Tips and Error Fixing When Using the Save As DAISY Word Plugin

I’ve been using the Save As DAISY Word plugin a lot lately, and while the documentation is pretty good, there are some bugs and other things that pop up. Since the plugin is no longer under development, I thought I would document here some of the workarounds and ways to fix errors caused by existing bugs.

Why Use the Word Plugin?

I covered the answer in general terms in my previous post about creating DAISY books, but to be more explicit, the plugin supports the following things:

  • footnotes and endnotes
  • image descriptions (added to description, not title)
  • image captions
  • table of contents
  • page numbers
  • complex layout, with page numbers if using manual numbering

While the OpenOffice version supports some of these features, both the plugin and the version of OpenOffice is becoming obsolete faster than the Word version (which has been ported to Word 2013), and definitely doesn’t support them all.

Follow the Guidelines

The DAISYpedia has a text mark-up guide for the Save As DAISY plugin, and to make sure your file will convert properly, please follow them. Many of the guidelines overlap with the general document editing guidelines I posted about, but the DAISYpedia one is specific to the Word plugin and includes lots of great tips on its own, like Word shortcut keys.

Some things specific to editing with the plugin:

  • always need to “Import Styles” from the Accessibility tab
  • use appropriate styles for Abbreviations and Acronyms
  • avoid custom numbering
  • no multi-column layout (see below for more information)
  • use image (after) or table (before) caption styles as needed
  • automatic table of contents can be used only with Bodymatter style
  • use the Prod(note) style for producer’s notes as necessary

Page Numbers

Although the guide tells you to remove all headers and footers, after clearing them, you can insert page numbers in the headers.

Inserting the page numbers in the header allows you to use the “Automatic” page numbers option.

However, there is a bug in the plugin where it interprets all breaks (section, page, column) to mean the start of a new page. This bug means that the plugin does not simply take the page number you see in the header, but has its own way of interpreting where a new page starts.

Generally, I use this method anyway, because it means not having to manually insert page numbers, and in most of the books I work with, the text only requires two columns for the index, where page numbering no longer really matters.

Custom page numbering will not work, in that the converter will always mark your first page as page 1.

Lastly, page numbers in the converted DAISY XML will show up after the first line or two if the page begins with a table or list. So, always have an empty paragraph at the top of the page if the page starts with a table or any kind of list (bullet or numbered).

Page Numbers for Different Sections

It happens all the time that the front matter of a book uses one type of numbering, such as lowercase roman numeral, then the body matter uses (regular) Arabic numbers.

Use a section (next page) break, instead of a page break just before the body matter starts, and mark it with the Bodymatter(DAISY) style. The converted will happily change the page numbering from lowercase roman to Arabic numbers.

However, as mentioned already, do not start at a custom number. The converter will start at page 1 for each matter section.

Page Increment Bug

One of the bugs I’ve discovered in the plugin is that sometimes the page numbering randomly begins to match the ID number, rather than continue the page numbering.

For example:

page ID page number
10 vii
11 1
12 2
13 13

I have also not been able to find a pattern in when or where the page number begins to match the page ID.

To easily fix this issue (because no one wants to edit them all manually), one option is to use:

The Emmet plugin has an increment/decrement number feature.

So simply:

  1. Copy and paste the relevant part of the DAISY book after conversion.
  2. Find all instance of </pagenum>.
  3. Press the left arrow so that your cursor ends up at the beginning of all instances.
  4. Ctrl+Shift+Left to select all instances of the page numbers.
  5. Use Ctrl+Up or Ctrl+Down and press the Up or Down key as many times as necessary to change the page numbers to the correct number.

Be patient with the program if you’ve selected a lot of text, as it’s trying to adjust all the numbers you selected.

Need Sections or Multi-Column Layout

If you need to use section breaks, especially the section (continuous) break, or you need multi-column layout, then you will need to manually enter the page numbers. You can still do this in the header, but you need to manually type them and apply the Page Number(DAISY) style to the page number (you can change the colours and such of the style if you like) for each page.

Endnote Bug: Missing First Endnote

Whenever a document with endnotes is converted to DAISY XML, the resulting DTBook will always have the first endnote marker, but be missing the actual note. So anytime you are working with endnotes, just before converting, add a blank endnote near the beginning of your document (so that you can easily find it). After conversion, delete the reference to “endnote-0” that is near the beginning.

Alright, I think that’s it. Will update this post if I find anymore, but I really hope not to have to!

Author: Cynthia

Technologist, Librarian, Metadata and Technical Services expert, Educator, Mentor, Web Developer, UXer, Accessibility Advocate, Documentarian

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