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A MS Word formatting question

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by Caged Maiden, Apr 14, 2016.

  1. Caged Maiden

    Caged Maiden Staff Article Team

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    Hi all, I had a quick question.

    To those of you who use Word to write, I'm having a formatting problem in some cases. Let me try to explain, because I know my way around the program for the most part, but I have a few specific issues I hope you can help with.

    First, I do a lot of cutting and pasting. Sometimes it's just around one document, but more often, I'll take things from an old document and then paste them into a revision because it makes editing easier to start with "something" and edit from there. When I do that, I sometimes have different formatting that comes along with the pasted portion. Even if I select "match destination formatting" which confuses me. Is there any way to simply change a section to match the formatting of another section without reformatting the whole document with Select All and then selecting everything specific? As in, I'd like to format every section to match, but I don't want to have to redo all the formatting I've chosen that doesn't match the body of the text. Things like centered type, italics, extra spaces between chapters, etc..

    The next issue is with the last lines of pages. I don't know what it's called (I thought it was widows and orphans, but now I'm not sure), but basically, when I get to the bottom of a page, if the line I'm typing is more than a single line (all that'll fit), it moves both lines to the next page. The program will only allow me to keep text on the first page if it fits within the page boundaries, and if it doesn't, it'll take sometimes two or three lines and move them all to the next page. Which is seriously annoying if you're counting pages because agents request 30 for a query or whatever.

    Is that a widows and orphans problem, or do I need to look elsewhere? And if it is a widows and orphans issue, which selection do I have to click to just let each line fall where it may on my pages, because this sucks and I'd like the pages to all look uniform, even if it means that only the last three words of a sentence ends up on the next page. The reason why is because I do cutting in stages and things move frequently, especially when I cut a few paragraphs here or there, or whatever.

    THANKS!
     
  2. Geo

    Geo Troubadour

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    Hello CM

    -For your first problem, I find that using "Paste as Unformatted Text" is the best way to go, specially if your are copy-pasting between different versions of Word or different systems (you know: -edit -paste special -paste as unformatted text, but you can create a shortcut, I have ctrl U for that).

    The reason why "match destination formatting" is doing weird things could be that if you have been copy-pasting for long your destination document may already have many hidden formats, or it is also possible that you have define a Normal Style for this document that is not the default Normal Style (you could check that), hence creating conflicts.

    -For your second problem, yes it sounds like you have widow-orphan kind of problem. In the version of word I use (12.3.6 for Mac) if I want to avoid the carrying of sentences to create whole paragraphs in the next page (which appears to be what you described), I un-check the widow/orphan control option, and its done.

    Hope this helps.
     
  3. Geo

    Geo Troubadour

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    Sorry forgot to answer this one:

    Yes there is, it's called "Format Painter" the icon is a little blue brush (you can carry it to the tool bar from the edit section)

    With that at hand the only thing you need to do is to go to a section that has the format you want, select that section (just make sure all the selected section has the same format, and you don't need a big section general I select 2-3 lines) then press on the aforementioned icon and then you can carry the chosen format to whatever section you select next. Easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy
     
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  4. Caged Maiden

    Caged Maiden Staff Article Team

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    Yeah, I'll have to try that. I have Word for mac, but it's from about 2010, so not sure which version it is or whether that matters. Some of this was written on the mac and some on a PC laptop, so I'm sure there were conflicts when I pasted, depending on original formatting. I'll give theses a try and see what happens. I'm tired of each chapter being formatted differently, depending on where I pasted things. IN the original text I was using double spaces after periods and five spaces to begin new paragraphs, and I've been able to find/ replace those fine, but then I can't get a new paragraph to begin with a tab after, i have to actually hit Tab.I know it's a small thing, but it gets distracting, and then when some pages are creating orphans and not others...aak, I just want it all to be the same!
     
  5. Geo

    Geo Troubadour

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    For the tab spacing at the beginning of each paragraph, go to
    -Format
    --Paragraph
    ---Indents and spacing
    select Special-First line and they choose the tab length and will be automatic from then on.

    But since you are pasting so much I would recommend to go to
    -Format
    -Style
    And create a new Normal Style (that you can name differently I call mine Fantasy so I immediately know what's on when I start writing, and don't mix up format between work stuff and personal stuff)
    Then choose all you need from spacing to line control and make it a default. Apply it to the document you are editing and done, you don't have to worry anymore.
     
  6. Caged Maiden

    Caged Maiden Staff Article Team

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    Yeah, I don't have a "Format Painter" button, and I've just tried pasting as RTF and non-formatted text, and the same stupid thing happens. Some lines are indented with a tab (maybe because I had to press "tab" on those lines0 and others go all the way back to right justified lines with no indent.

    This is stupid. I just can't seem to figure out how to take out the tabs and then indent every paragraph again with a formatted indent. I think this was easier on the PC version of Word I was using up until last summer, when I bought this Mac.

    My biggest concern is that when i paste this story into say, a nano excerpt, some lines indent with a tab and others don't have an indent (same as i'm having happen now), and I can't seem to find any way to overcome the lack of formatting in those areas, or the converse, remove the tabs. I might be able to simply find/replace the tabs out, but then how do I get the indents to go in the right places?
     
  7. Penpilot

    Penpilot Staff Article Team

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    Hey CM

    One thing you could try is stripping all the formatting before you paste something in. There are a lot of simple ways to do this. You could save the old document as a simple .txt file. And cut and paste from there. Or you could cut from old doc, paste into notepad, then copy from notepad into Word and match style.
     
  8. Incanus

    Incanus Auror

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    Hey cool. I didn't know about the widow/orphan thing before. I've never liked that it moves my paragraphs at the tops and bottoms of pages around.

