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Step 4: Convert your text into a plain text file

The Lexile Analyzer requires a plain text document file (*.txt file ending) with ASCII character encoding. A plain text file uses a very basic character set and contains no formatting or images. Word processing files can be converted into plain text through the Save As... function. Plain text files open in Notepad on Windows, and in TextEdit on a Macintosh.

If your plain text file is not in the correct format, the Lexile Analyzer will either return a measure after replacing unrecognizable characters, or not be able to measure the file until you manually remove or replace these characters. In both cases, a report of the unrecognizable characters will be displayed to you.

Here are the procedures for saving common types of source files:

The Lexile Analyzer cannot currently measure Microsoft Word, PDF, HTML, or image files such as JPGs or GIFs. If you submit files of a different format, you will not receive a Lexile measure.
 

Converting from Microsoft Word on Windows

If your document is in Microsoft Word for Windows, then follow this procedure:

  1. With your document open, select Save As... from the File menu.
  2. In the Save as type drop-down box, select Plain Text (*.txt).
  3. Click the Save button and a File Conversion window opens:
    File conversion example
     
  4. Click the Other encoding radio button and select US-ASCII from the list of formats to the right.
  5. Also check Allow character substitution.
  6. Click the OK button.

You have saved your document in the plain text format for the Lexile Analyzer.

It is advisable to open your plain text document in order to check it for conversion errors. Pay attention to special characters such as quotation marks, apostrophes, ellipses, or accented characters. Also, ensure that em-dashes and en-dashes have appropriate spacing on either side. They will be converted to hyphens, which can make the Lexile Analyzer interpret the two words on either side of an em-dash as a single hyphenated word unless there are spaces on either side of the hyphen.
 

Converting from Microsoft Word on Macintosh

If your document is in Microsoft Word for Mac, then follow this procedure:

  1. With your document open, select Save As... from the File menu.
  2. In the Save as type drop-down box, select Text Only or Plain Text (*.txt).Click the Save button.
  3. If this warning box appears, click Yes to save the file and disregard the remainder of this procedure:
    Macintosh save-as
     
  4. Otherwise, a File Conversion window opens:

     
  5. Click the MS-DOS radio button.
  6. Also check Allow character substitution.
  7. Click the OK button.

You have saved your document in the plain text format for the Lexile Analyzer.

It is advisable to open your plain text document to check it for conversion errors. Pay attention to special characters such as quotation marks, apostrophes, ellipses, or accented characters.  Also, ensure that em-dashes and en-dashes have appropriate spacing on either side. They will be converted to hyphens, which can make the Lexile Analyzer interpret the two words on either side of an em-dash as a single hyphenated word unless there are spaces on either side of the hyphen.

Converting text copied from other sources (Web sites, etc.)

When you copy and paste text from other sources -- such as Web sites, PDFs, or word processing documents -- into a Notepad or TextEdit plain text file, this file many not always be in the correct format for the Lexile Analyzer.

You should either copy and paste into a Microsoft Word document and then follow the procedure above for Windows or Macintosh, or right-click your plain text file, open it in Microsoft Word, and follow the appropriate procedure above.

>> Go on to Step 5: Analyze your text and get results

<< Go back to Step 3: Type or scan your text