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Re: Text cell formating blues. LineBreakWithin, PageWidth,

  • To: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net
  • Subject: [mg104119] Re: Text cell formating blues. LineBreakWithin, PageWidth,
  • From: monochrome <bayard.webb at gmail.com>
  • Date: Tue, 20 Oct 2009 04:50:53 -0400 (EDT)
  • References: <6597453.1255860673364.JavaMail.root@n11> <hbhhf3$1vk$1@smc.vnet.net>

While very powerful, there are some "gotcha's" in the notebook
interface. I believe that when you use the interface like a word
processor, things go bad. When I say "like a word processor", I mean
using fonts, carriage returns, centering text, etc, to affect the look
of your document.  Based on making messes of several notebooks where I
was doing what you are trying to do, here is a list of rules I now
follow:

* Never use formatting tools like font selection, centered text, etc.
Instead, focus only on creating the structure of your document. To
change its appearance, use the style sheet and style definitions.
Example, to create a display formula, do not hit return, center text,
create formula, hit return and align text. Instead, hit right arrow,
insert new cell with DisplayFormula style, enter formula, right arrow
out of cell and insert new text cell to continue.

* I always create a new cell for a new paragraph. This allows you to
use the stylesheet options to affect both inter and intra paragraph
spacing.

* Use "Show Expression" to see trouble. If something doesn't look or
behave correctly, look at the cell expression. Chances are that are
some extra CellBox commands that are messing things up. These seem to
be inserted by formatting commands (which is why I don't use them) and
are very hard to get rid of. If you create a mess that no longer
responds to style selection, this is how you can see it. In extreme
cases it is easier to "copy as plain text", delete the offending cell,
paste the text into a new text cell, then recreate the inline
formulas, etc.

* Remember to close inline cells. More than once I've forgotten and
finished a sentence within the inline cell. You'd be surprised how
text can look correct in an inline cell, but when you go to make
changes, all heck breaks loose.

These may seem strict, and if you keep track of what you're doing they
may not be necessary, but I find that I get myself in a lot less
trouble if I follow them. When I create a document I think only of the
structure. When I want to affect appearance I use the stylesheet to
apply cosmetic changes to the structural elements. This division of
labor allows changes to be made consistently across one or multiple
documents, and allows you to change stylesheets of a completed
document with few if any surprises.

This is similar to using LaTeX from a text editor. You create only the
structure of the document in the text file and the style takes care of
the rest.

Bayard


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