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Hello Virgil,

This is a very interesting thread you're opening and I'm glad to "meet" people having the very same concerns I've got for years.

Le 29/04/2013 20:00, Virgil Arrington a écrit :
I'd like to get some general opinions about paragraph styles.

I am a retired lawyer who led a local government law office. When I was
working at that office, I tried in vain to get my employees to use
paragraph styles. For them, styles were a bother to set up and maintain.
I love using them, but then I'm as much a word processor junkie as I am
an end-user.

Now, I teach a paralegal course in technology at my local university. I
recently spent three weeks teaching styles to my students and they have
resisted me all the way. My sense is that people just trying to get
their work done see paragraph styles as an nuisance, not appreciating
the amount of time they can save by investing a little at the beginning.

What about the rest of you. Do you use styles? Do you find that other
less-techy types avoid them?

I'm on that side as well. But my feeling is that you won't teach efficiently about styles to *end-users* if they don't get correctly crafted templates from the very beginning.

IOW, there are two sides to word-processors use: the writer side, on which most the users are, and the conception side where lies a very small crowd. IMO, only the latter need a deep knowledge about styles and templates. The formers only need (at first) to *use* the templates that are provided to them by conceptors. This way, they only have to bother to they actual job: writing. When they are used to the concepts and can see them at work on a daily basis, then the writers can grab the knowledge. Not at first.

Well, this is the way I think things should be set in any organisation.

I guess much of your failures wrt styles training are because you're trying to teach a technique that is way beyond the common user's needs and which requires a very steep learning curve (BTDTGTTS). This means that my way of training is template-centered: teach the basics of word-processing (3 hrs), then teach to use the template-s (1-3 hrs per template depending upon its complexity). Styles have to be shown and explained but through the template uses. One thing is: when a writer can use a correctly crafted template, s-he can use any template. The difficult part being to design a "correct" template.

As a summary, I'd say that the tool is a two-sided one, neither side being independant:

-> The tool is the software *and* the template.

My 2 euro-cents,
Jean-Francois Nifenecker, Bordeaux

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