Thursday, November 12, 2009

Fonting can be Haunting

Plugging in...

The tutor had the recent pleasure of working with a distinguished gentleman author in the midst of writing a book. Out of the twelve chapters already written, four of them had a visually disturbing problem. The customary font, Times New Roman, and the customary size, 12 pt, was SO small on the screen and when printed, that the author was forced to make the font size 18 pt. The publishing editor provided guidelines for the electronic submission of the draft, and size 18 was NOT in the guidelines. Try as the author might, he was unable to correct the problem. For the record, the editor, too, was incapable of solving the font mystery.

After the Tutor reviewed one document in depth (the chapters were typed in separate documents), the styles* used within, and the document formatting, the culprit made itself known. Somehow, somewhere, something (someone?) had superscripted the ENTIRE document and changed the spacing to add 10 points after each carriage return.

It wasn't a quick fix. There were many mixed styles in the document requiring editing. Once edited though, the corrected styles automatically changed the formatting in the document, as intended.

* In Microsoft Word, a style is a collection of formatting instructions. One uses Word styles to identify and format the structural elements in a document. So one could use the "Title" style for your title, "Body Text" style for body text, "Caption" style for the picture captions and "Heading 1" for the major headings.

ALWAYS REMEMBER: before calling for help - is it plugged in, is the font super or subscripted, and is it turned on?