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How to space your text easily (1 Viewer)

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Senior Member
I've noticed that many people here post their stories without spacing them properly. Unspaced texts are very difficult to read, and most of those who would like to offer feed-back get tired after reading several lines.

For those who don't know it, Ms Word can insert spaces between paragraphs automatically. Here is what you have to do:

1. Open your story in Ms Word and save it with a different name; I don't want you to kill me in case you do anything wrong. (By the way: it's always a good idea to keep backups of your texts on a floppy.)

2. Open up the Replace dialog (press Ctrl + H).

3. Type ^p in the Find what field and ^p^p in the Replace with field. Don't ask; just use the ^ sign (Shift + 6) and p.

4. Click the Replace All button.

5. Close the dialogue and select the whole story (Ctrl + A).

6. Copy the text (Ctrl + C), then paste it on the forum (Ctrl + V).



Senior Member
I don't know if anyone's interested, but I find little things like this easier to do if you use a macro. If you use Word, you can copy the following text between the dashes:


Sub DoubleSpacePara()
' DoubleSpacePara Macro
With Selection.Find
.Text = "^p"
.Replacement.Text = "^p^p"
.Forward = True
.Wrap = wdFindContinue
.Format = False
.MatchCase = False
.MatchWholeWord = False
.MatchWildcards = False
.MatchSoundsLike = False
.MatchAllWordForms = False
End With
Selection.Find.Execute Replace:=wdReplaceAll
End Sub


You can open the macro editor on the Tools menu in Word (or press Alt+F8).

Click the Create button.

Paste the text in and then hit Ctrl+S to save the changes. Close the editor.

Right click the toolbar you want to add the macro button to, and then click customize.

In the Categories list, select Macros.

In the Commands list, click and drag Normal.NewMacros.DoubleSpaceParagraph to the toolbar you want the button in.

Leaving the Customize window open, right click the macro and you'll get a list of things you can do to change how it appears. Click Default Style if you just want it to be a button without a lot of text. You can change or edit the button image from here too.

Once you're done, when you click your button it will run the macro and change all ^p to ^p^p in your document. (Single hard returns to double hard returns).

Why bother?
Well, the bottom line is, a lot of manuscripts are written and formatted for publication with five space indents to indicate paragraph breaks. When you submit a document to a publishing house, do you typically use double spaces between paragraphs? I don't believe this is normal for narrative text. But when you submit it to a forum, the five space indents are removed.

Why are they removed? Good question. I would guess that the forums don't support tabs or multiple empty space characters. But whatever the case is, when you put something online, unless you're using your own cascading style sheet, the odds are good that your indents will be toast. And besides, it's a lot easier to read online with double spaces between paragraphs (although some people may argue this, usability studies indicate it's true for the statistical majority of people).


Here’s my “easy” shortcut to proper posting format.

1) From your standard-formatted manuscript, select and copy the text that you’d like to post.
2) Open a new, blank file in your word-processing application and paste the previously copied text into it.
3) Select all of the text (ctrl+a (most Linux/Windows) or flower+a(Mac)) and modify the Paragraph Properties as follows:

a. Line-spacing single
b. Line spacing Before by 12~16 pts. (You may need to experiment with the exact pts. number to get the best results.

4) Apply the Paragraph settings.
5) Save the new, previously blank file as html, or a “web page.”
6) Open the newly-saved html in your favorite browser.
7) Select all of the text (ctrl+a (most Linux/Windows) or flower+a(Mac). )
8) Copy the selected text (ctrl+c (most Linux/Windows) or flower+c(Mac). )
9) Paste the text into your online forum’s submission window (ctrl+v (most Linux/Windows) or flower+v(Mac). )
10) Submit the text.

It may seem like a lot of steps, but understand that this method will keep you from butchering the proper formatting of your manuscript. It’s also an easy way to place that needed space between your paragraphs automatically. Try it. You may like it.

I’ve used this technique in MS word, NeoOffice/J, OpenOffice, and AppleWorks-- All with the same, desired result.

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