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Keeping Fields and Text Together

Fields are a great boon for developing interactive documents. One common use of fields is to create cross-references to other parts of a document. When inserting a cross-reference field, you may have some type of special identifying text that you need to always follow the field. To keep the field and the identifying text together, you separate the two by a non-breaking space.

Non-breaking spaces are used to control how Word automatically wraps text at the end of a line. The non-breaking space ensures that the text before the space and the text after the space are always on the same line. In the case of fields, however, this doesn't seem to work. Instead, Word blithely wraps text right at the non-breaking space.

This is frustrating, but it appears to be the way that older versions of Word are designed. For some reason, the field before the non-breaking space is not viewed as "text," so Word ignores the non-breaking space. The only way around this is to create your document as you normally would (with the cross-references), and then look through the document to find any instances where the cross-reference is on one line and the identifying text on the next. You can then insert a line break character just before the field so that it is forced to the next line.

The drawback to this, obviously, is that if you edit your document or if the cross-references change, you'll need to go through and remove the line breaks to make sure that the text wrapping still makes sense.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (7656) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

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