Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Modify Style...Picking Some Paragraph-Related Selections

Sorry for the break. All of the pieces came together for the Florida State Genealogical Society newsletter (I'm the editor), and I needed to put it to bed. I just sent the print version to the printer and so it's back to talking about modifying styles.

In the last post, we were talking about the formatting line on the Modify Style dialog.
  • As a reminder, changes you make on the Modify Style dialog are global and work when you apply the style to text.
  • As a reminder, changes you make on any other dialog or menu are local and work only for selected text; that is, one instance.
The line immediately below the formatting options are for paragraph formatting. You can make paragraph-related selections on this part of the dialog. Or, you can make the same changes on the Paragraph option dialog that appears when you click the Format button on the Modify Style.

The first set of icons are for text alignment: Left, Center, Right, and Justified. For most styles (headers and body text), you're going to pick left alignment; the text feeds left to right. The center alignment is frequently used for graphics; therefore, if you were creating a style for your graphics, you might want to pick the center alignment. If you do happen to type text, the text centers itself between the right and left margin. The right alignment is frequently used for text in a header or footer; the text feeds right to left. The right alignment is also used to align columns of numbers; for example, the columns in an invoice. The justified alignment adjusts the spacing between words so that the right and left margins are perfect. While this might contribute to an aesthetic value for your document, justification makes text difficult to read because the spacing is no longer proportional and predictable between words.

Line Spacing
The second set of icons are for line spacing: Single Spacing, 1.5 Spacing, and Double Spacing. For the most part I use single spacing. Of note, if you are using Word 2007 or 2010, you'll find that if you look on the Paragraph dialog (click Format, and then Paragraph) that body text styles are set to Multiple 1.15. So your spacing between lines is .15 inches more than the normal single spacing.

Paragraph Spacing
The third set of icons are also for spacing; however, these icons can be used to increase or decrease the space between paragraphs. Adding space before and after paragraphs creates the white space you need to create a visual break between paragraphs. Many users just hit return twice and leave an empty line, which contributes to document bloat...something I've already talked about.

Indent from Left Margin
The fourth set of icons are used to create an indent from the left margin. Each time you click one of the icons, the left margin for the indent moves one half inch by default.

Preview and Description
Each change you make appears in the preview pane below. In addition, the description of the style appears below the Preview pane. This description changes as you make changes and this description appears when you point your cursor at a style in the Styles (or Styles and Formatting) pane when you are applying styles to text.

Next Post
In my next post, I'll talk about the options appearing at the bottom of the Modify Style dialog, and then we'll be moving to the options that appear when you click the Format button. Each of the Format options displays an additional dialog...some more interesting and useful than others.

In the meantime...for your amusement...Google updated Blogger and introduced...horrors!...new buttons that I'm having to learn to deal with. The interesting thing is that Google has picked icons that are a lot like the ones I use in MS Word and several other programs. So I can use my Word experience to make educated guesses on how to use the new toy that Google has given me.

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