11 About Paragraph Breaks and Tabs

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Understanding exactly how Writer treats paragraphs is the first step in understanding Writer's formatting capabilities. Knowing exactly where a paragraph begins and ends is not always obvious. For example, in the next figure, it appears that the document has three paragraphs.

Before You Begin

1 Set Writer Options

10 About the Rulers


See Also

13 Apply Paragraph Formatting


If you glance at the screen or print the document, three paragraphs certainly appear to be there. As far as your readers are concerned, the document does contain three paragraphs. Nevertheless, as far as Writer is concerned , this particular document contains only a single paragraph! Clicking the Nonprinting characters button on this particular document shows nonprinting characters that reveal this document contains only a single paragraph, as the following figure shows.

NOTE

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The nonprinting characters enable you to see the hidden elements that Writer uses to determine where certain formatting should begin and end (see 4 Type Text into a Document ).


You can press Shift+Enter to start a new line without starting a new paragraph. The newline nonprinting character will appear when you turn on nonprinting characters. Without the nonprinting characters appearing, it looks as though the document will have multiple paragraphs.

Seeing isn't always believing ”how many paragraphs are in this document?

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Only one paragraph mark appears, meaning that Writer views the entire document as one long paragraph.

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You won't want to create an entire document this way. There are times, though, when you want to do this so that Writer formats all the lines uniformly as though they were different paragraphs. In other words, if you are typing a section of text that is more than one paragraph, and you want to format that section differently from the rest of the document, one way to do so is to keep the text all one paragraph. You'll press Shift+Enter to give the lines the look of multiple paragraphs, but Writer will see them as being only one. Then, any paragraph formatting you apply to the text ”either from the ruler (see 10 About the Rulers ) or from the Paragraph formatting dialog box (see 13 Apply Paragraph Formatting) ”applies to all the text in that section. You won't have to format more than one paragraph individually.

TIP

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Another advantage of keeping a section as one long paragraph is if you make a paragraph adjustment to the text later, your change applies to all the text and you won't have to apply the change multiple times over multiple paragraphs.


KEY TERM

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Section ” A block of document text that contains its own formatting, including possible headers and footers, that will differ from surrounding text.


This multiparagraph trick using Shift+Enter is wonderful to remember for the times when you have a couple or more paragraphs that you may need to adjust formatting for later. If, however, you have several paragraphs to format differently from surrounding text, or even a page or more of text, you may be better off creating a new section for that text. You can then easily change the formatting of all the paragraphs in that section without affecting the surrounding text. 14 Set Up Page Formatting discusses sections in more detail.

Tab stops are critical in most documents. Tab stops enable you to align values consistently across multiple lines. Also, when you use a tab stop, you don't have to press the spacebar many times to jump to the right on a line. Tab stops enable you to start paragraphs with an indented first line. Writer supports four kinds of tab stops, as detailed in Table 3.1.

Table 3.1. Writer's Four Tab Stops

Tab Stop

Description

Left tab

After you press Tab , the insertion point jumps to that tab stop and the text you then type appears to the right of the tab stop's position. A left tab is the tab most people are familiar with and use.

Right tab

After you press Tab , the insertion point jumps to that tab stop and the text you then type appears to the left of the tab stop's position. In other words, as you type the text moves left toward the left margin, against the tab stop. A right tab stop is useful for page or chapter numbers in a list because it ensures that the right edge of the numbers will align together.

Decimal tab

After you press Tab , the insertion point jumps to that tab stop and the numeric values you then type will position themselves so that the decimal points all align on multiple lines.

Centered tab

After you press Tab , the insertion point jumps to that tab stop and the text you then type adjusts to remain centered around the tab stop.


Use the ruler to set and change tab stops.

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To set a tab stop, use either the ruler or the Tab dialog box. You can click the Tab selection button on the ruler to select which tab stop you want to place. Every time you click the Tab selection button, the symbol changes to a different kind of tab stop. When you then click anywhere on the ruler, that kind of tab appears on the ruler where you click.

To use the Tab dialog box, double-click the ruler or select Format, Paragraph to display the Paragraph dialog box. Click the Tabs tab to display the Tabs page.

The Tabs page enables you to set tabs for the current paragraph.

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Table 3.2 describes each of the options in the Tabs page.

Table 3.2. The Tabs Page Options

Option

Description

Position

Enables you to enter individual measurement values, such as . 25 " , to represent one-fourth of an inch. After you type a value, click New to add that value to the list of tab settings. To clear an existing tab stop, select the value and click Delete . Click Delete All to clear the entire tab list.

Type

Determines the type of tab stop (such as a left tab stop) that you want to place.

Character

A character you want Writer to use as the decimal separator for decimal tab stops.

Fill Character

Leading characters that you want to appear, if any, between values and tab stops. The fill character forms a path for the eye to follow across the page within a tab stop. For example, a fill of dotted lines often connects goods to their corresponding prices in a price list.


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Sams Teach Yourself OpenOffice.org All In One
Sams Teach Yourself OpenOffice.org All In One
ISBN: 0672326183
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2003
Pages: 205
Authors: Greg Perry

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