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  1. #1
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    Carriage Returns & Tabs (any)

    I received some stern advice about Word document formatting from a training course instructor:

    1. No carriage returns should appear anywhere in a properly-formatted Word document. Instead, use trailing paragraph spacing.

    2. No single tabs should appear at the beginning of a line in a properly-formatted Word document. Instead, use paragraph indentation.

    Are these rules widely known? (If so, can someone provide a URL that refers to them?) Does the presence of carriage returns and start-of-line tabs in a document, then, indicate deficient profiency in the use of MS Word?

    regards, Andy

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    Re: Carriage Returns & Tabs (any)

    How do you get paragraphs without carriage returns?

    Are you talking about double carriage returns to create space between paragraphs?

    There is a vast range of levels of proficiency in Word. A very proficient user of Word will probably apply all formatting via styles. The styles would include the paragraph spacing (leading or trailing) and the paragraph indentation. Styles make it easy to apply formatting in a consistent way, and make it easy to reformat later.
    Regards
    John



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    Re: Carriage Returns & Tabs (any)

    < How do you get paragraphs without carriage returns? >

    Yes, you're right, my question was not phrased very clearly. The instructor insisted that double carriage returns should not appear in a document -- paragraphs are not separated by carriage returns, but by paragraph spacing.

    I must admit that in all my years of viewing Word documents on-and-off-line, I've never seen one without carriage returns separating paragraphs.

    < A very proficient user of Word will probably apply all formatting via styles. >

    Give that very proficient user a newly installed version of MS Office on a PC that they'll not use again and a short letter to write. Would such a user create styles to format the document?

    regards, Andy

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    Re: Carriage Returns & Tabs (any)

    I always set space before and after my body text paragraphs, even if I am just creating a simple letter on a PC that I don't know.

    StuartR

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    Re: Carriage Returns & Tabs (any)

    Hi Andy:
    I agree with the others, that you should use paragraph spacing & indentations. The reason you don't see it very often (or ever) is that very few people are trained in Word. In many companies, Word processing is nothing more than sophisticated typing & it's assumed that users will learn themselves. Under time pressure, it sure is a lot faster to press <enter> or hit a <tab> than it is to learn how to use styles. Most clerical people that I know use the spacebar to line things up...after all, the bosses just want the final product to look well...and they want it now!

    I know many secretaries that would rather use Word Perfect 5.0 for DOS for "important" stuff. I work for the government & we have over 1000 lawyers & almost as many clerical. There's about a dozen (probably less) people in the entire office to help on applications (and that includes ALL applications, not just Word). I can't even get the IT people to turn off fast saves (I had to use an AutoExec macro to restore my options), let alone teach styles.

    Having ranted & raved, I have a confession. The documents that I save with tips all have double paragraph marks between paragraphs. The only reason is that I have thousands of pages & in Word 6 (when I started the documents), my documents kept getting corrupt. I would have to save them in .rtf & then reconvert them to Word. (I later learned it was because Word never deleted hidden bookmarks, but that's another story.) I got tired of going through hundreds of pages at a time & deleting the second paragraph marks & converting back to styles. Some day, I'll redo them.

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    Re: Carriage Returns & Tabs (any)

    Thanks to John, Stuart, and Phil for your replies. I've learned that, as the instructor insisted, one quick test of Word skill is the absence of dual carriage returns and single tabs in the text.

    Again, I've never ever seen such documents, but given what's been written here, they're out there... somewhere. ;-)

    regards, Andy (who tried the Smiley wink graphic, but preferred the ASCII variety)

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    Re: Carriage Returns & Tabs (any)

    I don't think you need to be too dogmatic about this.
    Sometimes a very simple solution, like double carriage returns, is a perfectly appropriate solution to the problem of creating space between paragraphs. Sure paragraph before/after spacing is better for more complicated situations, and it is useful to know about it.
    But if I was sitting at someone else's computer and had to write a short document, I would probably put in the double carriage returns.
    I think you have to judge what is appropriate for the circumstances.
    Sometimes people make things very difficult by using a technique that is inappropriate for the circumstances - a met someone who wrote a thesis without knowing about double spacing, so he put two carriage returns at the end of every line of text.
    Regards
    John



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    Re: Carriage Returns & Tabs (any)

    I'm not sure this proves anything, but Word's AutoFormat will remove blank paragraphs. Unfortunately, it doesn't then create the space for you by adjusting the styles (or at least, it didn't in the document I tested).

    If I am using one of my standard templates, I almost never have to use Enter to create a blank line. But if I am composing something in a blank document, I often do just press Enter. Once the creative phase is completed, I then can look over the document and figure out how best to clean up the styles. Probably a bit more work this way, but I don't want to elevate form over substance.

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    Re: Carriage Returns & Tabs (any)

    <hr>Word's AutoFormat will remove blank paragraphs. Unfortunately, it doesn't then create the space for you by adjusting the styles<hr>
    Hi Jefferson:
    In Word 2000, it will create leading, provided you have Tools/Autocorrect.../AutoFormat/Apply/"Other Paragraphs" ticked.
    Cheers,

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    Re: Carriage Returns & Tabs (any)

    What is missing here is a discussion of [bold] why [/bold]you should use space/before-space after and indent definition rather than multiple carriage returns and tabs.

