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  1. #1
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    Word paragraph formatting logic? (2000/XP)

    In most situations, it's easy to tell what Word will do when you've got "Keep Lines Together" or "Keep With Next" set for a set of paragraphs. However, there are certain situations where it's kind of hard to tell what logic Word is using to format the document. For example:

    Suppose you've got five paragraphs, P1, P2, and P3, P4, and P5. For the sake of this illustration, suppose that each page has 60 lines on it; P1 has 40 lines, P2 has 78 lines, and P3, P4, and P5 each have 1 line. You're trying to keep P2, P3, P4, and P5 together, so you set them with "Keep with Next" and "Widow/Orphan Control". I would expect Word to put P2 at the top of page 2, so that the end of P2 is on page 3, and is kept together with P3, P4, P5. However, Word puts P2 immediately beneath P1; as a result, P5 is hanging all by itself at the top of page 3.


    Is there any kind of comprehensive document somewhere which explains the logic which Word uses in formatting paragraphs with various combinations of "Keep Lines Together", "Keep With Next", and "Widow/Orphan Control" set?

    Thanks,

    Dan

  2. #2
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    Re: Word paragraph formatting logic? (2000/XP)

    I don't know of a reference document that explores the underlying logic, but I can hazard a couple of guesses about why Word is doing what it's doing.

    First of all, Widow/Orphan Control won't have much effect in your specific example, because one-line paragraphs can't have widows and orphans. The W/O Control function is designed to keep one line of a multi-line paragraph from showing up on a different page from the rest of the paragraph -- with single-line paragraphs, this isn't a consideration.

    The "Keep With Next" issue is a little murkier, but I suspect the one-line paragraphs are doing you in again. The key element is probably not the break between paragraphs P1 and P2, but that between P4 and P5 -- because "Keep With Next" sees a natural paragraph break at that point, and doesn't have anywhere else to put the paragraphs. It's already met its other obligations: P2 is kept with P3, and P3 with P4, and it doesn't have a motive to go back and look at the P1-P2 combination. In short, Keep With Next isn't likely to override a break between paragraphs in this situation.
    "What's loved, survives." (Diane Duane, Deep Wizardry)

  3. #3
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    Re: Word paragraph formatting logic? (2000/XP)

    Hi Dan,

    When you use "Keep with next", "Keep lines together" and "Widow/Orphan control", you put a lot of restrictions on the text pagination.

    Sometimes things go awry brecause not all restrictions can be met at the same time.

    In your example, Word probably might not behave as expected because it would have to look several paragraphs ahead to see that all your restrictions could be met.

    Or, as Word probably paginates downwards, a page at a time, it might not see any reason to put P2 on a new page. So it starts P2 right after P1.
    After this has been done, there is no way to meet your restriction to keep P4 and P5 together.

    I tend towards the last explanation. As you have probably already figured out, you can achieve the result you want by using "Keep lines together" or "Page break above" on P2.

    If there is a comprehensive article on these settings, I haven't seen it. As with most dialogs, you get a short baloon help if you right-click on a setting.

    <img src=/S/cheers.gif border=0 alt=cheers width=30 height=16> Klaus

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    Re: Word paragraph formatting logic? (2000/XP)

    Hi John,

    Didn't see your reply in time; looks like we arrived at pretty much the same conclusion...

    <img src=/S/cheers.gif border=0 alt=cheers width=30 height=16> Klaus

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