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On 3/25/2014 9:33 AM, Kracked_P_P---webmaster wrote:

As a person who learned to type on a typewriter and learned programming on a mainframe computer [since the PC did not exist at that time], I have not learned how to do "styles". Never really needed it, as far as I was concerned. Yes, yes, I should learn it, but time to learn and play with styles is not an option for me currently.

Actually, Tim, we're not that different. I learned on an Underwood and began using computers in the days of the Commodore 64 and MS-DOS (albeit as a lawyer, not a programmer). I was a slow convert to Styles because, like you, I was constantly seeking simplicity in my solutions.

I spent years perfecting my use of PC-Write. Then, my office switched to Windows 3.1 and WordPerfect for Windows. Knowing the investment I had made in PC-Write, I really didn't want to re-invest my time learning another full-featured word processor. So, instead, I began using Windows Write (the precursor to WordPad).

I loved it. It was the epitome of simplicity. No styles, no templates, no "reveal codes" or complex menus and toolbars to complicate life. Just a digital typewriter with True Type fonts. I was easily able to create legal briefs and other documents. The program was limited to a single file, so there was no bloat (other than the inherent bloat of Windows) and it was free and immediately available on any computer with Windows.

Now, from a typographic standpoint, a legal brief is fairly simple. The main text is double spaced with a first line indent (the tab key worked nicely). Quoted matter is single-spaced and indented. Then, there are section headings. I typically would have three levels of section headings. They were boldface or italic type with either left or centered alignment and with or without numbering. I always wanted to make sure my headings stayed on the same page as the following paragraph as I didn't want a heading by itself at the bottom of the page. My top level would also typically start with a new page. I was able to accomplish all of this with Write, using the K.I.S.S. method. It felt good not having to wade through multiple layers of menus to find that one buried formatting command. Of course, this meant I had to directly and manually format each of my paragraphs and headings, making sure they were consistent, with a page break before each top-level heading, and with none of my headings landing at the bottom of the page.

After several legal briefs, I realized I was duplicating a lot of my effort each time I wrote a brief not only within each brief, but from one document to the next. And, sometimes, I failed in keeping my headings consistent. Was that supposed to be 12-point bold, or 14-point italic? It changed depending on the court I was in.

Then I discovered paragraph styles. After an initial time investment in education, I have become a believer. Rather than manually formatting 7 to 10 section headings per brief, I have created three paragraph styles controlling font, size, weight, alignment, and placement on the page. I now apply many formatting characteristics with one mouse click. I no longer *ever* type a tab key to indent a paragraph. I *know* my section headings will be consistent and that page breaks will always appear before my top level heading. And, then, by using styles for my headings, I can easily and automatically generate a fully-formatted and numbered table of contents with three mouse clicks, rather than typing the whole thing manually. Yes, it took time to create my styles, but the time saved in my actual work is not insignificant.

It is certainly simpler to insert a section heading with a single mouse click on "Heading 1" than it is to hit <ctrl-enter> for a page break, then <ctrl-e> to center the paragraph, then <ctrl-b> to make it bold, and then click on the point size to increase it, and then after typing my heading, hit <ctrl-b> to turn off my boldface, <ctrl-l> to left align the next paragraph and click on the point size to decrease it, and do this each and every time I insert a heading hoping I don't make a mistake. Just describing it is exhausting.

So, yes, if you prefer the typewriter method, by all means use it. I would never try to force styles on you. But, I hope you don't consider my attempts at styles evangelism to be "forcing." Just trying to point out that the K.I.S.S. method may seem simpler to those of us who learned our craft on the typewriter, but in the long run, it does result in more work and less consistent results.


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