A SIMPLE new paragraph indent command please

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A SIMPLE new paragraph indent command please

Postby Flynn MacNiall » Wed Feb 13, 2019 5:27 am

I have a huge manuscript of which I am in the final (I freaking hope) editing stage.
I just read at scribophile.com I should indent instead of double (double) space a new paragraph. OK, but then she says not to use the Tab Key.
So, i have just spent more than 30 minutes trying to find a way as simple as the Tab Key to indent .5 inches on the first line of a new paragraph.
All the methods i find either speak of a Hanging Indent (whatever that is) or selecting the paragraph or paragraphs you want to indent and then move the blue first line marker.
Boy, that sounds like a lot of work just to move the first line of a new paragraph.
So, is there simple way to do this? Like maybe create your own Key Stroke for that purpose.
I can't be the first guy to ask this...

Thanks, FM :knock:
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Re: A SIMPLE new paragraph indent command please

Postby FJCC » Wed Feb 13, 2019 5:58 am

Formatting in OpenOffice should be controlled through styles. I will give you two versions of the instructions; one for those familiar with styles and a more detailed version for those new to styles.

Short version: Set the First Line indent of the paragraph style to 0.5 inch.

Detailed version: You can tell which Paragraph style you are using by placing the cursor somewhere in a normal paragraph, not a table or illustration caption or other special text, and looking at the left end of the formatting tool bar. That is the tool bar that shows the font, font size, whether the text is bold, etc. You are probably using the Default paragraph style. Select the menu item Format -> Styles and Formatting. A small dialog will appear. Just under its title there are five small icons. The leftmost one, for paragraph styles, should be selected. You can click it if you are not sure it is selected. At the bottom of the dialog there is a drop down list to filter the display. Set it to Applied Styles. Find the Default style, right click on it and select Modify. On the Indents and Spacing tab, in the Indent section set First Line to 0.5 inch.
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Re: A SIMPLE new paragraph indent command please

Postby Flynn MacNiall » Wed Feb 13, 2019 6:05 am

Hello FJCC

So, the first part i did, i set the .5 inch first line but as i type along and get to a paragraph what simple Key Stroke do i use to instigate that indent?
I read your detailed version, but am not all that clear on how all of that makes an indent on demand for any new paragraph i make.
I must be missing something in that instruction. Like, how does Google Docs KNOW that this is a new paragraph and the first line should be indented?

Thanks, any help is much appreciated.

FM
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Re: A SIMPLE new paragraph indent command please

Postby FJCC » Wed Feb 13, 2019 6:16 am

If you are using Google Docs, then I have no idea how to set paragraph indentation. I was answering for OpenOffice.

OpenOffice knows a new paragraph has started because you hit the Enter key. The Enter key is only used at the ends of paragraphs. The software takes care of wrapping the text to a new line inside of a paragraph. After hitting Enter, the next line will be indented as defined for the first line of a paragraph.
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Re: A SIMPLE new paragraph indent command please

Postby robleyd » Wed Feb 13, 2019 6:18 am

Here is the ELI5 version of what FJCC suggested; of course this is for OpenOffice, not Google docs.

This is what styles are used for in OpenOffice.

If all your paragraphs have the same style, then simply edit that style to have a first line indent of the required size.

Open your Styles and Formatting window - see the vertical arrow in the screen capture below - and right click on the style you want to modify.
styles01.png

The Paragraph Style widow will open; select the Indents and Spacing tab and change the value for Indent - First line as required.
styles02.png

Click OK once your changes are made and those changes will be applied to existing and new paragraphs that have that style.
styles03.png

If you have used several styles, you may need to edit all of them to include the change.

Read more about styles here.
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Re: A SIMPLE new paragraph indent command please

Postby Flynn MacNiall » Wed Feb 13, 2019 6:30 am

Hello

I must be dense. It sounds like you must select a paragraph after you have created the text and then tell Open Office to apply a style.
Is there no way, like using the Tab Key to just create an indent with one or two key strokes.
So, it must be maddening to try an explain something that seems simple to someone who just can't see the trees.
So, then, why should i NOT use the Tab Key, what does scribophile.com say "don't use a the Tab Key" when submitting a manuscript?

Sorry for the bother but on the other hand
THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR HELP
FM
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Re: A SIMPLE new paragraph indent command please

Postby FJCC » Wed Feb 13, 2019 7:03 am

Every paragraph has a style. If you have not done anything to apply a particular style, then all of your paragraphs are in the Default style. You can see in the first image that robleyd posted near the top left a vertical arrow is pointing just to the left of the word Default. That is the paragraph style. Click on that image so it is easier to see. If you open a new document, before you type anything, Default will be displayed there, unless you take steps to have another style applied.

I don't know what scribophile.com's concern is but the reason I would give for using the style to define your paragraph indent is that it will be automatically applied to every paragraph with that style. You don't have to use any key strokes after you define the indent in the style. You can also set up many other aspects of the paragraph formatting. If you want to adjust it later, you can edit the style and the whole document will be automatically adjusted. Save a back up copy of your document and try editing the Default style to set your indent.