    What's really behind this is styles.

    If you are simply directly formatting each paragraph to have the appropriate space after and indent then you're wasting your effort.

    If you are creating a class of documents (and therefore a template) then you should be creating a style to hold the spacing definition and the indent defintion.

    Advantage? When you wish to change the spacing or the indentation, you simply a) modify the style or [img]/forums/images/smilies/cool.gif[/img] attach a different template with the same style names/different definitions.

    Anything you do directly to a specific paragraph in a specific document is hard coded (whether it's extra paragraph marks or space before definition).

    Anything you do to a style is easily variable.

    Anything you do to a style that is consistently named across templates is very easily modified.

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    Re: Carriage Returns & Tabs (any)

    The cohort in the training class does much too little word processing to be concerned about "document classes". We were told that HR, the intended document recipient, would "throw out" documents they receive with dual CR's and single tabs. I'd never heard of such criteria, so I figured I'd ask here if Word pros knew of it. It turns out you do. So, at least the criteria are credible. I remain skeptical that such criteria would ever be used by an HR department, where some of the *worst* PC users put fingers to keyboard.

    regards, Andy

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    Re: Carriage Returns & Tabs (any)

    Andy,

    Now for my 2 cents.

    On the issue of 2 consecutive para returns:
    - there have been postings to this lounge before on this. It is generally agreed that between 2 "unindented" paragraphs that you should not have 2 consecutive line returns. However there were some cases listing in some postings where this would be ok. I think one case was to have a blank line in between the last item in a list and the next unindented para. Another may have been between 2 items in a list. Not really sure but maybe a moderator can dig up some of those threads.

    In my Word workshop for my PC club, we had a discussion on this recently. The advantage of using a style with spacing after was that it gave you easier control of the spacing after the last line of the para. People agreed that having a "full" line (eg, if your font is 12 points, then the empty line is 12 points) did not look as good as having a 1/2 line (6 points spacing after para) or maybe 3/4 line. The alternative would be to select the empty para and change it's font size to 6 or 9 points.

    - on tabs for para indentation: many people use block paragraphs so tabbing for indentation isn't even an issue. Hitting the space bar is worse. Usually you want your indent to be a fixed amount of space (eg, 1/2 inch); if you change your font size from what appeared to give 1/2 inch indent with a certain font size, then it won't be 1/2 inch if you increase or decrease your font size.

    That being said, some of the people in the workshop also asked why bother setting up styles for a short letter. 2 answers:
    - there's already a template (another mystery to most) with styles for a letter so you don't have to do anything other than base your letter on the correct template
    - the universal answer - you can make changes easier. Also Word's find/replace allows you to search on styles, which is a very useful feature (and the sign of a non-novice <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15>)

    HTH.

    Fred

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    Re: Carriage Returns & Tabs (any)

    Can I just add that I had not used Styles until upgrading to Word XP. The erratic behaviour of numbers and bullet points forced me to follow Loungers advice and start using Styles. Have now found them invaluable for all applications.

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    Re: Carriage Returns & Tabs (any)

    i teach computer skills and develop my own handbooks. I teach how to automatically create space after a paragraph and/or how to do first line indent. It is a time saving factor, but I also have been known to do it the old way, Enter Enter or Enter Tab. But I stress that if you are creating any type of template or long document let the computer do it for you. One is saves time and two there is the consistency issue. Styles are time savers, once you get a good understanding of them. Most people do not know that the computer can do this work for them.

    To remove the extra Enter space do a Edit | Replace. In the Replace dialog box Click in the Find window | select the More button | Special button | Paragraph Mark (do this twice to have Word look for double Enters) note you can not manually enter the combination | Click in the Replace With window and put the Paragraph Mark in there once. Click Replace or Replace All button. To then put the spacing after select the paragraphs needed and then use the Paragraph dialog box to insert the proper spacing. Usually the 3/4 of the height or same height as the font being used. So if using 12 pt type insert either 9 or 12 pt of space after the paragraph.

    Lets throw something else into the situation. Never use the Enter key to force a page break. Either use Ctrl+Enter or Insert menu | Break | Page break. The problem here is that if more material is entered or remove above the material you wanted at the top of the next page. The top of the next page position is not static when you manually put it in with multiple enters. So the top of the page after removing or entering material is pulled up or pushed down. Bottom line it will not be where you need it, your hair becomes gray, and the computer screen is wearing your fist (or maybe I should say your fist is wearing the computer screen.)

    A good site is http://www.mvps.org/word/FAQs/ they have a lot of good answers for you.

    Fay

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    Re: Carriage Returns & Tabs (any)

    Follow-up on Andy's comment earlier about the HR not accepting documents not formatted their way. This is a major organizational problem. If there is a criteria that others must meet then the organization has an obligation to 1: teach the computer users how to use the computers. 2: create templates or forms that are available company wide. Barring those then HR needs to get off their high horse and accept what they get.

    I have seen to many organizations that have no clue. That computers are tools and the user needs to be trained on how to safely and correctly use that tool. Rant over.

    Fay

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