The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #67222   Message #1128004
Posted By: JohnInKansas
02-Mar-04 - 06:12 PM
Thread Name: Tech: Alternatives to Office and Word
Subject: RE: Tech: Alternatives to Office and Word
Don - sorry, I miscoded amp instead of para. Yes, I meant the ¶ button.

Actually, most of the experienced users I know just go to Tools - Options and set the View tab stuff to always show all the "format" characters. They won't print, even if you have them "showing" when you print the document, so it doesn't affect the output - but it lets you see what's going on in the document.

If you go to Tools - Options, on the View tab, at the bottom, there's a section for "Outline and Normal Options." If you put a number in the "Style Area Width" box, something in the range of 0.7 to 1.0 usually, in Normal view you get a space down the left side of the window that shows what paragraph styles are applied to each paragraph. Usually, the paragraph that "looks different" will have a different "style name" shown there, and you can often fix it just by changing the style to match the other paragraphs.

If you set up a paragraph style that has the first line indent you want, you won't need to insert the tab at the start of the paragraph to make it indented. It will be done for you automatically, as long as you continue to use that style. You can also "indent" the whole paragraph (set margins different than the page margins), with or without a different "hang" or "indent" for the first line. If you "style" the paragraph, and leave off the starting tab, you can change all the paragraphs that have that "style" in a document at the same time just by "editing" the style.

Typewriters, with a few exceptions, didn't have "proportional" fonts in which the widths of individual characters can vary to improve the appearance and readability. In most, if not all, proportional fonts, the "period" has an extension of the character cell width to make the space that follows it a little wider than for other characters. This makes the double-space after a period "redundant," and they really should not be put in when you're using a modern word processor. Some word processors also "recognize" the difference between periods and decimal points, so that even though you use the same key to enter both, if it's followed by a space and an uppercase letter, it's a period, but if it's followed by a number it's a decimal point with a different spacing. Document appearance, and control over editing, is greatly improved by leaving out the double spaces and letting the wp program take card of this sort of stuff.

(The exception is that if you are deliberately using a monospaced font, like Courier, you might consider putting the double spaces back in. An example would be where you're using the <pre> tag to post "aligned text" here, to simulate a table.)

You don't have to send a template with a document, since a "document template" is part of the Word document file. That's one of the reasons an "empty" word .doc is several KB in size before you start typing. Definitions for all of the styles used in the document are "contained in" the document file.

The problem is that all paragraph styles are "based on normal," and if you have a different on your machine than was on the machine where the document was written, or if you have created paragraph styles with the same names as those the author used but with different characteristics, if you update styles in the document, "applying" the style definitions on your machine, you may get a different result than the author did.

If you click on Tools - Templates and Add-Ins, you'll see a box for "Automatically update styles." If that box is checked "on," Word may "automatically" re-apply the styles on your machine to the new document when you open it. If it finds styles in the document that are not already on your machine, it may add them to your template. Most users should not turn on this feature (personal opinion).

If you are working with others on documents where consistent format and appearance are necessary, it is critical that you should all use the same, and usually should create a separate "document" template where you keep the paragraph styles specific to the document. Any changes to either must be "coordinated" throughout the group. To be really safe, you should always "remove" that set of templates, and put a generic in place when working on "non-group" stuff, to avoid the templates being changed inadvertently. You don't normally need to worry about this if you're working alone, or on less formally structured stuff.

So far as I've noticed, Word uses "names" for the control/special characters that are consistent with UNICODE character names. If you go to Word Help, and put "search" or "wildcards" into one of the search boxes, you should get a list of the "special characters" that will include "what word calls them," along with how to find and replace them using Edit Find and/or Edit Replace in Word. You use the "^" character as a tag to show that it's a "code" for what you want to find.
^p finds paragraph marks,
^t finds tabs.
(You could replace all those "intitial tabs" you've used to indent paragraphs by searching for ^p^t and replace with ^p.)
The "hard space" is called a non-breaking space (^s) which is consistent with Unicode and html, where you code it &nbsp;.
The hard dash is a nonbreaking hyphen (^~).
The "soft hyphen" is called an "optional hyphen" and marks where a word may be broken if it comes at a "wrap." It normally doesn't display "unless needed," but you can search for them using "^-" for your "search code."
You can search for any character by ANSI value using ^0nnn, where nnn is the "ANSI Number" for the character. (The leading zero is a "formal part" of the code, but can usually be omitted.)

You can Find: any character (^?), any letter (^$), any digit [number character] (^#), but you can't use these latter wildcards in the Replace box.
You can search for something, and paste the clipboard contents in to replace it by using ^c in the "replace with" box.

In help, you click on options to print the item you're looking at. I keep a copy of the search "wildcards" hanging on the wall next to my workspace.

It should be noted that generally Search will not find anything that's inside a textbox or inside a frame, unless you click inside to search there.