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Using Double Carriage Returns to Control Paragraphing of Narrative Reports


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#1 c24m48

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Posted 24 May 2011 - 07:24 PM

Everybody that reads my posts knows that I use double carriage returns at the end of fact notes to control paragraphing in narrative reports. I gather that there are others of you that do the same thing, though I suspect that most RM4 users do not want each fact to begin a new paragraph.

In any case, I have long lamented that many times I seem to get too much white space between paragraphs. I have had some time lately when I wasn't under the gun of an upcoming family reunion to investigate the problem further. In the immortal words of Pogo, it seems to be the case that "we have met the enemy, and he is us". Which is to say, I have really been a little too aggressive with my double carriage returns. I have included them at the end of every fact note, including facts that otherwise would have no fact note at all. If I don't have any text for a fact note, I include a dummy fact note consisting only of the double carriage returns. But it turns out that such an absolutist strategy sometimes creates the extra white space between paragraphs that I have been lamenting. So I need to be slightly less aggressive with my double carriage returns at the end of fact notes.

The following strategy seems to provide satisfactory results in all cases without ever producing too much white space between paragraphs.

  • Include the double carriage returns at the end of the fact note for every single family fact (marriage, divorce, etc.) without exception, including creating dummy family fact notes containing only the double carriage returns when I have family facts that don't otherwise need a fact note.
  • In the event that there is a family note, it must be treated like a family "fact" and it must end with a double carriage return.
  • Include the double carriage returns at the end of the fact note for every single individual fact (birth, death, etc.) except for the fact that prints last for that particular individual. The fact note (if any) for the fact that prints the last for the particular individual must not end with a double carriage return, nor with a single carriage return for that matter. For individual facts that do not print last and that do not otherwise need a fact note, include a dummy fact note consisting only of a double carriage return.
  • In the event that there is an individual note, it must be treated like an individual "fact" and it must always be treated as the "last fact" that does not end with a double carriage return.
  • Which fact prints the last will vary from individual to individual. Also, adding a new fact for an individual that's a new "last fact" requires that the fact note for the previous "last fact" be amended to end with a double carriage return. So a certain rather obsessive/compulsive attention to detail is required to make this strategy work.
Well, that's it. That's the whole strategy. It's just that I have a huge number of fact notes associated with "last" individual facts for which I need to remove the double carriage returns at the end of the note.

Well, there is one exception, but I think I already have most or all of the individuals with that exception handled already. For individuals without spouses or children and who have very little data, I have already been omitting the double carriage returns. In register reports or modified register reports, such individuals only appear in the list of children of their parents. They are not listed as people in their own right. So the listing for such individuals in narrative reports usually looks better without the double carriage returns. That's the way I have always entered the data for such individuals, and I don't need to change anything going forward.

Jerry

#2 c24m48

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Posted 09 June 2011 - 02:58 PM

Part of my strategy in using carriage returns in notes to control paragraphing is to avoid as much post processing of RTF files as possible when such files are printed to take to family reunions. I just ran into a glitch that I can't control with the carriage returns. It's a case where there is too much vertical white space,and there are no carriage returns in any notes that can be removed to get rid of the excess vertical white space.

The glitch with too much vertical white space happens when there are multiple marriages, for example, if individual A married first individual B and married second individual C. Let's suppose there were no children from either marriage so as to keep the description of the glitch as simple as possible. In an register or modified register report, here's the sequence of printing.

  • Individual facts for A.
  • Family facts for A and B.
  • Individual facts for B.


  • Family facts for A and C.
  • Individual facts for C.
The excessive white space is between the individual facts for B and the family facts for A and C. By contrast, the white space between the individual facts for A and the family facts for A and B is not excessive.

Arguably, the so-called "excessive" white space is not excessive and it's by design, intended to separate the two families. But I find it rather jarring. It's a little more jarring when there are no children in the report than when there are children, and the presence of children in the report seems to soften the impact of the white space. Indeed, I suspect that the reason the white space seems so jarring when there are no children is because there is intended to be white space between the individual facts for B and the children for A and B, and there is intended to be additional white space between the children for A and B and the family facts for A and C. So when there are no children for A and B, there is double the intended amount of white space.

The only ways to deal with the glitch right now are to ignore it or to remove the excessive white space with Microsoft Word or other word processor. For the future, I'll post a Wish List item specific to this particular occurrence of excessive vertical white space.

Jerry

#3 Nettie

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Posted 09 June 2011 - 03:09 PM

I agree with you Jerry. :)

Printers/Publishers tell you to get rid of the extra white spaces, so it:

1. looks better to the reader/readable
2. uses less paper.

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