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When working with long blocks of text in QuarkXPress, you'll sometimes find yourself in the situation where the text that you're working with has lines that get pushed up to the tops of columns, left down at the bottom and just don't look right. Let me show you what I mean. As we click down here to page 3 of this Magazine spread layout in the Petstumes Project, you can see that this 3 column block of text has a few lines up at the top here with most of the paragraph hanging around down here. Well, the situation gets even worse if we say resize this little guy here and suddenly you've got one word at the top of this column, never a good thing.
There's a paragraph attribute that could control that, so that it doesn't happen. Let's have a look at what it is. Under the Style menu is Formats and when you open the Formats dialog, right here is Keep Lines Together and it does what it says. If you enable it, you can either have it keep all of the lines in the paragraph together which isn't really appropriate for what we've got right here or you can say starting with the first two lines and ending with the last two lines, make sure that they're always altogether.
In other words, make sure that the first two lines always appear at the top or the bottom of a column and make sure that the last two lines of the paragraph will also appear at the top or bottom of a column. Even if it means forcing a paragraph to break across columns or across text boxes. Another way to control this kind of thing is with the Keep with Next paragraph control. If we enable that, it forces this paragraph to always be with the next paragraph. Now, that's almost useless for what we're doing here, but if you had a subhead or a headline that really needed to keep with the story that went after it, this would make it so that headline or subhead always appeared with the story, even if that story were to begin at the top of a column.
It would move that headline to be attached to the story that goes with it. So, we'll turn that off for right, but keep this selected here. When we click the Apply button, we see that Texas is no longer by itself at the top of that column, but instead, QuarkXPress forced that paragraph to break early to keep the two lines up at the top. Now, let's cancel out of that, because I want to show you another tool in QuarkXPress that helps you find these kinds of problems. It's under the Utilities menu and it's called Line Check.
Now, Line Check can look for a lot of different things. So, under Search Criteria, you tell it what you want it to look for. Widows and Orphans are what we're dealing with right now. They're called Widows and Orphans for historical reasons, but basically a Widow is like Texas up here. It's aligned all by itself at the top of a column or a text box that belongs with the paragraph somewhere else. An Orphan would be the first line of a paragraph at the bottom of a column or a text box that really should be with the rest of its paragraph farther on down the line.
You don't have to know the difference. It doesn't matter. If you select Widow and Orphan and click OK, you can then go back to the Utilities menu and back to Line Check and say show me the First Line in my layout that has that problem. Bingo! It highlights Texas. Now, it doesn't help you fix it, but it helps you find it. So now, if we go back to our Style menu and go to Formats and change it, so that we're keeping the first and last two lines together, click OK, we solved our problem.
Now, one thing to remember is that when you're in the Format dialog box, all of these paragraph attributes can be added to paragraph styles. So, if you're using styles or style sheets, when you're formatting your paragraphs, by including things like Keep Lines Together in the style, you'll guarantee that the text throughout your document won't have the kinds of problems that we just encountered.
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