Clean up Word, Excel, Visio and AutoCAD files with TransTools
At first glance, TransTools didn’t look like the most promising of programs. A suite "designed to help translators in various situations"? It would probably be for specialists only, and so expensive that big corporations would think twice -- right?
But wait. The package is really just about cleaning up poor formatting -- an OCR’ed document, say -- so could be useful for anyone. It works with Word, Excel, Visio and AutoCAD documents. And while there is a commercial version, the base edition is free for personal use? Now that’s much more interesting.
TransTools installed easily, with no hassles. It seems to work just about anywhere -- Windows 2000 or later, with separate Office add-ins for 2003 and earlier, 2007 and later, 32 or 64-bit -- and correctly added itself to our Word and Excel 2013 ribbons.
While this sounds potentially complicated, it’s no more difficult to use than any other Word feature. For a first cleanup you simply click the Reformat tab, check boxes for whatever action you’d like to perform, and click Run. The results appear right away.
TransTools also includes a separate "Remove Excessive Spaces" option, scanning for multiple spaces and replacing them according to your requirements (with a single space, tab, new line or paragraph).
Smaller corrective options include a "Remove Highlight" tool, which can strip out highlights in a particular color. The Non-breaking Space Checker does what its name suggests, scanning your document to ensure any non-breaking spaces are used correctly. Of course all these actions can apply to the entire active document, or just your selected text.
The Excel add-in has one or two of these basic formatting tools, in particular to remove highlighting and excessive spacing. But generally it focuses on more spreadsheet-specific tools. The Cell Resize Wizard resizes cells as required to make text fully visible, for instance, while the Translation > Extract… tool extracts all unique text and displays it in a separate workbook.
While we didn’t try them, it seems that TransTools for Visio and AutoCAD work like a stripped down version of the Excel add-in, extracting text from the document, then allowing you to merge it back -- with any translations or modifications -- at some later point.
TransTools may not be a package you’ll use every day, but if you ever need to work with a poorly-formatted Word document then it could save you a lot of time and hassle. Go get your own copy immediately.