Re: Wandering Lines


Microsoft Word is like a pimply teenager that wears its hat backwards and
plays music too loud. One of you is going to be in charge. Your life will
improve a lot if you decide that it's going to be you.

Being scared of it is not appropriate: other people won't help you if you're
too scared to try things. They will make life "simpler" for you -- they
will write your book for you, sell it for you, and take the money for you,
and put it in their bank where you don't have to worry about it :-) You may
decide that this is not going to help YOU :-)

A Style is simply a name given to a collection of formatting.

Look at your document and mentally divide it into "Kinds" of paragraphs.
You have a kind named "Headings", you have a kind named header, you have a
kind named footer, you have a kind named "body text". You will find that
Word already has styles named after the kinds of paragraphs that crop up in
the vast majority of documents. Customise the styles so the formatting of
each kind of paragraph is the way you want it.

Use the same style names for each of your documents, but use different
templates to set the formatting of the whole collection of styles for each
kind of document. You might have a template named "Book" and one named
"Report" and one named "Letter" -- get the idea? Name things after what
they ARE -- what you use them for.

And be careful of "Normal". Normal anything in Word is Microsoft Euphemism
for "Buggered if I know..." Try not to use Normal for anything unless
you're forced to do so.

There: Now you know everything you need to about styles, get into it... In
a week's time, you'll wonder why you ever did it any other way... You think
I'm joking, don't you?? I'm not!


On 18/11/06 2:35 AM, in article
1163777732.910348.168780@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, "writerwoman"
<writerwoman.cheryl@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:

I'm scared of that "style" thing, John. I'm ashamed of it, but there
you are.

On the one hand, I think: You've scrubbed in on brain surgery -- you
can DO this. On the other hand, I think: This is the astronomical
health insurance premiums money and 180 polished manuscript pages
you're fiddling with here.

I'm going to read some more. Play around with some pages that don't
matter. And try to be brave. MSW is like a willful child to me.
Maybe it will sit still in church and behave, and maybe it'll spitball
half the congregation.


John McGhie [MVP - Word and Word Macintosh] wrote:
Hi Cheryl:

You don't mention: did you make these changes to the "Text" or to the

You need to make the changes to the style(s) you are using. They will then
become your defaults for that document and will not vary. Word does all of
its formatting by "Styles". To make persistent consistent changes, you must
learn to work with the underlying styles, not the direct formatting that can
be applied over the top of them.

If you make the changes directly to the text, anytime you paste you will get
another ticket in the lottery :-)


On 15/11/06 2:01 AM, in article
1163516509.661173.175840@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, "writerwoman"
<writerwoman.cheryl@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:

Daiya (love your name, BTW), Elliot, John, Phillip, Clive:

Once again, thank you for the input and the links. Re: the "must"
number of lines, 25 is the technicians' "wish list" number to make
their lives easier. I wanted to do that for them, but what I needed
more was keep the number of lines per page consistent so I'd know
whether or not I was within the page limit and thus avoid having to

So. Based on all the reading and info, this is what I did:

Page Setup:

Top 1.1"
Bottom 0.9"
Left 1"
Right 0.9"
Gutter 0"
Header 0.5"
Mirror margins unchecked
Apply to: Whole Document

Font Format:

Courier CE 12
Effects unchecked
Character Spacing 100%
Spacing - Normal
Position - Normal
Kerning unchecked

Paragraph Format:

Indents and Spacing:

Alignment (Left)
Outline Level (Body Text)


Left 0"
Right 0"
Special: First Line: 0.5"


Before 0 pt
After 0 pt
Line Spacing: Multiple -- 1.9

(Using the Exact setting causes a kind of "parting of the waters"
visual whenever you cut and paste which is very distracting to me.)

Line and Page Breaks:

Nothing Checked; widows and orphans off.

THEN: I cut and pasted the old document into this new setting document
as unformatted text.

The new settings were supposed to give me 25 lines per page, which it
did. Briefly.

The first time I edited text in the new document, specifically,
corrected a paragraph indentation, the document went to 24 lines per

The good news is that it looks like ALL the pages have 24 lines instead
of the previous "wandering" thing.

I'm thinking I should quit while I'm ahead, sort of, yes?


Clive Huggan wrote:
Sorry, got distracted when writing the first paragraph, line 2, and forgot
to paste in another URL and introductory words: "especially Daiya's
article on using Word to write a book,";

Clive Huggan

On 11/11/06 1:45 PM, in article
C17B847F.21230%REMOVETHISoffice@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, "Clive Huggan"
<REMOVETHISoffice@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

Hello Cheryl,

There are many tips for avoiding the things you mention in your paragraph
on the Word MVPs' website, It takes a while to
overcome them, but the reward is much less wasted billable time (I'm a
management consultant -- don't know what the equivalent term is for a
writer!). I attribute about 20% saved time to the difference between my
methods (read "methods of the document professionals that you'll see in
newsgroup") and the methods of the average person struggling along.

