Semi-Daily Journal Archive

The Blogspot archive of the weblog of J. Bradford DeLong, Professor of Economics and Chair of the PEIS major at U.C. Berkeley, a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

When Microsoft Word Attacks!

Fontana Labs screams for help:

Unfogged: Section breaks in Word: Does anyone know how to get rid of these? I accidentally inserted one into a document (I wanted to set aside a block of text by using '***,' which autocorrrect irritatingly turned into a break), and my attempts to delete it just made it reproduce. Now my efforts (I highlight the text on either side of a break, then press 'delete') just move them somewhere else. A little whimsical music in the background and we'd have a charming children's movie about the alienation of modern life...

From Vernor Vinge's A Fire Upon the Deep:

And all the newborn [intelligence's] attention turned upon the fleeing [human] vessels. Microbes, but suddenly advanced. How could this happen? A million schedules were suddenly advanced. An orderly flowering was out of the question now, and so there was no more need for the humans left in the Lab. The change was small for all its cosmic significance. For the humans remaining aground, a moment of horror, staring at their displays, realizing that all their fears were true (not realizing how much worse than true). Five second, ten seconds, more change than ten thousand years of a human civilization. A billion trillion constructions, mold curling out of every wall, rebuilding what had been merely superhuman. This was as powerful as a proper flowering, but not quite so finely tuned...

In order to tame Microsoft Word, you need to know that hexapodia is the key insight--no, you need to know:

  • Control-z undoes whatever abomination Word has just committed.
  • Copy it into WordPerfect, turn on reveal codes, and fix it in a couple of seconds. As a matter of fact, always work in WP and then save as Word.

The last thing heard from Fontana Labs was:

Oh good Lord. Pasting an apparently clean section of text into a new document produces a row of these dots that wasn't in the original. I cannot believe this is happening...

Before the mighty Becks came to the rescue with:

What you're seeing is not a line of characters or even a drawing object. Rather, it's a border. By default, if you enter three or more hyphens (-), underscores (_), equal signs (=), or asterisks (*) followed by a carriage return, Word automatically gives the current paragraph a thin, thick, double, or dotted bottom border. You must have done this accidentally. To get rid of the line, put the cursor directly above it and select Borders and Shading from the Format menu. Click the None box and click OK. To prevent the automatic insertion of borders, select AutoCorrect Options from the Tools menu, click the AutoFormat As You Type tab, and uncheck Border lines. In Word 97, the menu item is AutoCorrect and the check box is labeled simply Borders...

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