How do you make it so that Word doesn't automatically indent paragraphs. When I turn the option off and use the tab key, the top bar still autoformats and if I copy the paragraphs into a text editor, they are not indented.
I use my work computer often, so different software is not an option.
I guess it would depend on the version of word, but I have Word 2003 w/ SP3. CTRL + A = selects all of the document. Then above the document window is the ruler/margins. On the left side are three controls, two of them are triangles (one pointing down, one pointing up) and a little block.
Triangle pointing down determines your paragraph indent.
Triangle pointing up determines the margin of the lines below the indent. Ex, if this triangle is to the left of the downward then you have a normal looking, indented paragraph. If it is to the right of the downward then it looks like an outline paragraph.
The block just lets you move both triangles together.
I have Word 2007 for the pc. For half of my story, the top triangle (pointing down) in the ruler is indented. For the other half, my tab key did not move the triangle. It has multiple indenting formats in the same document.
I now realize my username Wordcaster has multiple meanings. I am about to cast Word in the trash.
Make sure your cursor is at the very top of the document before setting global stuff, otherwise it only applies from where the cursor is on down. That leads to mystery changes of formatting like you mention. And since Word doesn't insert control codes at the point of application, but rather uses a sort of flatfield database to point formatting at the relevant line, they can be hard to locate, let alone kill. (That's also why it can't do partial line formatting.)
Turn on Word's primitive notion of Reveal Codes** -- Show Stuff, whatever Word calls it (I don't have it on this machine to look at), to give yourself some cues about what Word thinks is going on.
** I believe that WordPerfect is the One True Wordprocessor, and all others are either pale imitations or heresies.
I just learned this the other day. But up in the toolbar section there is a tab that pulls down that is called styles. You can set it to do pretty much anything. I programmed mine for double space TNR 12 and after a hard return, meaning a new paragraph to indent. Then I saved it as a novel style for my writing. You can do the same so it doesn't indent after a hard return.
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I've received so many Word documents with oddball (and even mixed-per-paragraph) indentation styles that I really should get less annoyed about it than I do. If writers using Word, or whatever software they own, take the time to learn to use its features it will pay off dividends for years to come. It's really very straightforward.
The trick is, you don't indent your paragraphs. Ever. Not manually. Instead, you change the text style so that paragraphs have a hanging indent. And if you really want to be clever, you save all your rules as a template, so that you can simply attach your "manuscript format" template to a document and hey-presto, everything is 12 point courier, on Letter sized paper with 1 inch margins, double spaced and blah blah blah.
Say you want to then submit your story to an editor who takes everything single-spaced in times new roman on A4 with no indent? If you've tab-indented your paragraphs, or messed with the rulers, or otherwise fiddled around, using Word becomes a living hell. How much easier if you could just attach your Editor-X template to every story you sent to them and then walk away from the problem!
So (and the scope of the issue is bigger than a single post, so I'm going to cheat) go to Word help or an online tutorial, and check out about how to modify the Normal style, and how to create a template. Check out how to modify your Paragraph style so that it's got a hanging indent, how to modify your margins in the page set up and so on. Despite what the naysayers who jumped to a Mac or Open Office or whatever will say (many of whom still have problems in thos programs), squillions of people are using Word (as with any product) successfully every day. And once you've learned the tools to the point you can ignore them, well, then it quickly becomes a non-issue.
I just reread your post, Ben. I misunderstood, and I agree. Individual line formatting changes are a pain. I have never worked as an editor but I have to deal with these at times with documents I use for clinical reports, and making needed changes can be hell.
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I created a macro in Word. What you do is record it once, then all you need do is click 'play macro' and all the pre-saved settings are enabled. But lately I've realized I like to make the settings manually. It feels more real.
Not to be a pain but if you do use Word, why don't simply learn how to use it? You can't expect to use a hammer without knowing how.
[This message has been edited by MartinV (edited February 05, 2011).]
I'm pretty familiar with word;however, 2007 was a paradigm shift away from menu driven commands.
It sounds like everyone is using word's paragraph formatting to auto indent paragraphs. I'll delete my tabs (that don't change the ruler up top) and succomb to word. Even when I delete styles, word eventually reverts back to what it wants to do.
How about someone familiar with Word creates a template and puts it somewhere handy for all the Word-using writers to download, or emails it to whoever requests it?
While it sounds easy, a lot of people just are not able to get that familiar with software of any sort. If a function isn't right there on the top-level menu, they never find it (don't know where/how to look, or are afraid of breaking something).
If your problem is what I think it is (hitting tab or backspace at the beginning of a line moves the arrow on the ruler and changes the indentation of the paragraph), you can turn that off but the option to do so is kind of hidden. First, click on the circle in the upper left hand corner with the office logo. At the bottom right hand corner underneath the list of recent documents is a button labeled "Word Options." Click on that, then select "Proofing" from the left hand menu of the window that pops up. There is a button labeled "Autocorrect Options." Click that, then go to the "Autoformat as you type" tab (which is different than the plain old "Autoformat" tab). Uncheck the "Set left- and first-indent with tabs and backspaces" box near the bottom and your problem should be fixed.
This is also where you can get rid of other annoying Autoformat things, like smart quotes and replacing double hyphens (--) with dashes.
There is a book manuscript template that you can download. You need to use IE for best results. Go to [a href=http://office.microsoft.com]office.microsoft.com[/a] then click All Templates -> See all Categories -> Other Books
Among the Cookbooks and Dinosaur coloring books you should see Book Manuscript templates for both Word 2003 and 2007. Download the appropriate one and it will open in Word. Save as a .dot file to the standard template location - default is C:\Documents and Settings\user name\Application Data\Microsoft\Templates.
This gives you a template that is pretty close to standard document. Alternatively I have a slightly tweaked version I can email to people if they're interested.
To use a template (in Word 2003, anyway), click File | New in Word. You should get a New Document task pane appear. Click "On my computer" and you'll get a dialog box with some templates, one of which is the one you just saved. Click that and you've got a new document with all your standard story settings ready to go. Once you've used the template it should appear in the "Recently Used" section of the new document Task Pane.
Once you have the template you can change any of the settings - fonts, paragraph formatting, autocorrect options etc. If you save these in the .dot file you'll have them each time you create a document using that template.
Mini-rant: Microsoft completely jumped the shark when they went with Office 2007, as well as Vista and Windows 7. All three of these products are <i>backwards steps</i> in my opinion. I have tried for three years to work with these products, and have hated it. I eventually rolled back all of my computers at home to WindowsXP -- which was a perfectly good operating system -- and OfficeXP, which does everything I need it too. If you get too fed up with Office 2007 there is a little $20 add-on you can buy which puts a new "toolbar" ribbon at the top, essentially replicating the tools and options menus of the past.
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