Personally, I haven't heard page length specified in terms of "*must* be
exact number of lines" for many years. As you know, the reality is that
since page layout software will be used for the publishing, "25 lines" is
only indicative of length. In all probability, as soon as your Word
document is put on another computer with a different output device --
especially if it's a PC -- even before the fonts and leading are changed
pagination will be different (which is why a lot of us provide PDFs in
addition to Word documents, since PDFs don't paginate differently on
different computers). So I wonder what you have been told as a
hard-and-fast rule may have some slight leeway in practice? [Please excuse
me if all this is "old hat" to you.]

In relation to the things you [justifiably] complained about in your
paragraph 3: As someone who develops long documents for publication by
graphic designers, I have compiled some notes on the way I use Word for
Mac, titled "Bend Word to Your Will". They are available as a free
from the Word MVPs' website
( Take a look at
Appendix A: The main "minimum maintenance" features of my documents --
in passing explains why Word doesn't stick to fixed pagination but how you
can format it to do marvellous things such as have headings automatically
follow their subordinate text so they don't get widowed, etc etc. "Bend
to your Will" also discusses setting up Word to reduce annoyances ("To
control Word, first dumb it down, then smarten it up", starting on page
and, if you aren't yet into styles, "Styles and templates ‹ the keys to
consistency and saving time" starting on page 86.

[Note: "Bend Word to your will" is designed to be used electronically and
most subjects are self-contained dictionary-style entries. If you decide
read more widely than the item I've referred to, it's important to read
front end of the document -- especially pages 3 and 5 -- so you can select
some Word settings that will allow you to use the document effectively.]


Clive Huggan
Canberra, Australia
(My time zone is 5-11 hours different from the US and Europe, so my
follow-on responses to those regions can be delayed)
Avoid long delays before your post appears -- use Entourage or newsreader
software -- see

On 11/11/06 1:43 AM, in article
1163169830.710198.32650@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, "writerwoman"
<writerwoman.cheryl@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:

Thanks, everyone, for the input.

As to why I need the 25 lines per page, it has to do with turning in
professional-looking, hard copy manuscripts (old habits die hard and
the publishing industry isn't "paperless" yet) and keeping the
technicians happy. Apparently, it makes their lives easier if
manuscripts are formatted at 25 lines per page. I'm not sure why, but
I believe them when they say so.

In any event, word count per se isn't the goal anymore. It's staying
within an allotted number of pages in the final published book so that
the promos for other books can be accommodated. It's harder for me to
know if I've done that if the lines aren't consistent, and it can cause
an editor to decide you need to cut "x" number of pages when actually
you don't. OR you can end up with a book being printed in a smaller
font so that the manuscript fits the number of pages allowed -- which
turns readers off and impacts my grocery money. (Read: Trouble and
heartache all around.)

It would be better for me if I'd never used the Mac version of Corel's
WordPerfect. It minded its own business and let me tend to mine -- no
wandering lines, no changing to fonts in the middle of a document for
no discernible reason, no "cheat sheets" just to format a simple
manuscript page, no "cut and paste" surprises of any kind. And I
never had cause to talk to it. Unfortunately, with Microsoft Word I
find myself saying the same two things all the time: "What!!!!?" and
"Oh, no!!!!!!"


John McGhie [MVP - Word and Word Macintosh] wrote:
If you do all that Daiya and Elliott suggest, I would make one extra
setting: Set the Line Height of the styles you are using to 140 per
the height of your font.

If you are typing in 10 points text, set the line height to 14 points

This allows for the ascenders and descenders that reach above and below
base line. For example: The lower case j has a descender that
below the line. The Accented I has an ascender that extends above the
Unless you force the line height high enough to accommodate both, word
do it automatically if any of those characters appear on the line, and
line heights will not be uniform.

I'm wondering WHY you need to do this? It's a highly unusual
and I have a nasty feeling that even if you succeed, the result will not
what you intended. Why does it matter how many "lines" you have on a

Hope this helps

On 7/11/06 2:26 AM, in article
1162826814.337685.218720@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, "writerwoman"
<writerwoman.cheryl@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:

I'm running a iMac G5 with Tiger 10.4.8 and Mac MS Word 2004.

I'm having a problem getting a consistent number of lines per page in
large documents. I've tried the pre-set double space setting and
several custom settings, but the lines still "wander." Some pages will
have 25 lines (which is what I desperately need), others will have 23
or 24. I've tried "Select All" re-formatting. I've tried cutting and
pasting into a new blank document. I've tried swearing. I haven't
tried voodoo or drop-kicking the MS Word program into the front yard.

Thanks in advance for any help or suggestions.



Please reply to the newsgroup to maintain the thread. Please do not
me unless I ask you to.

John McGhie <john@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Microsoft MVP, Word and Word for Macintosh. Business Analyst,
Technical Writer.
Sydney, Australia +61 (0) 4 1209 1410


Please reply to the newsgroup to maintain the thread. Please do not email
me unless I ask you to.

John McGhie <john@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Microsoft MVP, Word and Word for Macintosh. Business Analyst, Consultant
Technical Writer.
Sydney, Australia +61 (0) 4 1209 1410


Please reply to the newsgroup to maintain the thread. Please do not email
me unless I ask you to.

John McGhie <john@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Microsoft MVP, Word and Word for Macintosh. Business Analyst, Consultant
Technical Writer.
Sydney, Australia +61 (0) 4 1209 1410


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