Re: Word: XRef Problem

Subject: Re: Word: XRef Problem
From: "D. Margulis" <ampersandvirgule -at- WORLDNET -dot- ATT -dot- NET>
Date: Wed, 30 Sep 1998 17:09:56 -0400

J. Fraser wrote:
>
> The problem is that a line break keeps getting inserted after "see" so that
> the text looks like this:
>
> ...this is some text (see
> Figure 3-1) ...more text
>


Actually, JL, this isn't so bad. Where you do _not_ want a break is
after the word Figure.

Most platforms, Word included, provide a non-breaking space character.
You may find that there is a keyboard shortcut (like Ctrl-spacebar or
Alt-spacebar or Shift-spacebar) or that you can create one. In HTML, of
course, you can use "&nbsp;" (without the quotes).

Putting on my Dick-the-avuncular-typographer hat (apparently I'm one of
the few people on this list who ever worked with type for a living), I'd
like to extend this discussion a bit.

First of all, decisions about non-breaking spaces are one rung below
decisions about non-breaking hyphens. Both inhabit the lower reaches of
the penalties table in the minds of most compositors. If everything else
is going along swimmingly in a paragraph--no letterspacing, no
over-limit or under-limit word spacing, no ladders, no rivers--then
these two issues can be dealt with.

Second, the question comes up only in certain environments. In daily
fishwrappers (i.e., not the New York Times or Wall Street Journal), it's
a non-starter. In dailies with some pretension (the two aforementioned,
the Washington Post, the Christian Science Monitor, maybe a couple of
others) and in narrow-measure magazine work, the most egregious
instances might be fixed in justified columns, and good practices are in
force in wide-measure columns, all ragged text, and all headings.

In book work (other than drugstore paperbacks, most of which are in a
class with daily fishwrappers), careful editors and careful compositors
do pay attention and try to fix most instances.

What level of concern you have depends on what you are producing.
Certainly, in anything consisting of ragged ("flush left")
text--especially headings--you could apply the highest standards. In
justified body text, maybe you'd rather ignore the issue. A chacun son
gout.

Now then, what are the rules here? Different publishers and editors have
their own pet peeves, of course, so the list is always subjective; but
here are some generally agreed-upon suggestions:


Non-breaking hyphen:


Do not break in the middle of one part of an already hyphenated word:

. . . IBM-compat-
ible

should be avoided.


Do not break a word one or two letters from the beginning or end.


Non-breaking space:


Do not break a line between a number and its unit:

. . . 3.1
GB hard drive

should be avoided.


Do not break a name after the honorific or before the initial or
generation signifier:

. . . Ms.
Lewinsky

. . . Kenneth
G. Starr [I have no idea if that's his middle initial]

. . . William Jefferson Clinton
III

. . . Robert F. Kennedy,
Jr.

should all be avoided.


In headlines (but not in text), break before a prepositional phrase
rather than after the preposition:


No: Clinton takes it to
the people

Yes: Clinton takes it
to the people

In headlines, try to keep the article with the noun:

No: Creating a new file using the
Save As command

Yes: Creating a new file using
the Save As command



Again, let me say that this is a subtlety below the radar of most
readers, editors, and tech writing managers. It is something to consider
if you aspire to the highest quality of typographic integrity in your
work, but you can safely ignore all of this if you don't really care
about the fine-grained details of the esthetics and readability of the
printed or online page.

Just my .02

Uncle Dick

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