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  1. #1
    5 Star Lounger Vincenzo's Avatar
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    Word 2007 formatting issues

    I have some Word documents that I created that are regularly modified by another user, then they come back to me for editing. I repeatedly find myself having problems with the formatting, specifically getting lines that are indented to line up with each other vertically.

    It just seems like Word decides somewhat randomly that a tab on one line does not put the cursor at the same place as a tab on the previous line. Then I find myself trying to line up the first characters on the lines by using the spacebar. Sometimes even that will not be quite right, and I end up just going back to the end of the previous line, hitting the Enter key to make a new line, and re-typing the information. This happens in normal paragraphs, and even more so in tables that are in the document.

    Is there a way to prevent this from happening, either in the way I create the documents, or in the way I edit them? I am working in Word 2007 and Word 2010. The person who modifies the documents uses Word 2003. When I created this particular contract, I may have used Word 2003.

    Thanks
    Last edited by Vincenzo; 2011-03-01 at 14:17.

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    Toggle on the showall button so that you can see all the non-printing characters. Find a couple of messed up tabbed lines and make sure that there are no spaces inserted anywhere around the tab. Then where you have a misaligned tab, check the tab formatting dialog to see what the tab setting is. Compare this to the misaligned line and see if the tab setting is different. They should - of course - be identical.

  3. #3
    5 Star Lounger Vincenzo's Avatar
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    OK, I'll look into that.

    How do I access the tab formatting dialog that you referred to?

    Thanks

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    To add on to the good advice that Terry has already given:

    Make sure you've got non-printing characters showing, and also make sure the ruler is visible. That way as you move from one paragraph to the one above or below it, you can look up in the ruler and see where the tab location is - it sounds like the tabs are set in different places, in different paragraphs in your document - viewing that in the ruler should make it visible.

    The Tabs dialog is harder to get to in Word 2007 than in prior versions - it's effectively been hidden. One way to gain access to it is to customize the Quick Access Toolbar (QAT) and add the Tabs dialog there.

    One more important note: it sounds like these documents are not taking full advantage of styles, and instead, things like tab settings are being adjusted on a paragraph-by-paragraph basis. This is a situation where consistent use of styles would likely eliminate the problems you're seeing - for example, set up a 'Body Text' style with a specific tab setting - then when you apply the Body Text style to multiple paragraphs, the tabs will be set in the same place for all of them. Similarly for styles you can use in tables - this can help standardize the location of the tabs.

    Gary

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    Vincenzo (2011-03-05)

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    The ShowAll command that displays the non-printing characters is the tool on the Home ribbon that looks like a backwards P (it's called a pilcrow). I recommend that you add it to the QAT as it is something that you will find useful to be able to toggle quickly without having to return to the Home ribbon all the time.

    And as Gary says, add the TAB... tool to the QAT as well: for some reason the developers don't seem to use tabs so they have made it hard to access. You can set up Tabs using the Ruler, but it takes some practise. You can also move tabs using the ruler and if you double-click the lower half of the ruler, it directly opens the TAB dialog. However, this latter function may seem like a quick way to access the TAB dialog until you note that it adds a tabs where you double-clicked - a sort of self-defeating shortcut!

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  8. #6
    5 Star Lounger Vincenzo's Avatar
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    Thanks to both of you for the ideas.

    I've been going through this document using the techniques above, I am finding some inconsistencies, so this is looking like it will work.


    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Frieder View Post
    This is a situation where consistent use of styles would likely eliminate the problems you're seeing - for example, set up a 'Body Text' style with a specific tab setting -
    Gary
    How do I do this when I have some text or a table already set up and I'd like to create a style based on it? Do I need to specify that the style will be a paragraph style?

    Thanks

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    For an existing paragraph style like Body Text, put the cursor in the pararaph with the settings you want and, in the Styles pane, click the arrow to the right of the style name and then Update [stye name] to match selection. For a new style, again, with the cursor in a paragraph with the settings you want, open the styles gallery and click "Save selection as a new quick style" or open the styles pane and click the New Style icon.

    For tables, to repeat the look (same borders, shading, cell margins, and such) and structure (same number of columns, same headings rows, and such) of a table, save it as a quick part (or add it to the quick tables gallery). If you want to repeat the look (same borders, shading, cell margins) of a table in tables with different structures, create a table style. The create table feature does not pick up table formatting from the table the cursor is in. So you must create it from scratch.

