RE: Was Word the right tool?

Subject: RE: Was Word the right tool?
From: Dannette Thompson <dthomps -at- foundationsoft -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 19 Mar 2001 09:24:25 -0500

Without starting *another* tool war on this list, I'd say, yes, there are
better tools than Word for anything other than the typical 8 1/2 x 11 or 11
x 8 1/2 doc.

For graphic intensive or complicated layouts, I prefer QuarkXPress.
Pagemaker is also an alternative. However, if you're doing anything over
about 30 pages of connected text, I'd prefer Framemaker because it handles
linked textboxes much more easily than Quark or Pagemaker.

However, it is quite possible to accomplish all of these things in Word.
Maybe not as easy, but it is possible! If you're using Word for anything
related to columns, side-heads, etc., I highly recommend using tables. They
are relatively stable in Word and can provide an easy way to connect and
format text. For the side head issue, create a two-column table. Make the
first column an inch wide. For headings, start in the left column and merge
it with the right. For body text, just start in the right column. It will
already be indented 1".

A couple of other table tips:
* To type a tab character in a table, press <Ctrl + Tab>.
* To resize a column without "taking over" space from adjacent columns, hold
down the <Shift> key while dragging the column divider lines.
* Always turn on the table toolbar when working with tables. There are a lot
of great tools available on it.

Hope that helps!
Dannette Thompson
Technical Writer
Foundation Software, Inc.
The #1 Accounting Software for Labor-Intensive Contractors
The opinions expressed in this message do not necessarily reflect the
opinions or policies of my employer or coworkers.

-----Original Message-----
From: Meg Halter [mailto:aiki4us -at- yahoo -dot- com]

Hi Techwhirlers --

I just finished putting together a document in Word 97. It was a
landscape layout with two columns. The left column was indented
an inch from the document margin, so the effect was a very wide
left margin, with the main headings hanging into that extra inch
of margin.

After struggling with the column layout, I ended up using linked
pairs of text boxes on each page and had to dink with each one
to get it to line up properly. While the result is nice, this is
way too much work and takes way too long. I have to find
something better for the future.

After this frustration I'm wondering:
- Is there a better way to do this in Word? One that doesn't
require tons of fiddling?
- Is Word even the right tool for this type of document, where
the desired layout is quite different from Word's defaults?

Thanks for your thoughts.

-- Meg


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