Word 2004: Flaky behaviour when switching to next style

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Macintosh
August 7th, 2004 • 7:35 am

In Word, as part of a style definition, you can specify what style should be used for the following paragraph, i.e. when you hit the Return key. By default, the setting for the style of the next paragraph is the same as the current style, but in the case of styles for headings, you don’t want that. You want Word to revert to your default body text style (“Normal” or whatever you’ve called it) when you hit Return at the end of a heading.

The problem is that, for as long as I can remember, Word’s mechanism for switching styles as per the style definition has been flaky. It works in most cases, but from time to time when you hit Return after typing text in a heading style whose next style is the body text style, Word “forgets” to switch to the specified body text style for the next paragraph and stays in the same heading style.

And that problem is still there in Word 2004. I’ve just experienced it.

What causes it? I have no idea. As far as I know, I’ve just typed Return. I didn’t do anything else at the same time. Yet Word failed to switch to my body text style and started a new paragraph in the same heading style, even though the heading style’s definition specifies that the next style should be my body style. When I went back up and pressed Return again, Word switched styles just fine.

Can I reliably reproduce the problem? Of course I can’t. It just happens from time to time, not all the time. And the problem doesn’t follow any pattern that I can tell. I am not about to spend half an hour trying to hit Return at the end of a heading paragraph repeatedly in order to determine how often it happens. That’s Microsoft’s job.

It’s not my job as a Word user to spend valuable time trying to come up with “reproducible scenarios“. I am just saying that the bug exists, that I experience it from time to time, and that it’s yet another example of how flaky Microsoft’s code is.

The rest is Microsoft’s problem.

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