Justification is a particular alignment setting where the horizontal spacing of words is adjusted so that the edges of the text are aligned evenly along both the left and right hand margins. However the user needs to use this with caution since this can lead to somewhat unnatural gaps between words and rivers of whitespace flowing down the page.
Line spacing in most word processors allows a variety of settings. It is important to understand the difference between spacing between paragraphs and that between successive lines. A paragraph is a unit of text without deliberate carriage returns. Thus a block of text may have embedded ( hard ) carriage returns and therefore actually be understood by the word processor as consisting of many paragraphs. Some sophisticated packages like Microsoft Word allow spaces to be set both before and after a paragraph.
Within a single paragraph line spacing can be set perhaps by reference to a single line spacing ( 1.5 times, double ) or by a number of points ( see font sizes above ).
In general deliberate manipulation of margins should be avoided because the default margins are usually set to correspond with reasonable values that the printer can support ( desktop printers can't print to the edge of a sheet ).
If you need to set margins then right and left margins should be equal if working on a single page layout. If the pages are to face one another then the inner margins ( those that will go into the binding ) should be half as wide as those on the outer edges.
The top margin should be less than or equal to the bottom margin to avoid the impression that the text is falling off the page.
How many text styles ?
Within your overall document style there may be a number of styles from the point of view of the DTP or word processing package. In principle there should be a style for each differently formatted piece of content. So for example a reasonable starting list would be :
u Heading 1
u Heading 2
u Heading 3
u Plain Body Text
u List Bullet
u List Number
Try not to use the default style for your software package and apply all the differences just by selecting bold, font size etc. This just negates the purpose of styles as all the paragraphs will be identified by the package as having their own custom rules and there will be little or no opportunity to make global modifications ( to all bulleted text for example ).
About the author
The author works for Kutchka - whose innovative software product - DocTidy - allows corporate organisations to automatically apply their chosen "style" and branding identity to Microsoft Word documents; achieving consistently high quality results, whilst minimising the time input of users.
For more information read the case studies on the Kutchka website ( www.kutchka.com ) and contact us at Enquiries@kutchka.com
John Miles : Design for Desktop publishing
Still a great book for understanding the arts that printers have developed over centuries and the electronic world needs to remember.
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