Summary: Word Font Spacing/Numbering

Subject: Summary: Word Font Spacing/Numbering
From: Ginna Dowler <gdowler -at- QUESTERCORP -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 29 Jun 1999 09:38:10 -0700

Well, weeks of frustration and I got a simple answer!

The solution:

When you use custom outline numbering, use a tab character to separate
the number from the text. Otherwise, you run into spacing problems. I
changed my appendix numbering to include a tab character, and Voila! the
problem disappeared.

Thanks to Jason Hendrix, Naomi Bilodeau, Dick Margulis, Pamela Coca,
Dina Davidson, Cirrus Matusek, Sheridan Adjei, and Sarah Thompson for

The answers that worked:

Jason Hendrix:
I had the exact same problem for months. The problem appeared only in
or PDF and after a long period of trial and error I think I found the
source: It has to do with the automatic numbering definition of the

Select the proper heading and open the Modify style dialog box. Select
Format Numbering. Choose the proper outline numbered style and click the
button Customize. In the dialog box click the button More to expand the
dialog box. In the bottom half, you'll see the dropdown list Follow
with. Here (in my experience) is the source of this problem. If you have
selected a space here, the spacing in print is unpredictable. Select Tab
character instead.

Since I have selected the Tab character, the problem never reoccurred,
strange but true.

Naomi Bilodeau:
I encountered the same problem in Word. In my case, it turned out to be
due an initial space in the heading numbering. Word lets you choose
'spacer' to use after the automatically generated list number--if you
a space character (' ') instead of the default tab character, you get
weird spacing within some of your text when it prints.

Just go back to your style definition for the custom headings and make
sure that you use tab characters instead of spaces. You may have to
re-define new tabs in your style set to make everything look right, but
should fix the problem.

Dick Margulis:
You're right that it is a Word problem. I'm reasonably sure that it is a
rounding error in the way Word calculates character placement.

The workaround is to massage the heading prefix spacing. I'm not much of
a Word user, so I can't tell you the exact thing to do; but conceptually
what you want is for the prefix to be right-aligned on a tab and the
body of the heading to be left-aligned on another tab, a short distance
to the right of the first tab. If you make the prefix tab too narrow,
you'll get the effect you observed. But if you make it wide enough to
accommodate the widest combination of letters and numbers that can occur
(W.0.0), you should be okay. I think Word likes to kern the numeral 1 in
text, so when you measure for the tabs, use W.0.0 as your dummy number,
not W.1.1. Err on the side of too much space for the prefix, not too

Visually, this will look better than left-aligning the prefix and then
left-aligning the heading text, which will leave uneven spaces between
successive prefixes and headings (because you are using letters instead
of numerals). The slight irregularity in the left-side alignment of the
headings will be unnoticeable.

> Hi all - I have a Word-specific question I'm hoping one of you experts
> can help me with.
> I have Word 97 template which uses a custom numbering sequence for the
> appendixes (Outline Numbering>Custom). For example, style A1 numbers
> sections as A.1, A.2, B.2, style A2 = A.1.3, B.2.4 etc.
> All of this works very well except for one recurring problem - the
> typeface spacing is completely wild on *some* headings which use this
> complex numbering. It never occurs in the main body of the document,
> where I use Heading 1, 2 etc. (same typeface and sizing conventions).
> I'm using basic Arial for all headings, outline numbered and custom
> numbered. On screen and in print preview everything looks fine. When I
> print (to any printer - I've tried several, both PCL and PS) the text
> looks approximately like this:
> A.1 Calibrated Test Equipmen t
> or
> A.2.3 Input Acquisition and Outp ut Si gnals
> This phenomenon does not occur in every heading. But it is
> consistent - the same headings are wonky every time. It's not letter
> pairs either - "signals" is spaced out in one heading, but fine in
> another. I have changed the font to several things (all True Type, PS is
> not an
> option) and the same problem occurs. I've tried deleting the headings
> and retyping, cutting and pasting, checked the numbering, anything I can
> think of.

Ginna Dowler - Technical Writer
Quester Tangent Corporation
Sidney, BC
gdowler -at- questercorp -dot- com

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