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  1. #1
    5 Star Lounger st3333ve's Avatar
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    0 left margin OK? (Word 2002 SP-2)

    I'm new to Word and reading advice from various sources. An article by John McGhie describes the use of negative indents for Headings as "unstable and fiddly" in Word. I hated the idea of having every paragraph indentation that I set in this kind of document be goofily misleading in the sense that the number would look like it was 0.5" or 0.3" (depending on how far left I wanted to shift the leftmost heading) more indented (in relation to the "real" left margin) than it actually was. So I started out ignoring McGhie's advice, but I've found, sure enough, that Word has a strong tendency to "reset" the indents of Heading styles that include negative indents.

    On a break from gnashing my teeth and rending my garments, it occurred to me that my paragraph indent numbers wouldn't be as goofy if I set the left margin to 0" (rather than to the position of the leftmost heading). That way every paragraph style's left indent will be the distance from the left edge of the page, which I find a lot more intuitive and easy to work with than the distance from the leftmost heading. (It would also mean that adjusting the indentation of the leftmost heading wouldn't result in the need to either (1) adjust the left margin and the indentation of all other styles or (2) live with a document with a left margin that corresponds to nothing at all.)

    My question is: Is there any reason to avoid setting the left margin to 0 (i.e., setting it outside the printable area of the page)? (Needless to say, all of my styles would include left indents that put them within the printable area.) In other words, does anyone know if doing this brings out more Word bugginess? Alternatively, are there one or more other downsides to this approach that might not occur to a Word newbie?

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    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: 0 left margin OK? (Word 2002 SP-2)

    I've actually never encountered anyone who has wanted to set the left margin to 0, but that doesn't mean that it can't be done. A downside is that every time you print a document, you will get a message that says one or more of your margins is outside the print area & you will need to click "ignore". Every time you want to change the orientation of a section within a document, you'll get the same message. If you copy text from another user's document or web page & it's in a style that you haven't used, you will be pasting it at the edge of the page.

    As far as Heading styles not holding their modifications, I haven't seen that (although John McGhie is an extremely experienced expert in the area of styles). One problem that you might have encountered is if your styles have "Automatically update" set (Format/Styles/Modify/Automatically udpate). Also, if you have Tools/Templates & Add-ins.../Automatically update document styles checked, this could cause problems.
    Hope this helps,

  3. #3
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: 0 left margin OK? (Word 2002 SP-2)

    Like Phil, I wouldn't dare to question the authority of John McGhie, but I have used negative indents in Heading styles for years, in Word 95, Word 97 and now in Word 2002, and never had problems with them.

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    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Re: 0 left margin OK? (Word 2002 SP-2)

    If there are problems with negative indents and headings, I would blame Word's automatic numbering. My past attempts to impose different tabbing, indenting, etc., on automatic numbering often have been painful and unreliable.

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    5 Star Lounger st3333ve's Avatar
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    Re: 0 left margin OK? (Word 2002 SP-2)

    Yes, I probably should have mentioned that the modified Heading styles that are resetting themselves include outline numbering (albeit outline numbering set up in the "correct" digging-to-China fashion), and that the negative indents are applied as part of the numbering style.

    Based on a little more experience of my own, I'm disinclined to set my left margin to 0 as the "solution". I'm somewhat encouraged by Hans's report. Maybe after I get more "settled" in Word (i.e., stop editing my templates so much and mostly just use them), my modified Heading (and other) styles will more-or-less "stabilize" (even if they include both outline numbering and negative indents).

    Incidentally, I'm still looking for a copy of the well-known "How to cure Word's list numbering with a dose of VBA" article, which apparently is no longer posted at the location all the links point to. In its absence, can anyone tell me if (1) the author had found a way to use VBA to render a style-with-numbering more or less rock-solid (i.e., a "permanent" cure), or (2) the relevant cure is a cure that you apply repeatedly, each time a particular style goes sideways on you?

    If it's the former, can someone familiar with the technique post the relevant trick(s) here?

    If it's the latter, is the chronic cure simply to create a macro that recreates the applicable style, or is there more to it than that?

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    Re: 0 left margin OK? (Word 2002 SP-2)

    In my experience it is the latter - the macros fix it WHEN the numbering goes sideways. I don't think there is a way to fix it permanently because the numbering is not fully contained in the document but relies on the user's registry for some information.

    The only way I know to permanently fix it is to convert the autonumbers to hard coded numbers.
    Andrew Lockton, Chrysalis Design, Melbourne Australia

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    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Re: 0 left margin OK? (Word 2002 SP-2)

    Two places to look for missing web pages are (1) the "cached" version at Google, typically available at the bottom of the description for the search result; and (2) Archive.org, which works best for content that remains stable over long periods of time.

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