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  1. #1
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    based on 'no style' (Word 97+)

    I am writing a style analyser, and in processing a client's document came across styles based on (no style). Waddya know. I didn't know you could do that.
    A search of this forum reveals at least three threads which embrace this topic. <post:=196,431>post 196,431</post:> <post:=63,115>post 63,115</post:> and <post:=15,939>post 15,939</post:>

    It seems to me to be not such a good idea to have styles (or anything for that matter) based on nothing; I'm fond of structures, especially tree-structures, and have always built a style tree for a project, with all my project styles ultimately following a path to the root of my style tree, with character fonts based on a single character font which is itself based on "default paragraph font", and paragraph fonts based on a single paragraph font which is itself based on "Normal".

    In reading the three threads, I can't shake the notion that basing a style on "no style" is not a good practice.
    I feel strongly that for a project (team, organisation etc), one could and should define a single character style and a single paragraph style, and base all other styles downstream from these.
    This does not preclude basing, for example, all Heading styles on a single style, and all TOC styles on a single style, and so on, but it does suggest that the base heading style and the base TOC style should share a common named parent, way back up the genealogical tree.

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    Re: based on 'no style' (Word 97+)

    I think there can be valid reasons for creating a family of styles whose ancestor is *not* based on Normal or any other styles. You may not want changes in Normal to influence a family of styles with a completely different purposes.

    Take the Heading styles for example: by default, they are all based on Normal.
    If you want to make Normal bold (unlikely, I admit), Heading 1 through Heading 6 become *not* bold because Bold acts as a toggle.
    And if you set the font color for Normal to dark gray, all headings become dark gray too.
    If you base Heading 1 on no style, and base Heading 2 on Heading 1 etc., changing Normal doesn't affect them.
    BTW, the maximum number of inheritance levels is 9, so if you want to base each heading style on the previous one, Heading 1 *must* not be based on another style if you want to include Heading 9.

    See Shauna Kelly's How styles in Microsoft Word cascade.

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    Re: based on 'no style' (Word 97+)

    My initial crack at a style set has an ~HBase paragraph style that exists for no purpose other than to be the base style for the headings (and it's based on "no style" rather than Normal) and a ~TBase paragraph style that exists for no purpose other than to be the base style for most of the other paragraph styles (and it's also based on "no style" rather than Normal).

    It's been a while since I set it up, but I believe I was following in the footsteps of Word MVP John McGhie, who advocates "breaking the link to Normal" and setting up separate Heading and Body Text style hierarchies (each based on "no style"), here.

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    Re: based on 'no style' (Word 97+)

    Your Normal(bold) example is valid.
    >If you base Heading 1 on no style,...
    Heading styles are awkward examples. They come (Word97) pre-loaded as Arial, kerning etc. Trying to base Heading 1 on (my) H style (Garamond) or on (no style) leaves the Arial and kerning settings in place.
    In my attached sample document I've defined a style "H" as Garamond, Blue, then made "Heading 1" based on H. "Heading 1" retains its factory-fresh Arial font until i remove it manually. I think this is a nasty part of the Heading styles.
    Your argument is valid for other styles over which we have more immediate control. I might base all my Text styles on "T", and all my very popular List styles on "L", and then base "L" and "T" on a common parent. Toggling bold in the common parent would mean that all my List styles, based on L, based on the common parent, would snap into place. I'd have to go back an unset Bold in "T", and then all my text styles would be restored to their rightful state.



    > See Shauna Kelly's How styles in Microsoft Word cascade.
    "Tip: Double-spacing drafts of documents - If you want to print a draft of your document double-spaced, set all the styles used in the body of the document to be based on one "parent" stye (like the styles in Figure 1). You can then swap between double-spacing and single-spacing by changing the formatting of the parent style. The effect will ripple through the whole document instantly."

    So the question to be posed is "Will I ever have a frequent-enough requirement for a common characteristic for the entire document". In Shauna's example, the answer is "Yes, double-spacing". If a requirement of the project is that we (or our end-users) be able quickly to switch between single and double spacing, then basing all styles on a single common ancestor becomes a requirement, and having a set of styles based on two or more non-common ancestors won't work for us. This approach means, of course, that one has to carefully set the base style for "Heading" to Garamond and the base style for "Text" to Courier. There is a bit of extra work in setting up the parenting tree, but that happens just once, and it doesn't seem to me to be a big burden.

    A different requirement might be language - switching quickly, or even automatically via VBA, between French, English and Spanish. Perhaps more so with the globalization (ugh!) of organisations nowadays.

    Excepting for the typically idiotic Microsoft limitation of 9 levels (must be the same Harold who wrote the MRU list at the foot of the File menu), I still can't find a good reason not to base all styles through a common ancestor, your remarkable comments notwithstanding.

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    Re: based on 'no style' (Word 97+)

    Steve, thanks for the reply which HAS triggered a change in my behaviour (grin!).
    >and it's based on "no style" rather than Normal
    The attached document is too wordy to post here, but it tries to show that, no matter how we try to avoid/evade the issue, our no-name styles are all, still, based on a single parental style.

