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I no longer need to write in any "required style or page format. SO, I never got into using styles. But you have a valid point in needing students to learn how to use it. The fact that writing "style" requirements change every so often. I went to 4 colleges and received 3 degrees. The problem I had was that every time I went back to college, the "standards" for foot notes, indexing, bibilography, and many other things I learn in one college English/Writing course changed. I ended up taking English and Writing courses several time to learn the new standards that the colleges were teaching and required for any paper to be turned into the professors. Then there are those classes that require specific formatting and styles for their paperwork.

If you create a set of styles, one per class/course/teacher, then you can write the documents and then apply the styles needed by the professor, or even the business reader.

I myself have run across times where using styles would work for me, but I never really learned how to use them correctly. Never took the time.

Tom's and other postings about getting students to "compete" in how fast it would be to format a "mangled" text to a predefined style and the others doing it the "hard way". Then having the students "compete" in a race to see who can create a style from scratch for the document. I bet there would be different version created that do the same end results.

The only problem I see with styles is some people may go and make a document so complex with styles for "everything" that it creates problems for an new user to edit/modify the document with new information or reorganize the flow of the document. I had to do that a few months ago and it was not easy. It seemed that every possible portion of the document, i.e. paragraph text and titles, columns and frames, images and headlines, were all defined in such a way that when moving text and images around the document, the styles setup would try to define the wrong text or document element. The editing and moving of text and images broke the very complex styling of the document.

The point is, styles are great in concepts, but some people can get carried away with their complexity. I have a book editor friend that I email back and forth with. She has some real horror stories trying to edit manuscripts that the author wrote using a complex set of styles. So if you teach and/or use styles, kept them simple enough that it does not get in the way of the next person needing to modify the document.

On 04/30/2013 06:56 AM, Tom Davies wrote:
Hi :)
I am a bit bitter about this sort of thing too.  Even back when i was in school i could see 
teachers clearly trying to help people.  Unfortunately general attitudes of the kids in the 
classroom meant that even those of us that were interested in learning the skill had a tough time.  
It didn't improve at Uni.

There have been some excellent suggestions in this list.  Perhaps set a mini-competition half the 
class using 1 technique. Perhaps ask for hands up if  they can't cope with using styles, in order 
to play to the machismo of some.  When the results are in ask who can change the formatting of 
their document fastest.

Another idea is to get a horribly mangled paragraph and challenge them to insert it into their 
document to fit the style of their own work.

I frequently have to do this for my company's newsletter and at first found it took hours to try to 
fix people's messes in Word.  In LibreOffice i just pasted as unformatted and then applied styles 
taking just a couple of minutes at most.

However i still think it's easier to teach people things they want to learn.  Trying to trick them 
into wanting to learn about something else is a tough challenge.

Regards from

Tom :)

From: T. R. Valentine <>
To: LibreOffice-list <>
Sent: Tuesday, 30 April 2013, 4:08
Subject: Re: [libreoffice-users] Paragraph styles

On 29 April 2013 20:48, Virgil Arrington <> wrote:

It pains me to watch people mouse around a document going from paragraph to
paragraph trying to get formatting consistent when all they need to do is
make one change to a paragraph style and "voila", every paragraph having
that style is automatically changed. Just today, one of my students was
stunned to watch that work. "You mean I don't have to make the same change
to every paragraph?" she asked.
There is a better way, and since a university pays me to teach students how
to take advantage of modern technology, I feel it my duty to at least give
it a college try to find a way to explain it to them.
Virgil, I think it is great that you are trying to show your students
a better way. I don't understand why there was an accusation (using
'Nazi' no less — that post seemed full of bitterness) that anyone was
trying to force anyone to use styles.

Styles are a better way, but some people are resistant to change,
preferring to use a word processor as if it were merely an electronic
typewriter. As the saying goes, 'you can lead a horse to water ....'

T. R. Valentine
Your friends will argue with you. Your enemies don't care.
'When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food
and clothes.' -- Erasmus

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