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  1. #1
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    Section break / Style (Word 2000)

    I've noticed a slight difference in the way a section break (page or continuous) when inserting on between two existing paragraphs. This is especially notable if the paragraphs involve Heading styles which are linked to a numbering scheme. (Or any other family of styles that might be linked to numbering.)

    If the cursor is at the end of an existing paragraph, the section break appears, and there is no style positioned next to it in the Style Width area. However, if the cursor is positioned at the beginning of a paragraph, or at the end of the document, the section break appears, and the style's name appears in the Style area.

    In the former instance (cursor is at the end of the paragraph when break is inserted), I can see where the break is perhaps "doubling" as the paragraph mark, similar to an end of cell mark in a table. There is no style next to it, since the style indicator appears next to the first line of the paragraph as is normally the case.

    I don't, however, see the reason for a style on the section break inserted at the beginning of a paragraph. It doesn't make sense to me that a section break (as opposed to the individual paragraphs of a section) have a style applied to it. Can someone explain this to me?

    I assume that the style is real.... despite the fact that I don't see a reason for it, and despite that fact that a difference situation occurs in slightly different circumstances.

    Assuming it is "real", I can also assume that one would not want to have a heading level style applied to it, lest the numbering be thrown off. This does not appear to occur, but this sort of danger always seems to be unapparent.

    If anyone can offer some insight into this, I would appreciate it.

    Thanks,
    Richard Barrett

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    Re: Section break / Style (Word 2000)

    Hi Richard:

    I have Word 2000, but do not get the same behavior that you describe (maybe I haven't had enough coffee <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15>). You are correct that the section break contains paragraph formatting. Suppose you have two paragraphs in style 1 & the next in style 2. If you place the cursor at the end of style 1 paragraph & insert a continuous section break, the next style is also style 1. If you place it at the beginning of the style 2 paragraph, you insert a paragraph with style 2 just before the section break.

    If the cursor is at the end of a paragraph & a section break is inserted, the cursor goes to the next line (after the section break) before the paragraph mark. However, there is a style listed in the margin (assuming Word is set up to display style width areas in normal view) next to the section break.

    When the cursor is at the beginning of the paragraph & a section break is inserted, the cursor stays with the paragraph. However, a paragraph mark is inserted (with the same style) just above it & above the section break, similar to the result as if you had pressed <enter>. You can arrow up one line & start typing; you will get a new paragraph with a style that's identical to the one below it. The style width box will list it. I should add that I haven't reviewed any documentation on this, but I am missing the inconsistency.

    Insofar as numbering is concerned, assuming you have Heading 1 outline numbering applied, you can remove numbering on a given heading paragraph, so this behavior seems consistent (not that Word's numbering is consistent <img src=/S/laugh.gif border=0 alt=laugh width=15 height=15>.

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    Re: Section break / Style (Word 2000)

    I see what's up with this. Inserting a break works slightly differently than simply adding a new paragraph by hitting Enter at the end of an existing paragraph. When hitting Enter, the rule for next paragraph style is followed. When inserting a break, it creates a new paragraph of the same style, disregarding the rule for the style for next paragraph. Easy enough.

    But when the cursor is at the beginning of a paragraph, hitting Enter or inserting a break actually splits the paragraph into two paragraphs. And when inserting a break, one of those resulting paragraphs is empty, and is indicated by the section break. Of course that paragraph has a style, and if a numbered heading style was applied to the existing paragraph, that empty paragraph also has that same style.

    But we don't really want an empty paragraph. I would think then that we would want to delete the paragraph mark at the end of the preceeding paragraph, first applying its style to the "empty" paragraph this is indicated by the section break. (Alternatively, the paragraph mark of the previous para could be deleted, and the style adjust should the section break have caused a different style to be applied.)

    Do you think I've got this?

    Thanks.

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    Re: Section break / Style (Word 2000)

    Hi Richard:

    I think you've got it...as much as it can be "got". Word's section breaks work different than paragraph marks in some respects, not just because they hold additional "page" formatting. It's not an intuitive concept.

    For example, you insert a continuous section break & change the margins in that section. Then you change your mind because it doesn't look right. So all you have to do is delete your section break, right? Wrong. Now your previous section has the wrong margins. In previous Word versions, if you had two paragraphs of different styles next to each other & deleted the first paragraph mark, both paragraphs take the style of the second paragraph. That's logical if you understand that a paragraph's formatting is contained in the paragraph mark at the end of the paragraph. In Word 2000 (& I don't recall 97 right now), both paragraphs take the style of the second paragraph. That's the opposite behavior from section breaks. I've heard that Microsoft made those changes because of complaints in their "usability" labs.

    So when I said before that I didn't see the inconsistency, I need to revise that. There really isn't consistency <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15>.

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    Re: Section break / Style (Word 2000)

    Thanks, Phil.

    All of this started when a word processing manager told me that ALL section breaks must be in normal style (to avoid numbering problems), and asked for a macro to do that.

    Obviously, the situation was overstated. If we apply normal style to a section break, we may be losing the style which we want for the parragraph that the section break is tied to, i.e. follows. What we probably want to do is make sure that there aren't any extraneous paragraphs before or after a section break. That makes more sense, don't you think?

    Here's a question that comes to mind.... In VBA, how would I determine whether a paragraph, say the paragraph in which the insertion point is currently sitting, is a typical paragraph, or a paragraph which is delineated by a section break instead of a paragraph mark? In other words, the last paragraph of a section?

    Thanks.

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    Re: Section break / Style (Word 2000)

    Phil.... Here's something else I noticed.

    In print layout view, you cannot see that a paragraph which terminates with a section mark is really a paragraph. It looks like it's part of the paragraph below it if you are using paragraph marks as your guide, and one normally would be. If you add the paragraph mark, nothing changes in the layout, but the document now has an additional paragraph if you use VBA to count them. And upon returning to normal view, there is an extra paragraph mark, indicating the end of the paragraph prior to the section mark.

    It would appear that an "empty" section mark is not quite the same as an empty paragraph. It doesn't take up space, it doesn't consume a number in the sequence of numbered paragraphs... until and unless it has at least one character typeed into it.. I suppose that's the danger.

    I still think the original problem was overstated. Is there are rule about making sure that a section break is alway preceeded by a paragraph mark so that it doesn't "double" as a paragraph? That would make sense... but it's one of those things that surely would not make sense to a user!

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    Re: Section break / Style (Word 2000)

    Hi Richard:

    I'm not a VBA expert, so I can't answer your question. If no one jumps in here, try posting on the VBA board.

    Hope this helps.

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