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At 09:35 15/02/2013 -0500, Eric Beversluis wrote:
Something I've never figured out--and seems true of LO/OO as well as M$ Word: When reading through a document, one hits 'PgDn', but one doesn't get a new page--it only scrolls down some seemingly arbitrary number of lines. One has to scan the new screen to see what one left off reading and one may only have gotten a half page of new reading for the effort.

Maybe I'm spoiled by e-readers. But maybe, even after all these years, I haven't figured out how to do this correctly in a word processor.

I think you are missing the different functions of the two sorts of software. E-readers are what they say they are: readers. In other words, their users are using them to read documents. More than that, in general they will be reading the documents sequentially: when they get to the end of one page, they will next want to see the next page. And the only sense of "page" is as much as fills the screen of the display device.

Word processors are quite different. In general, they are still fixated on printing the final document: the page size is the format of the eventual supposed printed version, not necessarily (and not usually) the size and format of the screen used for display. People usually choose settings that display less than a printed page of a document; if you were looking at such a screenful and then moved down a full page, you would unhelpfully have missed part of the text.

But the bigger point is that a word processor is designed for editing, not reading. If you are editing at one point in a document and you now need to move down to a point currently off your screen image, it is not at all obvious - quite unlikely, in fact - that you would want to move to a following page. It is much more likely that you would want to be able to see some part of the document further down but whilst also still seeing the part on which you had just been working.

The original model, then, is that no-one would read documents on screen but only from hard copy. It is interesting that software has been moving towards servicing screen reading, albeit rather slowly. Microsoft Powerpoint allows you to save a presentation as a "slide show", in which case it opens for any recipient as for display, not for further editing. Microsoft Word has a reading mode, which displays screenfuls - not necessarily in the original layout - and in which your page down function works as you want. There is also a freeware Word Viewer available from Microsoft, intended for users without Microsoft Word installed. Again, since this is a reader and not an editor, it responds to page down requests by moving down a screenful. Oh, and try opening a read-only file with LibreOffice Writer: I think you'll find that it will now treat "page down" differently and move down (almost) a screenful.

Should word processing and similar software provide an explicit reading mode for use in reading, not editing, documents? Possibly. Meanwhile, if you want something close to this behaviour in Writer, here's your workaround: just click the Edit File button in the Standard toolbar to toggle on this behaviour.

I trust this helps.

Brian Barker

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