears as a separate paragraph against a green-frog background. You can delete and edit any of the text that you see, regardless of the color of the background.

    When you have finished editing, you probably want to get rid of all the red and green backgrounds. The easiest way to do this is to select all the text, even the text without a colored background. Then click Format > Highlighting > Highlight on the Main Menu.

    When you click the «Highlight» option, all of your selected text is highlighted with whatever color you have already chosen as your highlight color (often this is yellow). The particular color does not matter, because this highlighting is only temporary; it is just a step in getting rid of all highlighting.

    Select all your text again. Open the same menu with Format > Highlighting. Now uncheck the «Highlight» option. All the highlighting should disappear.

    You can then save the script under whatever name you want.

    Final Draft
    Perform the edits that you want to make. You can delete, edit, and add text in any way that you would like. The <deleted text< is still there - it is just red and has a strikeout through it.

    When you are finished with your editing, you need to get rid of the strikeout and the colored fonts.

    REMOVING STRIKEOUT. You can easily remove the strikeout. Select all your document text, then put strikeout lines through all of it (use Home > Strikeout icon). Next, with all the text still selected, click the strikeout icon again. That should remove all the strikeout from your words.

    REMOVING COLORED FONTS. Select all your text. Then click Format > Text Color and choose black.

    Save your script under whatever name you would like.

    ---------------------

    (* Tags: comicbent done_deal_pro donedealpro stroud bells whistles fade_in fadein fadeinpro fade_in_pro screenwriting software file_compare *)

    Roland Stroud
    [email protected]
    Follow me on Twitter @RolandRayStroud

    "The fact that you have seen professionals write poorly is no reason for you to imitate them." - ComicBent.

  • #2
    Re: Bells and Whistles #4

    Oh my God, this is so amazingly useful! You have no idea, ComicBent, how crazy I got using FD10 revision mode to try and compare versions with my producer. I had at least five emails back and forth with Final Draft help desk. Do you recommend saving the compared document immediately under a different name so that you can keep your base doc and new doc intact? Or does FD do that for you?

    Late Night Writer

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Bells and Whistles #4

      LateNightWriter ...

      My advice: Save your comparison file as soon as you create it, and then save it under a different name. That way you can tinker with one or the other. If you mess things up, you can always open the other copy.

      Of course, you can always just recreate a new combined file from the File-1 and File-2 that you used to create the first combined file (you should keep those versions until you truly no longer need them).

      Thank you for appreciating the article. I really do put a lot of work into these things. They will be available as references when questions come up.

      A word of advice, if you have not followed a particular issue in the past. I do not know if it happens in Final Draft 10, but in earlier versions people sometimes opened FD and discovered that their screenplay had mysteriously been zapped into a state of total corruption, so that it would not open. And the automatic backups either got zapped or a corrupt form got saved or all the automatic backup space got used up (I was never able to determine all of this with certainty, because people did not answer back reliably). In any case, periodically SAVE A PDF or SAVE A TEXT WITH LAYOUT version, so that you have something fairly recent to use. Do not rely on manually saving a Final Draft version somewhere.


      "The fact that you have seen professionals write poorly is no reason for you to imitate them." - ComicBent.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Bells and Whistles #4

        Thanks for the advice! I do, in fact, convert to PDF as soon as I finish working on a draft, and then I email both versions to myself. You cannot be too careful, especially with FD.

        Thanks again for all your help!

        Late Night Writer

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Bells and Whistles #4

          My advice is that you need to save a PDF or a text file every time that you have written a good chunk of material, because the crashes can wipe out the half-finished script that you have worked on for a couple of months.

          I have had several requests for help from people in the last few years when they suddenly found that their work had been wiped out. Unfortunately, I could do nothing, because those files are always completely corrupted.



          "The fact that you have seen professionals write poorly is no reason for you to imitate them." - ComicBent.

          Comment

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