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On 04/30/2013 04:18 PM, Dave Liesse wrote:
As an end user, I'd like to ask one follow-up question to your third point. This is an "I don't understand" type of question, by the way, not a challenge.

Are you implying that if I want to, say, indent one paragraph with no other changes, I should create a new style for that? Seems like a lot of work since it can be done with one mouse clicks (or, if I ever get around to learning how to create shortcut keys, one keystroke combination) plus navigating to the paragraph.

(Just for the record, the indent and outdent keystrokes are probably the thing I miss most from MS Word, and there's not much that I miss.)

From a personal perspective,you would not have to create a new style if you are only going to do this one time. However, if you then find that you want to do it more often, you probably should create a new style and use it every time you indent a paragraph this way. Creating such a style involves these steps: Suppose your paragraph style is named TextBody. Remember that this also requires the Styles and Fromatting window open (use the F11 key to open it).
1) Right click TextBody in the Paragraph styles list.
2) Select Modify from the context menu.
3) In the Organizer tab, name this new style (I suggest: TextBody-Indented).
4) Click the Indents & Spacing Tab.
5) Select the amount of the indentation you want in First line.
6) Click OK.
Yes, for me this takes 6 steps. But most of it can be done with a mouse. Actually, only naming the style requires using the keyboard. Another point: this new style is identical to the original paragraph style except for the amount of indentation. It is really about moderation. It is also about some planning of what is to be contained in a text document. If you are creating several paragraphs that have the same format, a style that defines that format is a good idea. If you have only one or a very few paragraphs that are different, you might not want to create a style for only a very few paragraphs. Having said that, here is a real example that someone asked about on the mailing list several years ago. They were writing a document that contained two languages. Some of the paragraphs contained one language, and the rest contained a second language. How can words in two languages be spell checked? The answer was to create a paragraph style for one language and a second paragraph style for the second language. (This requires similar six steps to what I mentioned above. Step 4 would be to click the Font tab. Step 5 is to select the language desired.) Since the person had already installed the dictionaries for these languages, all that was needed was to assign the proper paragraph style by language. Then to check the spelling, the F7 key is clicked. Both languages have their spelling checked.


On 4/30/2013 12:40, Virgil Arrington wrote:
Several of the posts have brought me to thinking a few random thoughts.

1. There's a difference between *using* styles and *creating/editing* them. In the LyX/LaTeX world, as well as the HTML/CSS world, one is indeed forced to used styles (called "environments" in LaTeX speak) because that's the way the system works. The styles/environments are created by supposed experts who create document "classes," or templates. But, neither the classes nor the environments are easy to modify. The end-user selects the environment he wants (\chapter, \section, \quote, etc.) and then lets the program do the work. As one writer mentioned, it truly separates the operations of writing and typesetting/formatting. Markdown editors in the HTML world also allow such clean separation. None of the WYSIWYG word processors (Word, LO, OO, AbiWord, etc.) provide such a clean separation between editing and formatting. And, yet...

2. In the LyX/LaTeX world, it all works very well...until you want to modify a small formatting parameter for a specific paragraph. Yes, it can be done, but it's not intuitive, nor encouraged. Despite the advanced formatting capabilities of LyX or LaTeX, few writers use them, I believe in part because making even a small change from the default settings sometimes requires a massive on-line search for the right command to change.

3. In the Word/LO world, this case of the "one off" paragraph modification is where I see resistance to styles from end-users. I've got paragraph style for just about every possible situation, but there may be a single paragraph where a user wants to change one parameter. If the user doesn't understand styles, he'll just apply direct formatting to the paragraph, without creating and/or modifying a style. Thus, just having users write with templates and styles created by others will only take people so far. At some point in time, they will need to learn how to create and/or modify styles. Otherwise, they'll have documents with a mixture of styles and direct formatting, the beginning of what could grow into a mess. I believe AbiWord has (or had) a feature to "lock styles" meaning a person could be locked out of changing formatting directly. All formatting changes would have to go through styles. I'm sure it would be a maddening feature for the uninitiated, but it would encourage people to learn to do use styles in the "right" way.

4. Document collaboration is a real bugaboo. We lawyers share documents repeatedly. I would create a document using styles, and send it off to a colleague for further edits. I would get it back with a mess of styles and direct formatting. I see no answer to this conundrum, simply because our programs allow so many different ways of accomplishing the same tasks, and I couldn't expect a colleague to listen to my styles tutorial when all he wanted to do was make a small edit to my proposed contract.

5. I agree that LO's styles work much better than Word's. With LO, I can list my styles hierarchically, so I can change a parameter in one high level style and have it changed in all lower level styles based on the same higher style. (So, no, you don't have to change each and every style just to change the font throughout a document). Word has styles based on other styles as well, but I have yet to find a clean way to list them in the style box in a hierarchical manner.


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