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Saturday, December 14, 2013

A US Copy Editor's Perspective: When to Use Small Caps, When to Use All Caps

Small Caps

Per 16CMS 7.48, "Capitalizing an entire word or phrase for emphasis is rarely appropriate." Small caps are preferred here.

So when emphasizing words, as in yelling, small caps are the way to go. Say you want to apply small caps to the words "over my dead body." Select those words by positioning your cursor in front of the O in over and now highlight all four words by simultaneously holding down the Shift+Ctrl keys while moving toward the Y in body via the right arrow key. Release all keys and the highlighting should remain. Then, if using MSWord 2010, while in the Home menu mode, click on the arrow found in the lower right-hand corner of the Font portion. Midway under Effects, you'll find a selection of goodies, such as the "Small caps" offering. Click that box. Then click OK.

All Caps

Chicago prefers all caps for era designations (such as AD or BC, per 16CMS 9.35), for the two-letter postal codes regarding state designations (TX for Texas, as an example, per 16CMS 10.28), for acronyms and initials (per 16CMS 10.6), and other various usages.

Of course all caps can be done manually by toggling on the CapsLk key and typing your intended words. Or you can go through the instructions above for small caps and click instead the "All caps" option found just below the "Small caps" one.

"If your vocation isn’t a vacation, then quit, leap, change careers."

Denise Barker, Author, Blogger, Copy Editor
Books that Build Character(s)

What lies behind you and what lies in front of you pales in comparison to what lies inside of you. Ralph Waldo Emerson
When you give someone a book, you don’t give him just paper, ink, and glue.  You give him the possibility of a whole new life. Christopher Morley
The best inheritance you can leave your kids is an example of how to live a full and meaningful life. Dan Zadra

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