    Pam

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  11. #8
    5 Star Lounger Vincenzo's Avatar
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    Thanks Pam, that helps a lot.

    I've never used a table style though. How do I use them? Just create a table, highlight it, and apply the style?

    Thanks
    Last edited by Vincenzo; 2011-03-10 at 09:57.

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    Arrow How to set paragraph indent in Word for one or multiple paragraphs

    Quote Originally Posted by Vincenzo View Post
    It just seems like Word decides somewhat randomly that a tab on one line does not put the cursor at the same place as a tab on the previous line. Then I find myself trying to line up the first characters on the lines by using the spacebar. Sometimes even that will not be quite right, and I end up just going back to the end of the previous line, hitting the Enter key to make a new line, and re-typing the information.
    I doubt that the variation in tab settings is random--someone in the loop is changing the tab locations for at least one of those paragraphs (using either the ruler or the tab dialog).

    Be that as it may, using tabs (or spaces) to set the left alignment of a paragraph is not the way to go. While using defined styles (as has been previously suggested) is, perhaps, the most elegant way, redefining styles for every document to get that "just right" look simply isn't worth all the effort. I chiefly use styles only on long documents, where I've customized the typographic and formatting look and need to be able to keep it standardized throughout the document. For short documents, there's an easier, ad hoc way to set indents.

    To change the indent on any single paragraph, right-click that paragraph and select "Paragraph..." to bring up the paragraph format dialog. On the "Indents and Spacing" tab, simply set the desired left and right indents for the current paragraph. If you need special indenting (such as "first line indent" or "hanging indent"), those are available in the "Special:" drop-down list, with the amount of the special indent set via the "By:" input field.

    If you need several paragraphs to have the same custom indent, do the following:

    1. Select the paragraph that has the custom indent you need (clicking in the margin area to the left of the paragraph is the easiest way to do this).
    2. Click on the "Home" tab in the Ribbon, and select the "Format Painter" (the paintbrush icon in the "Clipboard" section).
    3. Select the paragraphs to which you want to apply the custom indenting.

    All the paragraphs selected in step 3 will now have the indenting (and all other formatting features) of the paragraph selected in step 1. This technique works for all versions of Word going back to Word 97.

    One more note about the Format Painter--in Word 2003 and earlier, you could double-click the Format Painter icon (as in step 2) and then select non-contiguous paragraphs (a single-click on the icon only "sticks" for a single, contiguous selection). In Word 2010 (and, I'm guessing in Word 2007), double-clicking the Format Painter in the Ribbon isn't possible (at least, I've not been successful doing so). To restore the double-click function, add the Format Painter to the Quick Access Toolbar.

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  14. #10
    5 Star Lounger Vincenzo's Avatar
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    bethel95,

    That is a great tip, thanks. It is indeed a quick and easy way to get uniform formatting.

    By the way, using Terfar's tip to turn on non-printing characters allowed me to see the cause of one of the problems in my table. Some rows had tab stops set in them that I was not aware of, and it was wreaking havoc on my formatting when I was pressing Tab.

  15. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vincenzo View Post
    Thanks Pam, that helps a lot.
    I've never used a table style though. How do I use them? Just create a table, highlight it, and apply the style?
    Thanks
    Pretty much. Though if it's the default style, it would be applied when you create the table.

    Pam

  16. #12
    5 Star Lounger kmurdock's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bethel95 View Post
    While using defined styles (as has been previously suggested) is, perhaps, the most elegant way, redefining styles for every document to get that "just right" look simply isn't worth all the effort.
    I respectfully disagree. For me, it's not about elegance, it's about time and effort saved.

    I set styles in one document, save it, then delete the text and save it again as a template. Then when I want to create that kind of document again, all I have to do is create a new document from the template. The styles come along for the ride.

    I generally use anywhere from three to twelve styles in a document, rarely more, no matter how long it is. And if the time comes when I need to change the formatting of that heading that appears 12 times, I do it once and it changes everywhere. I don't want to hunt through my document looking for that one heading I missed.

    Unless every document you create will look different than every other document, you will save time with styles and they are worth the effort.

    Best, Kim

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