MS Weird, I mean Word, question

Okay. I have a 53-page document. On page 41 there is a Section Break (Odd Page). I do not want it to skip to the next odd page but merely to the next page (which is an even page).

When I do this, the entire document REFORMATS. From the BEGINNING. For something I did on PAGE 43.

I have put in a hard page at the end. Everything OK. Then I take out the Odd Page break. REFORMAT.

I Xed out everything after the last line of p. 41, including the section break. All OK. I pasted the Xed-out stuff into anew document, removed the odd page break, replaced it with a Next Page break. All OK. Pasted it into the document following the hard page break. Everything fine. Removed the hard page break, since I didn’t need to skip two pages. REFORMAT.

Okay. It’s only the last 10 pages. So I tried to change the page number of that Odd Page from 43 to 42. Hah! Try to fool MS Word, willya? Won’t work. For that MS Word will REFORMAT YOUR DOCUMENT.

In other words, page 43 is going to remain page 43 no matter what. (When it reformats, it changes everything so that the first section ends on p. 42 instead of p. 41.)

I am, unfortunately, the Word expert in the office (this is because everyone else avoids it, pretty much). So there is nobody here who knows more about Word than I do (a sad state of affairs, truly–although in my defense I do sometimes answer other people’s questions about said program). But surely the SDMB has someone who knows more about Word than I do, and if that person is reading this…

Please! Help!

Thank you.

Hard to tell from this distance. MS Word is indeed weird, and its weirdness is exponentially proportional to the size of your document. Moreover, the value of the exponent is inversely proportional to your knowledge of MSW! In other words, you get screwed quickly with big docs, and it’s worse if you don’t know much.

I can only suggest that you save a copy of the doc, then in the copy use page setup to work with your pages. Since I don’t even know what version of Word you have, I can’t give you exact instructions. All I can say is that you should decide if you want this to be a “book” with even and odd pages, or just have every page the same. Set it up accordingly in page setup. Then at the appropriate place, insert a section break/next page and see if things work.

Other than that, I have two other things you can do:
[li]Add a new reply with the version of Word you’re using. That might help.[/li][li]Join the Techwr-l web site and mailing list, and ask your question there. The URL is[/li]On that page, you can sign up for the e-mail list through the links in the middle of the right-hand column. If any site/list has MS Weird experts wandering around in it, TECHWR-L does.

Word 2000. I have Word2003 on the computer but nobody in my office is using that, yet. (I tried it once. It has done something with the symbol characters. I’m not in the mood to learn a new software right now.)

I fixed the problem by splitting the file again, putting in just a plain old hard-page return, then stripping out all the codes in the section I was adding, putting it back in, and putting in the page numbers, etc. again. I just love doing things over, and over, and over. What fun.

The file is ultimately going into a PDF file so it’s even and odd, or right-hand and left-hand pages and unfortunately it had to be all in one document, and with certain blank pages coming out in the right place. It was one of those things where 5% of the document caused 95% of the problems and took 95% of the time! (Which happens often, actually.)

Anyhow, thanks for the link to this site. I’ll check it out.

Glad you fixed it. You’ve discovered why many tech writers avoid using MS Word for anything over a few pages. The contractors I know who do take MS Word projects charge extra for them!

For a book that size, especially one that’s going to have book-style pages and go to PDF, I use Adobe FrameMaker. It, of course, has its own problems… The learning curve for it is steep; steeper than MS Word. I observe, though, that the same “transparency” that makes MS Word rather easy to start with also makes it harder to use for book production.

Good luck!

I’m not particularly proficient at the high-level sorcery features in Word, but I do know that various attributes are stored with the section break that pertain to the section preceding it (just as various attributes are stored with a paragraph break which is the source of occasional surprises when you delete one). I guess my suggestion is too late, but I would have suggested putting a section break for a new page immediately after the section break (odd page), which should make it pick up the attributes of the preceding section break, and then delete the section break (odd page).

IMHO – Word is a pretty good word processor, at least for short and simple documents.

But it’s a pretty lousy layout program, especially for long and complex documents.

So for next time, you might consider a layout program like InDesign or Quark; not necessarily for the initial document entry, but the final creation. Myself, I still use PageMaker, but that’s obsolete today.

Just my 2 cents.