Written and published April 1, 2000
Have you ever added text to a document and be surprised that your new text was coming in bold, colored, or in a font you never expected? There are reasons for that, so that's the topic of the week.
These little experiments demonstrate the simple formatting of characters and spaces. Try them in your own favorite program, whether it's a word processing program or any other application in which you type.
What happens now? In many/most programs since the space was bolded along with "we," when you place your cursor immediately after the space the bolding is carried on. This has confused many a good person. The space, although not a character and sometimes invisible, still counts in your selection and can carry formatting. Such is the case with AppleWorks 5 and most programs. Word 98, however, is an exception: the programmers seem to have made this easier on us. So in Word 98, you'll find the new text is not bolded.
As an experiment in your programs, instead of manually dragging to select "We" double-click it and see what happens. If the application selects the space along with the word, it may format that space with the same formatting you apply to the selected word. In that case, your new text inherits the formatting, just like in the last experiment. (Again Word 98, and perhaps some other programs don't format the spacing that follows. I believe Word 5.1 did, however.)
Here's another experiment to try:
A Good Typing Habit
For the most part, as I type, I prefer to get my words onto the page, then go back and format my text. However, you may prefer to format your text as you type. In that case, be sure to get into the habit of always typing a space after your last text character -- and then doing your formatting (not formatting the space). That little space will save you a lot of time in the end.
To see what I mean try this:
Try this again, but this time, lets add a space to the end:
Sometimes the formatting time and steps you save can be greater than just clicking the bold button an extra time or two. For example, in Adobe GoLive, a web site creation program, you commonly turn text into a link. If you type the text to become a link, then make the link, all text you type after that will also be part of the link. But, if you type a space after the text that's about to become a link, then only the desired text becomes a link. You can then place your cursor after the space and carry on adding plain, unlinked text.
After you understand these little experiments, you can carry their logic further. You'll notice that formatting of all sorts is carried on the same way. Formatting of paragraphs is also carried forward. Maybe I'll talk about that next week.