One of the best editing tools I've found in Microsoft word has to be the "find" button. I can't imagine revising without this tool. In my most recent revisions of Letters Never Sent, the tool has become even more handy than I'd ever thought before.
I was informed my WIP had an over-abundance of adjectives and adverbs and I put the "find" button to use to get this issue dealt with. The simplest search I could think of was an "-ly" search. No, not all adjectives end in -ly, but many of them do. When the search stopped I nearly fainted: 2550 "ly's" in my manuscript.
Then I remembered my main character's name is Lily, so her name took a huge chunk off that number from the get-go. Then there are other words like "only" or "finally" that often can't be replaced. Still, that left a plethora of -ly words for me to wade through. Well, I did it. And guess what? It took about two days, but I think it strengthened my manuscript. I improved my verbs and slashed tons of unnecessary adjectives (550 to be exact).
Some other recent word searches I've done are "made their way" or "make their way." I realized my characters never just walked anywhere. Oh no. They "made their way" everywhere they went. Talk about annoying! I did a search for "babe" and "baby" because my terms of endearment were a bit too frequent. I did a search for "!" because yes, my characters were yelling a little too often.
Editing with the find button can be time consuming. But I think the effort is fantastic for improving your writing.
What searches have helped improve your manuscript? Or what words do you know you use WAY TOO MUCH?