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    Style Naming Conventions (Word 2002)

    I'm working on a project that will involve creating a number of styles, and have been giving some thought to a good naming scheme for them. There don't seem to be any constraints in Word itself, but I'm wondering if using special characters in style names might lead to problems? For example, is it an acceptable practice to name a style, say, @BP_BodyText ?

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    Re: Style Naming Conventions (Word 2002)

    You might risk incurring the wrath of the users of the styles!. <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15> - what is the purpose of the "@" at the start of the style name?
    At work we sometimes will put a "z" at the start of style names that we don't want to appear in the middle of the regular list of styles - but these are generally special styles used in setting up the document layout, which aren't necessary meant to be applied by the users.

    Gary

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    Re: Style Naming Conventions (Word 2002)

    I say short names are better, but they shouldn't be cryptic. If your users are constantly dropping down the style box, it can be annoying to have a long name. If many style names are similar, users want some hints upfront about what they should choose. If your naming scheme is to facilitate users who type in the style names and want the auto-complete to jump to the right style, rather than prefixing the styles, use a comma and a suffix -- users can hit CTRL-SHIFT-S and type in the suffix alone. Examples follow: Page Title, PT Major Head, MJH Minor Head, MNH Text, T Bullet Square,BS Bullet Dash,BD Table Item, TI Table Number, TN Ftnote Ltr, FA Ftnote Num, F1 Users don't need much training to recognize the difference between the two bullet styles, BS and BD or the two heading styles MJH and MNH. The difference between FA and F1 is in the numbering style; FA returns footnotes using letters (a) and F1 uses numbers (1). Some training on the styles is needed, regardless.

    For more structured documents that more closely follow an outline format, numbers readily distinguish the levels of indenting
    Head 1, H1 Body Text 1, t1 Bullet 1, b1
    Head 2, H2 Body Text 2, t2 Bullet 2, b2
    Here, users are trained never to mix H1 with B2 or T2 and my footnote style is usually "Ftnote, FN" so it's clear that a number in the style name solely refers to the level of indenting, not to the kind of numbering a footnote uses.

    I have strong views about not using the built-in heading styles or the "normal" style in templates, but your mileage may vary. As a touch typist, it's not a problem for me to use special characters in a style name, but for hunt-and-peck folks, why add to their troubles?

    Lastly, credit for most of these styles doesn't rest with me. I've been fortunate to work with a number of companies with very well-thought-out templates and I've stolen and adapted a number of them for my own use over the years.

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    Re: Style Naming Conventions (Word 2002)

    The idea is that styles beginning with, e.g., "@", are "top level" styles which are never applied directly but exist only so that groups of "working styles" can inherit from them. They will typically be hidden so end users will never see them anyway; the purpose of the @ is to remind me what they do.

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    Re: Style Naming Conventions (Word 2002)

    Using suffixes for quick access to styles is a very good idea. Unfortunately, like most Word features relating to styles and templates, the average user doesn't have a clue that this capability is available to them.

    Another idea , which I found in Walter Glenn's Word 2000 book (O'Reilly), is to identify up front in the name the context in which the style is used. So instead of naming a style "Body_Text" you might say "Contract_Body_Text". But you're absolutely right, every effort should be made to fit the name in the drop down box. One "feature" that works against this is Word's attempt to show alignment in the box by, for example, indenting a style name which defines indented text. This just eats up space; I wonder if there's a registry setting somewhere that could turn this off?

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    Re: Style Naming Conventions (Word 2002)

    It also matters whether your documents will stay in Word or be converted to another program at some point. For instance, the @ is used by Quark XPress to begin style tagging in the text. If something of the sort is possible, it's best to keep style names free of odd characters. It you know the doc is staying in Word, then ,of course, this doesn't matter.

    Lin

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    Re: Style Naming Conventions (Word 2002)

    Hi TJH:
    When you say that there will be groups of working styles from the "top level" styles, are you referring to base styles. i.e. styles upon which other styles will be based (e.g. normal)? How are you planning on hiding them from users? And why?

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    Re: Style Naming Conventions (Word 2002)

    Greetings,

    An alternative used by us is to supply a toolbar with buttons that create different types of styled paragraphs.
    For example the 'SH' button always creates a Side Heading paragraph even if the styles actual name differs from template to template.

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    Re: Style Naming Conventions (Word 2002)

    Greetings,

    An alternative used by us is to supply a toolbar that does the styling for the user. The user needs to know that a side heading or an un-numbered paragraph is required, but doesn't have to know the styles actual name.
    This also makes it easier if you have a number of different documents each with their own styling.

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    Re: Style Naming Conventions (Word 2002)

    Yes, base styles like Normal would be another way of describing them.. "Hiding" is too strong a word; they just won't be mentioned in the project documentation (except maybe a brief mention that they are not for end users) and will not appear in the Style list.

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    Re: Style Naming Conventions (Word 2002)

    How will you prevent them from appearing in the style list?

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    Re: Style Naming Conventions (Word 2002)

    Avoid using style names that are reserved words. For example, we had very strange problems with a style named "table". When we edited a table with this style, and then printed a page with line numbering, it would print lines all through it the page!

    We have also found that most users are very comfortable with using CTRL+SHIFT+S to apply style shortcuts. However, this feature was made difficult with WordXP because the style box now autocompletes the stylename and often gets it wrong.

    For styles that are not commonly used, our users like to have them grouped and made available from a menubar.

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    Re: Style Naming Conventions (Word 2002)

    We discovered not to use a quote in the style name - we had styles named something like this - FL Ind 1" - which meant First Line Indent 1" (we teach our users to access styles via the alias assigned to the style, so we were rather free with our descriptibe style names. We generated documentation showing the style, the style name, the alias and reminder as to how to use the alias).

    Anyway - if you try to generate a TOC based on a style with a quote in its name - won't work. The TOC field uses quotes to distinguish the style name, for example { TOC o "1-3" t "Stylename" } and the quote in the style name confused the issue.

    Just a bit o' trivia <img src=/S/hairout.gif border=0 alt=hairout width=31 height=23>

    Anne

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