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I received a couple of complaints from people who don’t like the short line length (around 68 characters) in the setext format. We used that line to ensure that lines pass through any strange mainframes on the network that may not appreciate longer lines. For instance, I hear that Groupe Bull minicomputers hate lines over 72 characters.

There are two basic solutions to the problem. One is simple and will probably be the solution of choice for many of you. If the line doesn’t reach the edge of your screen, increase the font size! It will be more readable and will fill your screen. You might want to stick with monospaced fonts like Monaco and Courier, since proportionally spaced fonts might look a little strange when the spaces don’t end up being the same size.

However, I do realize that what you really want is a way to re-wrap the lines that are broken at 68 characters. A graphic designer friend told me that the best line lengths for reading are between 40 and 68 characters, so the lines as you see them are already on the long end of the spectrum from a design perspective. After some thought, I’m hesitant to provide a Nisus macro or find and replace steps for other word processors to re-wrap the lines because once you do that, the file will no longer be in correct setext format. That’s a major problem if you ever want to import the file into one of our forthcoming browsers. So all I’ll say for now is that you can replace a return and two spaces with a single space to wrap most of the lines. More sophisticated steps would include replacing a return and four spaces with a special character, replacing a return and three spaces with a different special character, and then reversing the process after replacing a return and two space with a single space. I’m sure many of you have already figured this out, but please, keep a pristine copy of the file or you’ll have to get a clean one to import into a browser because the files you modify are no longer correct. I personally think increasing the font size is the easiest solution.

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