Word 2004: Problem with highlighted breaks fixed, with a twist

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Macintosh
June 3rd, 2004 • 12:56 am

A while ago, I reported that Word X suffered from an annoying bug where page breaks, column breaks and section breaks would not be highlighted even when they were selected (in “Normal” view, obviously; in “Page Layout” view, these breaks are not visible).

I am relieved to be able to report that the problem is finally fixed in Word 2004. That puts a pretty hefty price tag on what is essential a bug fix, but what can you do?

Interestingly, when they fixed this bug, Microsoft also introduced a new behaviour. In previous versions of Word, the dotted line(s) indicating the break would always span the entire width of the document window. Now, if you have a left indent in the current style, the dotted line begins where the indent begins:

Page breaks in Word 2004

Of course, this begs the question: Why does a page break have a style to begin with? A page break is a page break. It’s not centered, bold, or indented! It indicates the beginning of a new page, and that’s it. But the fact that page breaks have a style is a symptom of Word’s deep architectural problems, where a page break is considered a character that is part of the paragraph that immediately follows it. It doesn’t make any sense from the point of view of the end user, but there you go. What the purpose of including the indent in the way the dotted line is displayed is, I do not know. You also have to wonder why Microsoft stopped there and didn’t also include other aspects of the formatting of the following paragraph. After all, if a page break preceding an indented paragraph is also indented, it should also be in Bold if the paragraph is in Bold, shouldn’t it?

But that would be too consistent :).

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