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  1. #1
    5 Star Lounger
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    zero width space

    Hi,

    I've been looking for a method to insert line break opportunities, for example to make Word2000 break some text after a slash, as in "import/
    export". Now I've come across the "zero width space", Unicode U+200B = ChrW(8203). <img src=/S/bingo.gif border=0 alt=bingo width=15 height=22> And it works perfectly!
    That character even has its own display when you set the view to show all formatting characters: it shows up as two brown boxes, one inside the other <img src=/S/cool.gif border=0 alt=cool width=15 height=15>. You don't need any special, big unicode font for it, but can format it in any font you like.
    For my example above, you could search for "/", replace with "/Alt-8203" (type slash, then type Alt-8203).

    I'm wondering why it doesn't appear in "Insert|Symbol|Special characters", and why it doesn't seem to be documented anywhere.

    Has anybody seen this character in the wild, used it, or has seen some information about it?

    Regards, Klaus

  2. #2
    JustCallMeAl
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    Re: zero width space

    One reason why you may not have seen anything about it is because Unicode was introduced in Windows 98. If you use a Unicode character (one like you are mentioning) and the electronic file of the document goes to a Windows 95 computer, it will show up as a square, empty box.

    Now, you say, certainly people should have upgraded to at least Windows 98. Our experience answers not so. [img]/forums/images/smilies/sad.gif[/img]

  3. #3
    3 Star Lounger
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    Re: zero width space

    I read a post from a user at the Adobe Acrobat forum yesterday that was using Windows 3.1.
    The postings on this site are my own and do not necessarily represent the position or opinion of WCNOC.

  4. #4
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    Re: zero width space

    Hi Al, hi Gary

    Thank you for the replies.

    I killed Word95/97 from my hard disk <img src=/S/rubbish.gif border=0 alt=rubbish width=15 height=15> after trying them out for a few weeks (lots of wasted money for some bug-infested pieces of software, especially if you used macros and worked with tables <img src=/S/aflame.gif border=0 alt=aflame width=15 height=15>. I guess the main reason people still use them is that they have invested so much time to fix all the bugs with service packs and work-arounds <img src=/S/wink.gif border=0 alt=wink width=15 height=15>). I still have my old Word6.0a to run some old macros.
    Word2000SR1 is a stable version again that I'll probably stay with for some time.

    I think that the "zero width space" is pretty useful for Word2000 users. Usually, words with a slash between them are treated as one word and are broken to the next line if they don't fit (like for example URLs). So it's nice to have a method to make Word break the line after the slash (without inserting a hyphen).

    Word 2000 does list the "No Width Optional Break" in "Insert | Symbol | Special characters". That's not really an optional break at all, it's U+200C, the "zero width non joiner", which is used in arabic and other cursive scripts to break up ligatures. It has no meaning whatsoever in english text <img src=/S/nope.gif border=0 alt=nope width=15 height=15>.

    <img src=/S/shrug.gif border=0 alt=shrug width=39 height=15> So I'm wondering why they put that in, and not the useful character "zero width space"?

    Greetings, Klaus

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