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  1. #1
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    Space Above/Space Below (MS Word 97)

    I've got a question about Hard Returns and the fickle, elusive Space Above/Below Problem in MS Word.

    I'm going thru John Mcghie's Create a Template II Series. He says the following regarding hard carriage returns in Professional Documents:

    "Pros Never Use Blank Lines for Spacing. They get Separated from the thing they

  2. #2
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    Re: Space Above/Space Below (MS Word 97)

    Although I was not aware of the Word '97 space-above bug, I have always used space-below almost exclusively. I discovered early on that too many options can complicate things, and it is easier for me keep my documents consistent if the space formatting is limited to space-below.

    I've long since upgraded to Word 2000, but because of my habit of using space-below almost exclusively (and I eschew using the hard page break in favor of "keep-with-next"), I didn't run across the bug even in Word '97; so I can't tell you if it has been fixed in 2000.
    Samantha

    Everything in excess! To enjoy the flavor of life, take big bites. Moderation is for monks!
    Robert A. Heinlein - Time Enough for Love

  3. #3
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    Re: Space Above/Space Below (MS Word 97)

    Generally speaking you can't go wrong following the advice John has given.

    In building templates I almost never use blank lines (empty paragraphs) for spacing but can think of a couple of situations where I do (persons of goodwill can and do differ on this):

    You've got a table. You've defined the paragraph styles in your table to have very little space after. The next thing after your table is a body text paragraph, whose style is defined to have no space before. Accordingly this paragraph appears right up under the table. Trouble is, you want some nice white space between the bottom of the table and this next paragraph. What are your options?:

    (1) Change the space after setting for the paragraphs in the final row of the table (this is assuming a table without borders). Drawbacks: (a) this is relying on direct formatting rather than style-based formatting ([img]/forums/images/smilies/cool.gif[/img] if the user subsequently adds another row to the table, it too will have the extra space after; now the second-to-last row has too much space after.

    (2) Change the space before setting for the text paragraph immediately after the table. Drawbacks: same as with (1) (if the user hits Enter at the end of this paragraph, the new paragraph created will have too much space before).

    (3) Place an empty paragraph immediately after the table and apply the style you're using for body text. Drawbacks: if the user has "show paragraph marks" turned off, they may not realize there is an empty paragraph after the table.

    All three have drawbacks but I think #3 is the least of the evils.

    The second similar issue is almost the same as above: suppose you have defined a style for bulleted paragraphs, which are defined to have very little space after. At the end of a list of bulleted paragraphs, you want to go back to regular text, which is defined to have no space before. How do you create the desired "white space" between the end of the bulleted list and the start of the next paragraph?

    "Pagination Bug": MS would probably call this a "feature" but I agree it bugs me! It is fixed in Word 2000 (where the default is to suppress the space above - you can turn this off in Options).
    This can create an issue if you are developing templates in Word 97, and particularly if you later intend to migrate them to Word 2000 - because workarounds you use for 97 may not be needed in 2000.

    I agree with John to avoid defining space before in styles whenever possible, but as with the issue above, it may not always be possible. In one template I had a style that was defined to start at the top of a page (i.e. part of its style description including the property to start at top of a page).
    The only problem was that on occasion this style also needed to be used in the middle of a page, and when used there it needed to have substantial space before.

    When I first developed templates in FrameMaker, I could get away with one style, because the space before was suppressed if the paragraph was at the top of the page.

    In Word 97 the space above wasn't suppressed, so I had to make two different styles - along the lines of "Level1HeadTopPage" and "Level1HeadNotTopPage" - arrggh! (that was the noise users made when I had to force that down their throats...)

    Now we've moved to Word 2000 and frustratingly, I can't get rid of the no-longer-needed "Level1HeadNotTopPage" - because we have thousands of legacy docs which contain it, the users are already trained on how to use it, what if a client opens our document in Word 97 etc.

    Hope the above are helpful with your design thought process.

    Gary

  4. #4
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: Space Above/Space Below (MS Word 97)

    > Is there ever any situation in a Technical Document when you would want to insert a hard carriage
    > return (by pressing the enter key). If so, for what purpose?

    It's the only way I know to separate two tables. I have had some nasty problems caused by two adjacent tables where the "second" table starts on a new page and there is no blank line in between.

    StuartR

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    Re: Space Above/Space Below (MS Word 97)

    >I have had some nasty problems caused by two adjacent tables where the "second" table starts on a >new page and there is no blank line in between.<

    As a matter of fact, you can't have two adjacent tables (vertically), as far as I know. As soon as you put one after the other, they become 1 table.

  6. #6
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    Re: Space Above/Space Below (MS Word 97)

    > As soon as you put one after the other, they become 1 table

    That was exactly my point. This is a rare but important use of a paragraph with no content.

    StuartR

  7. #7
    KTYorke
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    Re: Space Above/Space Below (MS Word 97)

    vertically you can... using columns... <img src=/S/shrug.gif border=0 alt=shrug width=39 height=15>
    and I allow blank paragraphs between tables (horizontally) only... I've made a macro to put an automatic message in a document (you don't see the table once it's printed) and a normal styled paragraph after (this is also the ONLY instance I use Normal style) Then I can start a real table.
    have fun

  8. #8
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    Re: Space Above/Space Below (MS Word 97)

    Hi KT:
    I'm not sure what you mean "vertically you can....using columns". How would you use columns to put tables after each other without a paragraph in between? You could use a frame & keep the tables separate. <img src=/S/shrug.gif border=0 alt=shrug width=39 height=15>

  9. #9
    KTYorke
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    Re: Space Above/Space Below (MS Word 97)

    <img src=/S/bingo.gif border=0 alt=bingo width=15 height=22> Well I guess I meant one table side by side vertically... it was late... I was tired... sorry for not stating it correctly! <img src=/S/yawn.gif border=0 alt=yawn width=15 height=15> <img src=/S/grovel.gif border=0 alt=grovel width=31 height=23>
    have fun

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