    Thanks CM and Geo!
     
  9. Geo

    Geo Troubadour

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    Ok I think I know what it's happening.

    First, yes there are differences between PC word and Mac Word, mostly about how things are organized and how to find things but not to worry, soon you'll know how to do everything, just be aware than not all your PC tricks and shortcuts will work the same in a Mac. Also, the Mac 2010 Word was significantly different than previous versions for both Mac and PC, and even newer version for PC, which sucks because it makes your life difficult.

    Second, you may have to customize your toolbar to get the "Format Painter Button" This video is a good tutorial for doing that How to Customize the Quick Access Toolbar in Word 2010 - YouTube

    Third, to make sure all the format of your document is homogeneous you need to check that the Style applied through the document is the same, otherwise you need to change it from the control panel so that it is automatically applied throughout all the document and to any pasted material Here another tutorial. Word 2011 Mac Styles - YouTube

    Sorry you're having to do all this, software-related frustrations are the worst. The great thing is that you only have to re-style your document once and after that all modification are done directly from the control panel and all through the document.

    By the way, changing the format from the original text (before pasting) is not going to help, because automatic formatting is your problem, and that is not at the source but at destination.
     
  10. Penpilot

    Penpilot Staff Article Team

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    Here's how I think helps. It stops you from cluttering up your document with a Frankenstein of formats and whatever else gets brought over from the copy-paste.

    What I do to avoid these formatting issues is first I create template document that has everything formatted how I like. Second, when I create a new document I simply open the template and use save-as to create a new file.

    Then when I paste into this document, I strip the formatting from the source before pasting in. This way I avoid bringing in conflicting characters and the Frankenstein format problem, and most of all, I don't have to dig into the idiosyncrasies of Word. Which sometimes I find is like sitting on a cattleprod.

    From my experience, the amount of time I've spend trying to fix formatting when stuff like this happens is greater than the time spent starting with a fresh document, with only the plain text, and quickly going through and reformatting stuff.

    It's definitely less frustrating.


    That's just my take. Truthfully, I only use word as a tool for my grammar checks now. I migrated over to Scrivener a while ago. It has an export function that allows me to generally avoid these issues.
     
  11. Geo

    Geo Troubadour

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    I do agree, it helps you by keeping the document clear of weird formats... totally true. That is why the first thing I suggested her was to paste as unformatted text. What I meant with my comment is that, since the unformatted option didn't work for her specific problem, removing formats in the original document won't either.

    Now, starting a new document is a great option, and so it is to "Select all" and reformat the entire document you already have to whatever new template and style you want. However, if you make the formatting using the Styles and Format Document tools and set whatever you like as the Default you also prevent the problem from happening again as you keep copying and pasting from older/different sources (no Frankenstein formats because they are override by the default).

    It's all about how much you have to copy paste, and how long you plan to work on a document. Personally the less versions of the same thing I have the better, less confusion. That's why creating new files all the time doesn't work for me.

    Different methods, similar results.
     
  12. Caged Maiden

    Caged Maiden Staff Article Team

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    Okay, so let's say for the current conversation that I have a Frankenstein document. AND that i'm frustrated because in some chapters I don't have to press tab to indent and in others I do. I'm going to try the things you guys suggested, and if it doesn't work, would one of you smart people format my thing for me? AAK! On the PC I never had this problem, because the tools were all easy to use and find. On this version I'm really ready to punch my screen.

    Oh, and document storage caused me a lot of sweat and a few tears when I got this Mac. Now, I just do everything in Finder and it's easy. Sometimes I still forget, though and try to save things places and miss, and then you know have to go in and find things and move them in Finder because Word doesn't let me move docs around from where they're sitting.

    Just a question, I have a blank Word doc that I set up for critters.org and it's blank and anything pasted into it is in text only. Do you think that might be an option? To just paste it into that doc and match style with no formatting? I've gotten a lot of weird results messing with this today, but I don't want to screw up my document and then have a bigger mess I thought I could fix.
     
  13. Penpilot

    Penpilot Staff Article Team

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    Hey CM

    The way I described is the brute force way of doing things. The way Geo is describing is the finesse way.

    I'm running Word 2010 on a PC and I double checked this and it works on my computer.

    Here's a step-by-step on what I'd do.
    1 - Open your document.
    2 - resave your document as a .txt file. For precaution's sake give it a slightly different name.
    3 - Close your original document then open the new .txt file. The paragraphs and indents will be retained, but all other formatting will be gone, including font.
    4 - Now you do two different things.
    4.1 - Save this document in what ever format you regularly work with .doc or .docx. Now you have a document in what ever your default formatting is. You should now be able to change the formatting without weird interactions. It will be like you wrote the whole document using the default format.
    OR
    4.2 - Copy and paste from .txt file into that blank word doc you mentioned and have it adopt that file's formatting. You will probably still need to go through to double check indents.

    If you can't get this to work. I'll gladly strip all the formatting out for you, so you can reformat from scratch. But honestly, if a dumbass like me can do it, it should be a breeze for you.
     
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  14. Caged Maiden

    Caged Maiden Staff Article Team

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    You guys are my heroes.
     
  15. Caged Maiden

    Caged Maiden Staff Article Team

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    Thanks, Penpilot, I followed your instructions and have formatted the original document from 2008 (originally written on a notebook, then on a Mac, then on a PC, and now back on a Mac...HA!) and it looks great! Well, you know...the formatting looks great, the story not so nice, but at least I can continue my rewrite, now that i"m no longer freaking out over having to hit Tab in some sections and not others. And Geo, thanks for your help. Im' totally going to work with Show Formatting, I never knew that existed, only having used it in Compare Documents.
     
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