The PERRLA Add-in interacts with Microsoft Word using their updated tools called Content Controls.
What is a Content Control?
Content Controls are like digital boxes that allow PERRLA to insert text into your Word document.
The two most common Content Controls are for References and Citations. When you add a Reference or a Citation to your paper, PERRLA adds it into the text inside a Content Control box. This allows PERRLA to find, organize, and update those items as you keep typing.
For instance, by putting the References inside a Content Control, we are able to keep the references sorted alphabetically in your papers.
Content Controls look like normal text most of the time. But, if you put your cursor inside a Content Control, you'll be able to see it as a blue or grey outlined box (it looks like a solid grey box if you just hover over it).
Do I need to do anything special with Content Controls?
There's two things you'll want to know when working with text inside a Content Control.
First, you can't edit the text inside Content Controls. This is for two reasons: it keeps your format specific content correctly formatted & it's part of how Word works.
If you are trying to place your cursor beside a content control (like a citation), if the cursor is inside the Content Control you'll be able to see the blue/grey box and you won't be able to type. You can move your cursor outside of the Content Control using the left or right arrow keys on your keyboard. Once the blue/grey box disappears, you can start typing again.
Second, Content Controls can be moved around your paper. Just like an object or text, you can still move Content Controls around your paper by either cutting & pasting them or by dragging them with their handle.
Editing the content inside a Content Control
There are times when it may be necessary to edit the content inside a Content Control.
We recommend that you use PERRLA's features to edit the content of a Reference or Citation. You can find instructions on how to do that here.
However, there may be times when you want to break a Content Control and edit its content directly. One example is if you are trying to join two citations into a single citation. (This functionality has actually now been added to PERRLA.)
You can remove the Content Control box but leave its content by right-clicking the Content Control and selecting Remove Content Control.
If you do this, PERRLA will no longer be able to find or work with that content. So be sure you won't need to update it again in the future.