scottdavid21
Member

MS Word Peculiarities

Sometimes, when I open a Word doc from a client to proofread, I see some odd things:

 

  1. Non-breaking spaces. Now, there's nothing wrong with non-breaking spaces. But what I occasionally see is a seemingly random distribution of them.
  2. Arrows where there ought not be arrows, like in place of paragraph marks.
  3. And this new one, which has me completely confuzled -- the peculiar square doughnut shape (see image).

The first two I always shrug off, attributing them to different versions of Word, and clean them up easily enough. This doughnut, though...I don't know what to make of it. I've never seen anything like it. If I turn Show/Hide off, it disappears. But not only does it disappear but the text it's in front of shifts to the left as if that doughnut never existed.

 

WHAT IS THAT DOUGHNUT?? It's driving me mad. And making me hungry.

"You got any more cheese than this?" --Wendell
ACCEPTED SOLUTION
kat303
Member

Those are non-breaking spaces symbols. Mostly you see them in paragraphs that are fully adjusted. Sort of like newspaper columns where the left and right margins are even. To achieve that, Word puts several spaces between words to achieve that result. The rest of the text will have that circle/dougnut shaped symbols which indicates NOT to put any additional spaces between the words.  Copied and pasted text from the internet may have a lot of those symbols.

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8 REPLIES 8
kat303
Member

Those are non-breaking spaces symbols. Mostly you see them in paragraphs that are fully adjusted. Sort of like newspaper columns where the left and right margins are even. To achieve that, Word puts several spaces between words to achieve that result. The rest of the text will have that circle/dougnut shaped symbols which indicates NOT to put any additional spaces between the words.  Copied and pasted text from the internet may have a lot of those symbols.

cupidmedia
Member

Yeah it looks like it's been copy-pasted frm somewhere else. Those non-breaking spaces instead of regular spaces often show up when copy-pasting from the Internet. The "arrow" on the line before 4 is a soft line break that has been used instead of a hard line break (a paragraph break). Which again could be because of the weird initial source.

Thank you both. Jennifer, I wanted to "Accept" your response as well but it looks like I can only do that once. And I'll have to look up and see what a soft line break is, as I'm not familiar with that term.

 

 

Anyway, just to be clear...so there are no actual doughnuts involved here? Smiley Sad

 

 

"You got any more cheese than this?" --Wendell


@David S wrote:

Thank you both. Jennifer, I wanted to "Accept" your response as well but it looks like I can only do that once. And I'll have to look up and see what a soft line break is, as I'm not familiar with that term.

 

 

Anyway, just to be clear...so there are no actual doughnuts involved here? Smiley Sad

 

 


 No, no actual doughnuts (that you can eat) are involved.

 

A soft line break is what happens with word wrap. When you type and get to the end of the line, by the right margin, the text then automatically goes to the next line. Each time that happens, that's a soft line break. When you press the enter key at the end of a paragraph, that's referred to as a hard line break.

 

 


@Kathy T wrote:

@David S wrote:

Thank you both. Jennifer, I wanted to "Accept" your response as well but it looks like I can only do that once. And I'll have to look up and see what a soft line break is, as I'm not familiar with that term.

 

 

Anyway, just to be clear...so there are no actual doughnuts involved here? Smiley Sad

 

 


 No, no actual doughnuts (that you can eat) are involved.

 

A soft line break is what happens with word wrap. When you type and get to the end of the line, by the right margin, the text then automatically goes to the next line. Each time that happens, that's a soft line break. When you press the enter key at the end of a paragraph, that's referred to as a hard line break.

 

 


A hard return signifies the end of a paragraph; a soft return signifies the end of a line.

 

Soft and hard return.png

 

ETA: http://www.dummies.com/software/microsoft-office/word/how-to-use-soft-and-hard-returns-in-word-2010/

"Certa bonum certamen"

From what I've seen "soft break" is used by different people to mean both a non-paragraph inserted line break and to automatic word wrap, which is part of why this topic is confusing.


@Charles K wrote:

From what I've seen "soft break" is used by different people to mean both a non-paragraph inserted line break and to automatic word wrap, which is part of why this topic is confusing.


 

A non paragraph inserted line break is used for short sentences that you want on a seperate line but still in the same paragraph. But inserting a non paragraph line break (shift, Enter) you don't get that double space between paragraphs. The symbol for that is an arrow that curves to the left.

 

Word wrap is different. Thats when the words automatically go to the next line when it reaches the right margin. The symbol for that is a dot, just like the dots that indicate a space.

David,

 

In addition to what's been said, either the author's source document, or its HTML conversion, or the HTML/pdf unpacking that was done to give you a workable (if likely unoriginal) file, tried to  replicate the bullet list character by character instead of using a proper bullet formatter.

A quick Internet search on some relatively unique phrasing can verify whether the document has already been published. You can then—assuming you do not want to facilitate plagiarism or other forms of fraud—either question the client about authorship and ownership, or make your own judgment and wash your hands of the whole business.

 

Best,

MM