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Each paragraph in 2 columns starts horizontally even

Posted: 2013-03-12 21:52:04
by NisusUser
(Step 1) I would like to create a bilingual document with two columns. The source text is plain Unicode text (.txt file) and I'll copy and paste it, probably from TextEdit or just another NWP file. However, I want each corresponding paragraph to start at the same height from the top of the page. Sometimes the text from language 1 will be longer, sometimes the text from language 2. Is something like this possible in a reasonably convenient way with NWP? I'm assuming that if so, probably a macro is needed.

(Step 2) Another twist - the raw text has footnotes embedded in {curved brackets}. If "Step 1" is possible, is there a way to create a macro to take all the {bracketed text} in column A and put it in sequential footnotes at the bottom of column A and do the same with the {footnoted material} in column B?

My objective would be to create a PDF from what I get with those two steps.


Re: Each paragraph in 2 columns starts horizontally even

Posted: 2013-03-12 23:01:10
by phspaelti
The quick answer is: No.
I wonder why you wanted to use Nisus for this task. Are you planning to do some editing on this file, or did you just want to lay out the (pre-existing?) text? Because if you are not going to do any editing it certainly would seem that there should be better suited tools out there.

Of course if one really did want to do this, there are a number of work-around approaches that one could use. One of the biggest problems I see is this question of separate footnotes for each column. In Nisus, footnotes always go across the page (someone please correct me, if I'm wrong).

If it's just about layout, one could format the two languages in separate narrow documents, and have one displayed as a floating graphic next to the other. But this would still require a lot of work, getting the pages to stay in synch with page breaks and then positioning the graphics on the pages one page at a time. This would be very fragile and would only be recommended if you are not doing any more editing.

Alternately one could have the languages interspersed, using columns to alternate between them. One might be able to write a macro to help reflow/move bits of text across pages, if this is a document that is still being edited. But for the footnotes one would have to use something like floating text boxes. One might be able to write a macro to help with positioning of these boxes, but it probably would be tedious.

Re: Each paragraph in 2 columns starts horizontally even

Posted: 2013-03-12 23:40:19
by NisusUser
Thanks, Philip, for your thorough answer. Actually, the NWP file won't need to be edited after those steps 1 and 2. Any editing would just mean pasting in new text, but not actual editing, or perhaps just starting over with a new NWP file from revised text files of the two languages. I've thought of using InDesign for this, but even in it, I don't have a clue how to make each paragraph line up horizontally. The only thing that's been suggested is tables, but that, IMO, gets really messy, and threading text would be a problem, I think. (I'm just a novice to medium skill level ID user.)

In the case of what I was talking about, it would be acceptable, though not optimal, to have the footnotes all across the bottom, I guess. The "per column" approach would have been more visually pleasing, but what I want to do is not really create a final "publishable" document, but rather a clean easy-to-read, easy-to-review bilingual document. One reason I have avoided InDesign for this is that InDesign is so powerful that (at least to me) it's cumbersome and time-consuming to use.

Thanks again for your time!