At a loss for words

Lately, Microsoft Office Word 2007 really chaps my hide. Not only have Microsoft fractured the tried-and-true interface with that "fluent" crap, but they have added a zillion goofy new features that few people are likely to actually use. And the one feature that would really help me out doesn’t seem to exist.
I work with a lot of technical documents, and I need the ability to control the flow of my content. For a long time, Word has provided the ability to keep one paragraph tethered to the following paragraph, so that if a page break occurs, then they both move to the next page together. That’s great for some styles of text, such as headings, which need to stick with (at least) the following body paragraph.
But I don’t always know what’s coming next! Consider a figure or caption, which needs to stick with the paragraph that precedes it. Wouldn’t it have made more sense to offer a "keep with previous" option, at least as an alternative? Otherwise, I have to comb through my content manually every time I repaginate the document.
I’d welcome any suggestions. I’m gonna go sulk.
– Greg

5 thoughts on “At a loss for words

  1. True, widow and orphan controls do exist (they’re found under the extended options on the Home > Paragraph section in the Word 2007 ribbon), but text can only be considered a widow or orphan if it’s (1) longer than 2 lines and (2) leaves fewer than 2 lines on the other side of a page break. If I’m working with an inline figure, then it’s only considered one line, so those settings don’t really apply to it. I’ve been participating in the Office 2010 tech preview, and it doesn’t appear they’ve added this feature (yet) in the new release. Meh.

  2. I didn’t realise how long ago you’d written this last night. Your pages are fascinating, Greg. It was such a pleasure visiting last night. Hope you don’t mind:-) Up until now, have you found a solution?

  3. I tested this with a photo and it seemed to work:Select the paragraphs (or photo in my case) that you want to keep together on a single page. On the Page Layout tab, click the Paragraph Dialog Box Launcher, and then click the Line and Page Breaks tab. Select the Keep with next check box. This doesn’t work for what you’re doing?

  4. Yes it does, but we’re talking about long technical documents here with lots of figures. Using "keep with next" requires that I create a special style just for those paragraphs that come before figures and remember to apply the style to each one. If I then need to move a figure elsewhere in the document, I no longer want the "keep with next" formatting tied to the preceding paragraph (because it could create unnecessarily awkward pagination), so I have to switch styles again. In short, I’d much rather incorporate the "keep with previous" formatting into my figure style, so that no matter where I choose to drop the figure in my document, the behavior follows. I suppose I could do it with a macro that automatically applies styles based on figures in my document. But I’m looking for an out-of-the-box solution. Thanks!

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