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  1. #1
    Star Lounger
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    paragraph spacing (all)

    Two questions, concerning "space after" and "space before":

    1. I had always assumed that the spacing between two paragraphs is the sum of the "space after" property of the first and the "space before" property of the second. But while surfing the web I stumbled on someone's tutorial that claimed that each of these properties is really an "at least" value, and that the space Word provides is the maximum of the two values. I'm amazed that the actual behavior is not described in any of the common texts that I go to for help. Can anyone confirm what the real algorithm is?

    2. There are obviously several ways to accomplish the desired spacing, including space before, OR space after, OR splitting it and using both properties. However, given the claim above, you would not really split the desired spacing. I.e., if you want 12 pts between paragraphs, you would specify space before = 12 AND space after = 12. This way you would always get a space of 12 pts (the max of 12 and 12), with a greater space in those locations where whe preceeding or subsequent paragraphs requested something more than 12.

    Does anyone have any thoughts on the best way to handle this?

  2. #2
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: paragraph spacing (all)

    I just tried a very simple experiment.
    <UL><LI>Create a style and format 4 paragraphs of "The quick brown fox..." with it.
    <LI>Set the spacing to before=0pt, after= 12pt
    <LI>Measured the space between the bottom of the descenders on one paragraph and the top of the ascenders on the next one as 0.5cm
    <LI>Change the spacing to before=6pt, after=6pt
    <LI>Measured the space between the bottom of the descenders on one paragraph and the top of the ascenders on the next one as 0.3cm[/list]StuartR

  3. #3
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: paragraph spacing (all)

    Another thing to keep in mind that with the default settings, Word will add "space before" at the top of a page too: if you set "space before" to 12 points, and the paragraph ends up at the top of a page, it will still be pushed down 12 points. This may give your document an unprofessional look if you have some pages starting lower down than others.

    (You can turn this off in the compatibility tab of Tools | Options...)

  4. #4
    Bronze Lounger IanWilson's Avatar
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    Re: paragraph spacing (all)

    ... and another thing.

    Also in the compatibity options there is a setting that says "Don't use HTML auto spacing". If the box is checked, the space after a paragraph is added to the space before the next paragraph to get the space between the paragraphs. So if para 1 has 12 points after and para 2 has 12 points before, you get 24 points in between.

    If the box is unchecked, the space between the paragraphs is the greater of the space after the first one and the space before the second one. So if para 1 is set to 12 points after, and para 2 is set to 12 points before, you get 12 points in between. If para 1 is set to 12 after and para 2 is set to 6 before, you get 12.

    I'm not sure when this option came in - my recollection is that it didn't exist in Word 97, it definitely exists in Word 2003, and I can't remember if it was in Word 2000 or Word XP (aka 2002).

    Ian
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  5. #5
    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    [quote name='IanWilson' post='760663' date='23-Feb-09 06:43']I'm not sure when this option came in - my recollection is that it didn't exist in Word 97, it definitely exists in Word 2003, and I can't remember if it was in Word 2000 or Word XP (aka 2002).[/quote]
    I think this was one of the innovations in Word 2000 to make Word more similar to an HTML editor. (The most memorable changes were to tables...)

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