Have you ever hit the Delete key to remove a hard return (a.k.a. Paragraph Break) or Page Break or Section Break in your document, only to create an unmitigated formatting disaster?
If you’ve done it just now, relax. Then hit CTRL-Z (undo) and read on. I’ll show you (a) why this happens and (b) how to prevent it happening ever again.
Here’s a very simple illustration. Say you’ve got an old WordPerfect document, and there’s a random Section Break in the middle of the text (and I find this is a common occurrence in converted WordPerfect documents):
If you simply click your cursor just before the Section Break and hit Delete, this is what invariably happens:
Removing the Section Break caused the second paragraph to “inherit” the formatting of the first paragraph (the one just before the Section Break). Granted, this is a pretty simplistic example. But the basic principle still holds: removing any text break (because this also applies to Page Breaks, Column Breaks, etc.) will cause Word to choose one set of formatting to apply to the text before and after the now-removed break.
The solution? Isolate the break with hard returns (a.k.a. paragraph breaks) before and after. Then remove the break.
What formatting disasters have you inadvertently created while working in Word? Let me know in the comments below.