The shadow cursor (WordPerfect, recent versions)

September 12, 2009 at 6:16 pm

Recent versions of WordPerfect come with a feature called the Shadow Cursor. When the Shadow Cursor is enabled, you can click anywhere in the document — even a new, blank document — and begin typing. (When the Shadow Cursor is disabled, you can’t simply click and type in a blank document; you have to start at the top left.) If you click in the horizontal center, any text you begin typing there will be centered. If you click at the right margin, any text you type at that point will be right-justified. Clicking anywhere else in the document produces standard left-justified text.

The Shadow Cursor appears as a gray horizontal line, plus an arrow (signifying the direction that text will go), wherever you position the mouse pointer.

If you drag in a blank area while the Shadow Cursor is on, a pop-up menu appears that gives you the option of inserting an image, clip art, a text box, a custom box, or a table at that location.

As a rule, people either love the Shadow Cursor or they hate it. Fortunately, it’s easy to turn the feature on and off. There are two ways: (1) by clicking the View menu and then clicking Shadow Cursor; or (2) by single-clicking the icon for the Shadow Cursor that appears toward the middle of the Application Bar. (If the Application Bar — WordPerfect’s term for what is commonly called the status bar — isn’t displayed, click the View menu, Application Bar or, after clicking the View menu, click Toolbars… and click the checkbox next to Application Bar, then OK out.) Both methods act as toggles. That is, one click enables the feature (or disables it if it’s already turned on); a second click disables it (or vice versa, depending on the original state).

You can change the appearance of the Shadow Cursor as well as the portion of the screen in which it is active. To do so, click the Tools menu, Settings, Display. On the main tab, about halfway down, you’ll see the options for the Shadow Cursor. They include settings for the color and shape of the Shadow Cursor. Also, you can choose to have the Shadow Cursor active within text only, within white space only, or in both places.

The options also allow you to change the “snap to” setting in effect in blank areas of the document. Most people probably choose to snap to Tabs; that way, when you click somewhere in the white space, the Shadow Cursor lands on a tab stop. By contrast, if you select snap to Margins, the cursor ends up either at the very center of the document (horizontally) or at the left or right margin. Snap to Spaces allows you to click at any horizontal position in the white space, although in my tests the cursor still favored tab stops much of the time.

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