I suggest you take a step back, stop thinking about manually setting the formatting and explore using styles. It will save you a lot of time in the long run. Robleyd included a link at the end of his post that should be very useful.
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Re: A SIMPLE new paragraph indent command please

Postby Bill » Wed Feb 13, 2019 12:06 pm

Flynn MacNiall wrote:It sounds like you must select a paragraph after you have created the text and then tell Open Office to apply a style.

Only the first paragraph of the document or the first paragraph after a paragraph which has a different format.

Flynn MacNiall wrote:Is there no way, like using the Tab Key to just create an indent with one or two key strokes.

Those extra keystrokes are not necessary. New paragraphs will be indented automatically because new paragraphs inherit the formatting from the previous paragraph.

Flynn MacNiall wrote:So, then, why should i NOT use the Tab Key, what does scribophile.com say "don't use a the Tab Key" when submitting a manuscript?

They may have some other reason, but using tabs to indent a first line was the practice with typewriters. Word processing software eliminates that extra keystroke by automating the first line indent.

Edit: I just read your first post again and realized that you're trying to change an existing document. Using a copy of the document, right-click in the first paragraph and select "Edit paragraph style". Add the first line indent setting to the style. Now, open Find and Replace. Select the Regular expressions option. Insert "^\t" (without quotes) in the Search for box and leave "Replace with" empty. Click "Replace All".
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Re: A SIMPLE new paragraph indent command please

Postby John_Ha » Thu Feb 14, 2019 1:42 pm

You will find much useful information in the Writer FAQ, the Writer Tutorials, the up to date Writer guide and the Writer Manual. May I suggest you bookmark the pages.

In an ideal world one reads them before embarking on a large project. Remember the adage: An hour spent planning saves ten or one hundred hours later down the line. Had you started out using styles you would only have to have edited the style for that paragraph and bingo - the entire document would have been corrected. As it you have a classic "Well, I would not have started from here" problem to fix.

It is now probably quickest and easiest to remove all formatting and get back to the plain text rather than trying to find every problem and attempt to fix it. Do so by Ctrl+A (to select everything) and in the Formatting box, select Clear Formatting. Now apply formatting from scratch to the plain text. I can format a book from scratch in an hour or so.

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Press F1 to access the Help screen and search for your problem

The chapter headings in the manual are:

1 - Introducing Writer
2 - Setting up Writer
3 - Working with Text
4 - Formatting Pages
5 - Printing, Exporting, Faxing and E-Mailing
6 - Introduction to Styles
7 - Working with Styles
8 - Working with Graphics
9 - Working with Tables
10 - Working with Templates
11 - Using Mail Merge
12 - Tables of Contents, Indexes and Bibliographies
13 - Working with Master Documents
14 - Working with Fields
15 - Using Forms in Writer
16 - Customizing Writer – Keyboard shortcuts.

When a pop-up window opens, click the Help button for extensive help on that function - it is often more comprehensive than the manual.
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See the Writer Manual, the Writer FAQ, the Writer Tutorials and the Writer guide.

Remember: Always save your Writer files as .odt files. - see here for the many reasons why.
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Re: A SIMPLE new paragraph indent command please

Postby keme » Thu Feb 14, 2019 3:07 pm

For useful stuff, skip to the line in green below. All the rest is propaganda background info.
Flynn MacNiall wrote:...
So, then, why should i NOT use the Tab Key, what does scribophile.com say "don't use a the Tab Key" when submitting a manuscript?
...

Why?
In a small document of just a couple of pages and nothing of lasting/reuse value, it makes little difference. You go through and make the changes you need without losing track of anything, print and forget. You should still use styles instead, because it does not constitute more work, and it builds a healthy habit. Why it is healthy? Read on...

In a huge manuscript you need to establish standards which are centrally managed. This is why styles are useful.

When you use tab, you must insert that tab at the start of every paragraph. If you set a first line indent in the style used for the paragraphs, you do it once and it propagates to every paragraph using that style, which is every paragraph in your document unless you have explicitly selected a different style for parts of your text.

If you reformat your document to use different marking for paragraphs (spacing, drop caps), you need to remove those tabs again.

If your manuscript is imported into software which reflows it (like readers for vision impaired, or epub solutions/"digital book" apps), the tab stops may not translate well, and messes up the layout.

Every time you merge or split paragraphs, you must be careful to also remove/insert the tab as appropriate.

How?

As this is a major reformatting of your document, you may want to work on a copy, not the original. Save your work with a different name!

robleyd's post above involves 4-5 mouse clicks and a number entry which, with any luck, fixes your entire manuscript. His post looks like a lot of info, but that's just because it includes pictures. The Styles and Formatting window can be opened from the Format menu if it is not already enabled. You can also find it "docked" in the right side panel by clicking the second tool icon on the right edge of that panel, or you can press function key F11 to toggle the floating version of it.

If you find that this doesn't work immediately, the most likely cause is that manual paragraph formatting has been applied. A quick way to remove all manual formatting (NB! this includes common emphasis like italic/bold/underline): select all text (keyboard shortcut ctrl+A) and select menu Format - Default formatting (shortcut ctrl-M).

Note that if your document was ever edited in "Microsoft Word context" (saved from MS Word, or saved as a MS Word document), there may be "rogue styles" which make the process a bit more complicated.
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