Line Breaks (Word and WordPerfect)

May 23, 2009 at 10:50 pm

A line break is a way of moving the cursor down to the next line in a document without actually ending one paragraph and beginning another one.

It’s a rather strange concept, perhaps best illustrated by an example. Imagine that you are typing a series of sequentially numbered paragraphs — perhaps in a contract — and you want to insert a non-numbered paragraph in between. Pressing the Enter key creates a new paragraph and adds the next number. Of course, you can press the Enter key a second time to stop the automatic numbering, but then it can be cumbersome to resume numbering in the following paragraph (particularly in Word, where pressing the numbering button often produces either the wrong number in sequence or a correctly numbered paragraph that is indented differently from all the other paragraphs).

The line break gives you the best of both worlds: It allows you to place text sans numbering below a numbered paragraph and then, simply by pressing the Enter key, resume consecutive numbering. That is because the line break merely extends the paragraph, rather than severing it. It moves the cursor down, allowing you to separate the text visually from the numbered paragraph, while retaining the same line spacing and indentation of the paragraph.

Another common use for line breaks is to start a new line that isn’t governed by any “spacing after paragraph” setting in WordPerfect or “before spacing” or “after spacing” in Word. So, for instance, if you have a single-spaced paragraph in WP that is set up to add 1.5 lines of space between paragraphs, inserting a line break will continue the single spacing, rather than inserting 1.5 lines. Similarly, if you are working with single-spaced paragraphs in Word that have been configured to add 12 points after, inserting a line break will allow you to type on the very next line, without any blank space between the lines of text.

In WordPerfect, the key combination Ctrl Shift L inserts a line break.

In Word, Shift Enter creates a line break.

A little experimentation will make it clearer how line breaks work. Soon you’ll wonder how you lived without them.

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Double-click codes to change settings (WordPerfect) Track Changes Options (Word)


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