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Unable to change para spacing - "Indent size too large"  and unable to get text box with word wrap headings in TOC

Posted on 2006-11-13
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Last Modified: 2008-02-01
Two problems:
1.   I am working on a complicated document constructed within a one-column table in order to control the layout of graphics.  Suddenly, in one file I am unable to click on a style and make a one-off change to the spacing using Format, paragraph, spacing in order to get text etc to fit just so on the page.  This has just happened.  I can make changes via the Styles and Formatting panel, but that affects everything and is not what I want.  I tried going via the Reveal Formatting command but that also results in the same error message: Indent size is too large.  However, the indent size is normal and changing it in any direction has no effect.  Any suggestions?

2.   Is there any way of putting text-box headings into the TOC when the text box is NOT in-line.  For the purposes of layout, I have to use word wrap, but it seems that I cannot then get the caption recognized, regardless of whether it is inside or on top of the text box.  Converting to a frame does not help because the frame goes racing all over the place, totally out of control!

Help please.
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Question by:lorrainecorner
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by:Dreamboat
ID: 17935919
>>in order to control the layout of graphics

That's your first problem. You shouldn't need tables to do that.

Second, I don't know which version you're using, so I can't help with giving correct image placement techniques. What IS the indent size?

2: No. But again, it sounds like you've got an odd layout.

If you could provide the document, a reasonable sample of it, or more information, we can probably help better.

:)
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Author Comment

by:lorrainecorner
ID: 17936008
Sorry, I am new to this site.  Thanks for the response.

I am using Windows XP SP2 and Office 2003 - all updated.

I have found the hard way that I DO need tables to control graphics in complex documents.  I learned this trick from the Microsoft site from a Stephanie Krieger on-line tutorial and it is the only solution I have found that works.  Before I found it, I was contemplating moving back to Wordperfect, which behaves much more reasonably but has not prostituted itself to the big players so effectively.  That wretched anchor does NOT work as advertised.

As I said the indent size actually does not seem to make any difference - I have changed from zero to whatever and no difference.  How do I provide the document so you can see it?  The problem page is actually quite simple: a one cell page within with there is some text (a couple of bullets) and a text box that I want to locate on the right side of the page with text wrapped left and to which I wished to attach a caption.  I tried the frame solution from the microsoft site but the entire frame moved to another page leaving the text box and caption untouched.  
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by:Dreamboat
ID: 17936073
I'd love to see Steph's article to which you're referring. I wasn't able to find it. What is it that you're doing with the graphics that you need tables?

Indent...are you sure you don't have the PAGE set up as columns (regardless of tables)? Try Format-->Columns and make sure your column width is sufficient. Tables can "float", so they don't care if there's columns or not, but the indent will care.

Send the file to the email address in my profile. I'll look at it and reply within about 13 hours. Will also upload for others to see (with your permission).
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Author Comment

by:lorrainecorner
ID: 17936476
Thanks - you will find Steph's tutorial at: http://office.microsoft.com/training/training.aspx?AssetID=RC012299841033
I found it very helpful.

My whole page is a column in Landscape so it is  24.4 cm wide.  That surely must be sufficient!

I have used this method several times before and not had this problem and I also did not have it when I first started working on this file.  I am wondering whether it has become corrupted in some way.  Should I try renaming normal.dot and start the formatting all over again?  What a pain, but then so is the current situation.

I will send you the file

Cheers,

Lorraine
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Author Comment

by:lorrainecorner
ID: 17937122
Dreamboat - sorry, I cannot send the file without an e-mail address.  I do not use Yahoo Messenger.  

Cheers,

Lorraine
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by:EricFletcher
ID: 17938529
If you do use tables for managing layout, I would recommend you set objects in-line within the table, and not anchored (such as text boxes or images set to "float"). Not that a floating object won't work: they can, but they are notoriously difficult to control.

For your situation, consider using a nested table instead: set a 2-row table within your host table and use one row for the graphic and the other for your caption. You can manage the placement of the nested table by including it in a sized cell in the host table. I suggest a 2-row table because content within a text box will not be included in a ToC (per your 2nd question).

About the indent... When you set a table, the default style is probably Table Grid, and the cells include some margin. If you try to adjust format by changing the style -- instead of locally to the paragraph -- the change may be affecting another area of the table(s) where the margins will not fit. For example, an unused narrow cell that happens to be tagged with the style. Instead, apply your formatting adjustments to the paragraph (or cell) in question with the Format | Paragraph dialog.
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by:GrahamSkan
GrahamSkan earned 20 total points
ID: 17939656
There is an now an upload site for sharing documents:
www.ee-stuff.com

You use the same logon as for this site. You have to identify the uploaded documents with the question's URL.
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Author Comment

by:lorrainecorner
ID: 17942425
Thanks Eric and Graham.

Eric, I will try your solution, which I think is probably better than what I am currently doing for the text boxes in question.  I know about nested tables but have not used them before so it will be a good learning experience.  I will probably have to go back to Stephanie's tutorial for the details.

However, your last sentence is precisely my problem.  When I try to do that I get this wretched message "Indent size too large", which is where this all started.