    >Word MVP John McGhie
    The article to which you linked, especially Styles, has changed my life, at least as far as the appearance of my documents goes. Thanks for that.

    The style analyser, which caused me to make my initial post, reports all styles ultimately based on "", which is the name given to "(no style)". My ongoing preference would be to hijack that style, create a new style called "Cadbury" or something - that's less than a minute's work, and then base my Heading and Body text styles on Cadbury. Same effect, I believe, but now my single parental style has a name.

    I posted the lengthy article here
    My screen snapshots reSized and Zipped were still too big to attach. You can d/l them here if you choose.

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    Re: based on 'no style' (Word 97+)

    I followed the link to your (not that lengthy) article. I suspect there's a structural difference between a Cadbury document and a generic chocolate document. I'd guess that the fact that a newly-created style based on "no style" must (of necessity) reflect a set of default characteristics doesn't mean that it's "really" based on a (nameless) "style." With a Cadbury document, there's a stored style entry in the document's "style table" (or whatever it's called) named Cadbury that, if you modify it (or it gets modified behind your back by a Word gremlin or other beastie), will cause flow-through changes to happen in other styles. In a generic chocolate document, there's no possibility that a style based on "no style" will end up modified because of changes (intended or not) to any other style. I strongly suspect (but don't know for certain) that, if you could view the "style tables" of a generic chocolate document and one of your Cadbury documents, you'd find that the Cadbury document had an additional style entry (named Cadbury) -- rather than finding that there were the same number of style entries and that a style with no name in the generic document was named "Cadbury" in the Cadbury document.

    All of which is not to say that I'm aware of any practical disadvantage to the Cadbury approach. McGhie warns that "you will chase your tail forever" if you don't break the Body Text link to Normal, but I've forgotten (if I ever knew) what he means by that. Plus I suspect that unintended behind-your-back changes are a lot more likely to happen to a document's Normal style than to a user-defined style named Cadbury.

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    Re: based on 'no style' (Word 97+)

    Steve, thanks for the reply. My delay in responding is due to my being busy (see attached ZIP file!)
    >there's no possibility that a style based on "no style" will end up modified
    This is true. I made a red style "Steve1" based on (no style) and a green style "Steve2" based on (no style). I can't locate a style called "" or even (no style) in the list; I can't modify the Default Paragraph Font. Bugs apart, that puts the bases of both "Steve1" and"Steve2" out of my hands, but I'm not sure that I want that. The example from Hans's post still holds - what if I want to Double-space or flip the language on everything?

    I've not only read, but worked through John McGhie's 33-page article with respect to styles, specifically Paragraph Styles.
    me being me I can't do anything without writing VBA, so the attached template is a crude effort to regulate John's prose, and a test bed to see the impact of changes in style definition while staying within John's guidelines. It is crude code, but it was fun to write,

    John's article confuses me every now and then: p20 "Arial for Body" then p24 "Book Antiqua" for Body.

    Thanks again for the nudge/shove into new insights.
    Attached Files Attached Files

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    Re: based on 'no style' (Word 97+)

    An interesting, I think, sidelight to this discussion is that in Word 2007's set defaults tab of the manage styles dialog, one can set font, size, paragraph position, and paragraph spacing. The settings can apply to documents and templates, and they are the unmodified settings of Normal--and of any other style that is based on no style. Is this is the first version that users have been able to use the interface to change the default settings? Have these settings been changeable through VBA in earlier versions?

    PamC
    Pam Caswell

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    Re: based on 'no style' (Word 97+)

    In pre-2007 versions of Word, the Format | Font... dialog has a Default... button that lets you set a font as default (i.e. in Normal.dot), and the Modify Style dialog has an check box "Add to Template".

    In VBA, you can manipulate the properties of a style in a template, so you can set the defaults.

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    Re: based on 'no style' (Word 97+)

    >button that lets you set a font as default (i.e. in Normal.dot),
    Another good reason for my batch file (grin!)<pre>REM Word2000.bat Christopher Greaves Thursday, July 1, 1999 Sat Nov 12 2005
    :: Updated January 3rd 2003 for BigC
    :: Updated January 2006 for LapTop Word2000
    :: Re-create the Normal.dot prior to loading Word97
    if "Şbug%"=="" set debug=off
    set debug=on
    call d:batLAPsettime
    copy "g:GREAVESADMINTemplatesNormal.DOT" d:___spare%se%.DOT
    del "g:GREAVESADMINTemplatesNormal.DOT"
    copy g:GREAVESNormal080.DOT "g:GREAVESADMINTemplatesNormal.DOT"
    :: start winword.EXE
    call "C:Program FilesMicrosoftOffice2000Officewinword.EXE"
    REM end of Word2000.bat </pre>


  12. #11
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    Re: based on 'no style' (Word 97+)

    >Have these settings been changeable through VBA in earlier versions?
    As Hans has pointed out, yes.
    Backing up a bit, it seems that e.g Word2000 would let you set the characteristics in the Font tab, but no other, as the new basis for the Normal style, but not change the (no style) characteristics.
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