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Mysteriously Moving Margins in Word

In Microsoft Word 2008 (and older versions), if you put your cursor in a paragraph and then move a tab or indent marker in the ruler, the change applies to just that paragraph. If your markers are closely spaced, you may have trouble grabbing the right one, and inadvertently work with tabs when you want to work with indents, or vice-versa. The solution is to hover your mouse over the marker until a yellow tooltip confirms which element you're about to drag.

I recently came to appreciate the importance of waiting for those tooltips: a document mysteriously reset its margins several times while I was under deadline pressure, causing a variety of problems. After several hours of puzzlement, I had my "doh!" moment: I had been dragging a margin marker when I thought I was dragging an indent marker.

When it comes to moving markers in the Word ruler, the moral of the story is always to hover, read, and only then drag.

 
 

Alan Stearns

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Alan Stearns <alan.stearns@aldus.com> writes:

Thanks for the write-up of the tracking changes in PageMaker 5.0. We did receive some feedback that tracking was too tight in earlier versions, so now all five tracks are slightly looser than they used to be - not just Normal and Very tight.

Your workaround of adding manual range kerning may work in some cases, but it doesn't take you back to the original letter spacing of a 4.0 or 4.2 document. And, if your file has many different stories with the old tracking applied, it can become time consuming. (Also, there is no way to do a "half-tap." You can only kern in increments of .01 em).

My own workaround is less drastic than the one you see in the Getting Started manual. I assume you'd want to use the new tracking values in your new work, and merely want to keep your old documents from changing when you convert them. This workaround makes use of the fact that PageMaker looks for the tracking values file in the document's folder first, and then looks in the Aldus folder if it can't find a local file. (This is why when you choose to save with "All files for remote printing," PageMaker makes a copy of the tracking values file in the document folder.)

Make a "Convert" folder somewhere where you keep your old documents. Then make a copy of the old Kern Tracks file and put it in the Convert folder, renaming it to "Tracking Values." Now, whenever you want to convert an old document to 5.0, move it to the Convert folder and open it from there. All documents residing in the Convert folder will use the old tracking values, and everything else will use the new tracking values that reside in the Aldus folder.

 

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