Thanks and I will try to upload the file to Dreamboat to see whether Anne can see what do do about the main problem.
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Author Comment

by:lorrainecorner
ID: 17942470
Sorry Eric, the limitations on file type on the site you mentioned is too narrow.  It will not accept .doc - or any of the other Office programme files that most of us have problems with.  

Lorraine
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by:EricFletcher
ID: 17942770
That was Graham actually... and it should accept a DOC file -- others certainly have been able to upload them. Post again if you are unable to upload it and let us know exactly what seems to be blocking you.

And regarding the paragraph formatting: please check the definition of the underlying style to see if it has the automatic update checkbox turned on. If it does, any change you make in a paragraph tagged with the style will be applied globally to all other instances of it (because it is set up to let a manual change redefine the style's format). Many of us feel this particular default setting should be turned OFF instead of on to avoid exactly this sort of problem.
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by:lorrainecorner
ID: 17942883
Thanks Eric and apologies to Graham.  If you look at the list of acceptable files on the site, Word, Excel and Powerpoint files are not listed.  The list mainly refers to graphics formats.  The error message I received was incorrect file type.  I just tried again and got the same result.

You are not the only ones who think that the default for automatic update should be OFF.  In fact, most automatic anything in Microsoft products need to be turned off, or at least treated with great caution.  It is DEFINITELY turned OFF on my file - ALWAYS.  So that is not the problem.

Thanks anyway,

Lorraine
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by:GrahamSkan
ID: 17942989
I think you will have to zip the file.
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by:Dreamboat
ID: 17948807
Sorry, Lorraine. I keep forgetting about that upload link. Thanks, Graham! Yo, Ed. How you doing?? :D
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by:Dreamboat
ID: 17948812
LOL. I haven't finished my first cup of coffee yet, today. That would be ERIC, not ED!!
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by:GrahamSkan
ID: 17949117
Hi Dreamboat
I'm fine.
That was a quick recovery. You must be on form without the coffee.
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by:EricFletcher
ID: 17949316
Very quick indeed: the 2nd post has the same minute as your 1st Dreamboat! I'd be doing better if I hadn't just pushed a book against the powerbick for our router and caused it to short out -- flipping a breaker and frying the wireless router. Arghhh... and I'd already finished my 3rd cup of coffee! Now I have to make a rush trip into the city to get a new one.

Sorry for the asides Lorraine. Please do zip your file and put it up here so we can take a look at it. As you no doubt now know, formatting within tables is sometimes more mysterious than it ought to be. I went through the MS tutorial you pointed to and felt she glossed over a few points -- primarily about using styles within tables. Perhaps your document will help us all understand the beast a bit better!
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Author Comment

by:lorrainecorner
ID: 17953144
Thanks to all and never mind the asides.  It is nice to know their are human beings on the other end!  Perhaps Stephanie saved the details for her book, which I have not seen.  I gather there is one.

You are dead right about formatting within tables being more mysterious than it ought to be.  The latest trick is a page that shows up in duplicate on two pages (18 and 19 I think).  It is all in only one cell, because if you delete the row you lost BOTH pages.  What a pain Word is.  I do not see how anyone can use it professionally and actually make money with it because you waste so much time on the formatting.  My partner has gone back to Wordperfect and then uses it to generate Word files.  As you can see, mine tend to be rather complex and I am not sure WP would be up to generating the Word equivalent.  However, I might try it one day just to see.

Cheeers to all,

Lorraine
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by:EricFletcher
ID: 17957660
Well, I can't say I agree with your assessment Lorraine. I use a lot of different document formatting programs and Word is certainly my main workhorse. However, some page layout tasks are not well-suited to Word of course, and you might be better using a page layout program for such things (Pagemaker, Quark, InDesign...).

I have noticed that many people overlook styles in Word. If you use styles effectively, formatting is significantly easier than using the direct formatting approach you may be more used to from WordPerfect. Styles are a very powerful tool but are unfortunately often overlooked in training and "how to" books because many people think they are complicated. IMHO, the effort is well worthwhile.

The other "feature" of Word that is poorly-understood is sections. A section holds information about the page layout, but also the headers and footers. Used properly, sections are very powerful and provide many useful capabilties in setting up large and complex documents. However, as with styles, they are often overlooked or treated only very briefly in courses.

To learn a bit more, browse through some of the thick books about Word in a local bookstore and check their coverage of styles and sections. If you find one that has more than a short chapter about either, read through it (or buy it). Some useful online sources are here (EE), but also http://word.mvps.org/index.html for contributions from Microsoft MVPs.

Were you able to upload your problem file? It may be that someone here could spot the issue and give you pointers.
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by:Dreamboat
ID: 17957776
I agree with Eric. I'm a Word geek and even wrote a book on it. I covered the things others don't--my book isn't for beginners. Lots of the content of my book was "updated" and posted at www.officearticles.com as articles under the Word category. :)

By the way, my email address is:

admin at officearticles dot com

I can't put my email address in email syntax or I'll get a bunch of spam.
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Author Comment

by:lorrainecorner
ID: 17961616
Thanks guys.  I guess someone has to love Word, but you will have difficulty convincing me.  I DO use styles, but they often do not operate as advertised and Word is not nearly as transparent as WP.  I was forced to move to Word many years ago because the entire UN were bought out by a good deal from MS.  I have read several books on Word but most were written by people like yourselves who already know the answers and many of us mere mortals do not find them terribly helpful.  However, I will take a look at Anne's website and see whether she can convince me.  Although I have not used Pagemaker personally, I have worked with a consultant who uses it professionally and she did not have many good things to say about it either.

