Monday, July 25, 2011

Styles, Numbers, and Bullets...Global Changes

Continuing on with creating or altering a style, which is a global change, the next selection on the Format drop-down list is Frame. The dialog addresses how text wraps around a graphic. I’m going to skip this particular dialog because it’s difficult for just about any level of user to get a good result from trying to text wrap around a graphic. Far too many things can go wrong. I’ve already given you the workaround; that is, use a table, which should suffice in most instances. See Tables Aren’t Just for Lists. It is by the way what is actually used in professional settings. Even the pros don’t want to fiddle around with text wrapping, which should be your first hint that it is a pain in the butt.


Following Frame is Numbering; that is, the numbering and bullet dialogs. Word provides numbering and bullet styles as part of its default list of every style it thinks you should ever need or want. See A Style forEvery Season to see how you display all of Word’s predefined styles. The reason you might want to visit these dialogs is to make a global change to the type of numbering (Arabic vs. Roman) or bullet (a big dot vs. a checkmark). 

Numbering can be used extensively in a family history to list members of families in birth order. My suggestion is that you generate your family history from your genealogy program and then copy and paste the numbered generational lists into your working family history.

Here’s why. Genealogy programs usually generate the text as Rich Text Format (RTF)—making it cross-platform interchangable. That means you can use it almost anywhere and not have it change when you plaste the text. Ifyou try to enter generational numbering on your own, getting the numbering to work automatically (and right!) can be a challenge. If you copy and paste the RTF versions of the generational lists, you get numbering that is text based and not automatic so it shouldn’t change automatically to follow the auto numbering built into Word…a real advantage!

In addition, when you copy text from an RTF document, it most likely will have the Normal style applied to it. You can build a style that is for these generational lists only so that you can match the font, font size, indent, etc. of your working document. When you apply the generational list sytle, your numbering is still treated as if it was plain text. You can apply Name character styles to the surnames in the list. You can delete the bits of text you don’t want or add bits that you do want. The point is that you can do anything you want with the numbered generational list once you get it into your working family history sans auto numbering.
Bullets are rarely seen within a family history. However, because of my business writing backgroud, I do use them when I’m writing. Bulletted lists are a way to present an unordered list.
For example, when my family began to systematically buy land centered on one roadway in Randolph County, Illinois, I used a bulletted list to present the acuqisitions. Each bullet contained land releated info (legal description), the date it was purchased, and by which of the McKee brothers it was purchased. I did put the acquisitions in the order of the date on which it was accquired; however, this arrangement was simply a way for me to see how their holdings grew.  I could have accomplished the same task by using titles; however, bullets made each accquisition stand out in running text in a different way than a title would.
Also, I’m not a direct enough descendant to use the McKee family coat of arms. However, if I were, you can bet I would turn one of the three bears that appear on it into a bullet (picture) to decorate my family history.  I suppose I could throw caution to the wind and be a crass American and do it anyway…custom be damned! If you decide to create your own bullet and you get lost, post to this blog and I’ll write more instructions.

Next we're going to start talking about creating templates.

1 comment:

  1. Informative.. And i hope this methods will work for me. Thanks you. And i am looking forward for more information from you.
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