The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #67222   Message #1127401
Posted By: JohnInKansas
01-Mar-04 - 09:50 PM
Thread Name: Tech: Alternatives to Office and Word
Subject: RE: Tech: Alternatives to Office and Word
clueless don -

If you're seeing odd breaks that don't make sense, my first suspicion would be that you're in "normal" view where the real format doesn't show up. The first thing to do is switch to "print layout" view, so that you actually see how the document is laid out, and turn on that & "view all" toggle, so that you can see if there may be some stray tabs, soft returns, extra spaces, etc., inserted somewhere. Even in this modern age, you do find people using tabs to indent rather than setting the paragraph format. The problem with doing this is:

If the document isn't made to a self-standing template (few are) it's layout may update to the "normal" template on the machine where you open it. Any change in margins, spacing, font size, etc., may make the lines wrap so that the tab someone typed in now comes in the middle of a line. This could give you an "odd" break.

People also quite often throw in an extra space or few. This is usually inadvertent, but you do still find a few people who observe the "double space after periods" rule that was common in typewriter days. If you look closely at a Word (or any other "modern processor") document, you'll see that most proportional fonts have a longer space between sentences than the space between words within a sentence. This is built into the individual fonts, so isn't always the case; and it often takes a good eye to see the difference; but it's usually there.

The "grammar check" in Word will sometimes, but not always, tell you about repeated spaces (or repeated words), but when people get in a hurry, they can click the "ignore" button to get through the checks and it doesn't get "corrected," or they may have set up Word to "ignore grammar."

Tabs and indents generally apply to whole paragraphs, so if you're getting a "flyer" that seems to be indented oddly, it's likely that there is an "end of paragraph" that you're not seeing. Turn on "view all" - the & button. (And I'd recommend working "layout" problems in "print layout view." - the 3d button from the left in the lower left had corner of the Word window, or "View - Print Layout" on the toolbar.)

The "indent" for a paragraph can be "keyed" with Ctl-M to move the first line of a paragraph in (to the right), or Ctl-Shift-M to move it back to the left. If you haven't made other changes to the paragraph format, the whole body of the paragraph will move with the first line. You change the amount of "hang" or "indent" for the paragraph using Ctl-T to move all except the first line farther to the right, or Ctl-Shift-T to move all except the first line back to the left. You can't move anything outside the "page margins" using the quick keys, so sometimes you have to "synch" the hang and the indent to get things to line up. To get everything up against the page margin, the paragraph body and the "hanging first line" almost have to get there at the same time.

This may seem a little "counterintuitive" at first, but it actually works quite well. If you click on "Format - Paragraph" to see how the paragraph format is described, you find two boxes labelled left and right under a line that says Indentation. The first two boxes are not the paragraph indentation - they're the paragraph margins in language normally used in discussing paragraph layout. These two boxes tell how far this paragraph is "inside" the page margins you have set for the whole document (using "File - Page Layout" on the toolbar). A little to the right of these "paragraph margin" boxes is one with the label "Special." You choose "first line" if you want the first line of the paragraph indented farther to the right. You choose "hanging" if you want the body of the paragraph moved farther to the right (relative to the start of the first line - which makes it look like the first line "hangs out" to the left of the paragraph body).

If you do it in the "Format - Paragraph" dialog box, you can set paragraph margins outside the document margins. For example in the "left" box, set -0.5", and in the "Special" box set "hanging" with a "hang value" of 0.5". The first line of the paragraph will start a half inch outside (to the left of) the page margin, and the rest of the paragraph will align with the page margin.

You can also set "general alignment" in the "Format Paragraph" box, but Ctl-L makes things align on (or relative to) the left margin (Left justify). Ctl-R gets Right justify, with straight right edges. Ctl-E cEnter justifies, (with slightly ragged edges down both sides.) [Ctl-C was already used for "copy."]
Ctl-J is the full Justify, which adjusts the spacing between words to make both sides even.

If you get into "Print Layout" view, and turn on the "Show All" toggle, it's usually not too difficult to figure out why something doesn't look the way you think it should.