11. About Paragraph Breaks and Tabs
BEFORE YOU BEGIN
1 Set Writer Options
10 About the Rulers
13 Apply Paragraph Formatting
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.
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.
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 ).
Seeing isn't always believinghow many paragraphs are in this document?
Only one paragraph mark appears, meaning that Writer views the entire document as one long paragraph.
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.
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 texteither 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.
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.
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.
Section A block of document text that contains its own formatting, including possible headers and footers, that will differ from surrounding text.
Tab stops are critical in most documents. Tab stops enable you to align values consistently across multiple lines. Also, when you use a tabstop, you don't have to press the spacebar many times to jump to the right spot on a line. Tab stops enable you to start paragraphs with an indented first line. Writer supports four types of tab stops, as detailed in Table 3.1.
Table 3.1. Writer's Four Types of Tab Stops
Use the ruler to set and change tab stops.
To set a tab stop, use either the ruler or the Tabs page in the Paragraph 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 Tabs page, 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.
Table 3.2 describes each of the options in the Tabs page.
Table 3.2. The Tabs Page Options