I DID post my file as per the instructions given.  I received a message that it had been posted, so I assume that you should be able to find it.  Just in case, I will also send it to Anne at her e-mail address.

The fix to my repeating page problem was rather simple.  It did not actually print twice, just printed an empty page where the second appeared on the screen, thus messing up the page numbers.  The fix was obvious - stop the cell from spilling over to the next page.  Voila, copy disappears and all is well - at least for that minor difficulty.

The original problem of spacing remains.  Eric's solution of the nested table solved the second problem so I will split the points for him when this is all wound up.  Thanks Eric.
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Assisted Solution

by:Dreamboat
Dreamboat earned 380 total points
ID: 17962593
Having the good luck to have received the file, I have these comments to offer:

1. I see absolutely NO GOOD REASON for using table cells for your main layout. They offer you nothing. You can remove that outer table and lose nothing.

2. Modify your "caption" style to be "Keep with next" so that your captions *stick* with your textboxes.

3. Your "Planning and Design Stage" textbox is "in front of text" and not set to wrap, which could likely be causing problems.

4. You *could* use a table row to put a textbox to the right (as you have in at least one instance), and should then have no difficulty getting your captions in the TOC.

5. Under any and all circumstances, avoid using frames. They are generally worthless and cause more trouble. The only *good* thing about a frame is that it CAN be part of a style, where a textbox cannot.

6. When inserting page numbers, please use the # icon on the header/footer toolbar instead of Insert-->Page number... it works MUCH better and places your page number "in line" instead of in textboxes, which often get lost, which I think you were experiencing.

7. Please let us know, specifically, where your cursor is when you try to change the indent and get the error.

8. I'm glad I only write about Word. LOL!!

Your file, as sent to me and so the others can download it, can be found at www.officearticles.com/ee/22059402.zip

:)
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Accepted Solution

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EricFletcher earned 100 total points
ID: 17962896
Good analysis Dreamboat. I certainly concur with points 1-6.

You will certainly find the pages easier to manage if the content is not within a table. If you use tables for your text boxes, you can not only get the caption in a ToC, but you can keep the caption, content & details that sometimes follow together. (For example, your Text Box II-1 could be set as a 3-row, 1-column table with the caprion in row 1, the Part I through Part IV in row 2, and the "For details..." in row 3. With a border around row 2, it would look the same as you have it now, except the caption and details would then be within the table's boundaries. This approach would also eliminate the problem you encounter with the content of your text box II-3 being cut off for point L. Your text box callouts could be set as 1x1 tables and positioned to float to the right in order to avoid needing to use text boxes for them as well.

Also Lorraine, I'd suggest you use the Styles and Formatting pane with "Formatting in use" to identify and resolve the fairly large number of single instances of direct formatted items. For example, you have one "List Bullet + 10pt" and another single "List Bullet 3 + (Latin) Garamond"... these are but two examples of elements that could likely be set with styles without the added direct formatting. You also have seven different version sof the Caption style in use: I think your design would be cleaner with just one. The task pane lets you identify these kinds of issue, and select instances of them so you can normalize them.

Finally, I noticed that your Normal style is defined with Garamond Bold, and that many of the paragraphs are set as "Not Bold". I'd suggest leaving the Normal style simple since other styles tend to be based on it. In your case, the document appears to be using the Garamond font so I'd leave Normal with just the font style and default size. Then, use a predefined style like Body Text to set up your standard paragraph with whatever space before or after you need. It will be based on Normal by defualt, so if you later decided to change to, say, Bookman, you could do so by just changing the font in Normal. All styles based on Normal would inherit the font.

Word looks fairly straightforward for very normal applications. However, like so many programs, when you try to do something a bit out of the ordinary, it is very easy to get derailed if you choose an approach that may seem reasonable but isn't necessarily the best approach. Doing what you've done here is the best way to learn... and I suspect that if I was to try to do something in WordPerfect again after being away from it for years, I would likely end up in much the same situation! ;-)

Let us know where to look for the indent issue per Dreamboat's #7.
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by:Dreamboat
ID: 17965089
>>>and I suspect that if I was to try to do something in WordPerfect again after being away from it for years, I would likely end up in much the same situation!

DITTO! I know I would.

Thanks for the points, Lorraine. I suspect that the indent issue was resolved by removing tables.
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Author Comment

by:lorrainecorner
ID: 17968739
Hi all,

Actually, the dreaded message has popped up again - it was when I had a List 3 bullet followed by a modified list 4 bullet and I wanted to eliminate the gap between them.  I managed to get around it by changing the spacing after the List 3 instead of before the list 4.  Don't ask me why that worked!

Cheers and thanks once again,

Lorraine
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