sections, headers and columns

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useeger
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sections, headers and columns

Post by useeger » 2014-06-30 23:04:39

I have a document with about 20 sections, each with a different header. I used "Same Page" for the section break because I don't want any page breaks. Strangly the new header does not appeare on the page where the section break is, but beginns only at the following page. What am I doing wrong?

For the printing edition I wanted to change the document from 1 column to 2 columns layout. But now the section break does not work as I expected it: it breaks also the second column and the document does not look good. I am missing a command "Same column" for the section break so that the text flows without any visible break. The only change that should be visible is the new header. Is that possible?

Thanks for help
Ulrich

adryan
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Re: sections, headers and columns

Post by adryan » 2014-07-04 07:37:40

G’day, Ulrich et al

When you choose “Same Page” for the Section Break, it just means that the new Section starts on the same page as the previous Section: it doesn’t necessarily affect the Header on that page. The Header at the top of the page is that associated with the Section whose text appears first on the page, just below the Header. If you’ve chosen the Header to be different for the second Section on the page, this new Header won’t appear until the page which has text from this Section has it at the top of the page. When you consider that a single page could contain more than two Sections, you understand that this is how things need to be. Otherwise, which Header woud be most appropriate for the page?

With respect to your second question, inserting a Section Break in multi-column text distributes the text evenly among the columns so they all have the same length within the existing Section. The new Section begins just below a horizontal line that extends right across the page. Unfortunately, as you have found, this behavior is not always what you want.

I think Nisus Writer needs to give more options for handling columns. I would like to see it possible to continue text from a column on one page to the corresponding (or maybe even another, which one might specify) column on the following page, rather than automatically flow from the last column on one page to the first column on the following page. This would be especially useful for displaying multilingual versions of the same text, or for annotated text.

On a cautionary note, I strongly recommend working on a copy of your main document before doing fancy things with columns. Several times I have lost whole columnns of text when I get to the next page. Once I managed to retrieve it via the Document Manager, but I wasn’t paying close enough attention at the time to be able to reproduce that retrieval procedure. I’ve been meaning to lodge a bug report with Nisus, but I’ve yet to find time to do the experiments necessary to determine the circumstances that predispose to it.
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useeger
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Re: sections, headers and columns

Post by useeger » 2014-07-04 11:00:57

Dear Adrian,

thanks for the explanation. Didn't understand it all but I think I got the idea. Let's do it the other way round, I explain what I want and perhaps somebody knows how to accomplish it: I have a work in progress with over 400 pages (a dictionary). It has 28 chapters according to the letters of the alphabet. I want no page breaks for the chapters. But I want headers with the first letter of the words below. I want to beginn a new header at the page where a new letter beginns, not at the following page. Can it be done with Nisus?

best wishes
Ulrich

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Re: sections, headers and columns

Post by adryan » 2014-07-04 15:15:05

G’day, Ulrich et al

Sorry if my explanation was not clear enough. Not to worry!

Unfortunately, I don’t think there is an easy way to accomplish what you want. What I would do is wait until the manuscript is complete, then I would locate each page that contains the beginning of a new Section. If a Section starts at the very beginning of the page, there is no problem. If a Section begins some distance down the page, I would insert a new Section Break (Next Page) at the end of the preceding page. On the page that now has two Sections in it, make sure each Section has Different Headers and you are there!

One could probably write a macro to do this for the whole manuscript, but, with no more than 27 places where the problem could arise, I think I would just do it all manually.

Just to clarify my remarks in the previous posting regarding Section Breaks within columns: Again, I don’t think there is an easy way around this. If you don’t want Section Breaks to affect all columns, I think the only solution is to use Section Breaks only at the ends of pages, where appropriate. The feature request you want for Nisus is for the Insert Section Break menu command to have options for "Same Page — Current Column Only" and "Same Page — All Columns”. The feature request I want is the ability to choose whether or not “soft” Page Breaks (ie, those not deliberately inserted from the Insert Page Break menu command) terminate text flow within columns, thereby forcing overflow into the next column, as they do now by default.

Hope this helps.
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useeger
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Re: sections, headers and columns

Post by useeger » 2014-07-04 19:35:16

Thanks Adrien,

this is a workaround. Perhaps Nisus will find a more elegant solution for this simple task before my manuscript is finished. There should be an easier possibility to start a new header at a page where a certain paragraph stands. And there should be a possibility to add headers to a 2-column text without changing the format of the text. The header has to be according to the text not the text according to the header.

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phspaelti
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Re: sections, headers and columns

Post by phspaelti » 2014-07-04 23:01:02

It might be a good idea to separate a few things.

1. The basic problem Ulrich mentioned, if there are two or more sections on the same page, which header/footer should be displayed? I agree with Ulrich that this should be the last one on the page.

2. The question whether it should be possible to start a new section in a column.
The problem here is the limitations of the WYSIWYG model. A section is really a logical entity, but Nisus uses this for page layout purposes. This works fine when new sections always start on new pages. But in order to allow users to change the number of columns mid-page, Nisus has added this "Same Page" feature. This is kludge, but an understandable one.
I don't think it is necessary to add this ability, because the root of the problem is really the next point.

3. The limitations of Nisus Headers/Footers
This is where the problem is. I suspect that what Ulrich wants isn't really to have new Headers mid-page. He just wants to change the header content. So what Nisus really needs to do/fix is allow users to add 'running content' to a header, i.e. content that changes depending on the location in the document.

As a different type of workaround to this problem, I am providing here a macro that uses floating text boxes to solve this problem. This is admittedly a very kludgy solution. The macro creates text boxes in the style of a dictionary. It uses a character style to locate the words and then it uses the last word on each page to create a text box. In the end you need to adjust the placement. Also for technical reasons it is necessary to create one first (empty) text box by hand. In case you wanted chapters as the header text, which don't exist on every page, the macro would have to be rewritten a bit, but that should't be too difficult.
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useeger
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Re: sections, headers and columns

Post by useeger » 2014-07-05 02:56:05

Yes, Philip, you are right: Number 3 ist the heart of the problem. In Nisus Classic it was so easy: I fixed a header to a paragraph and the header appeared at the head of the page where the paragraph started and on the following pages until a new header was fixed at another paragraph. This combination of sections and headers in Pro is annoying. I have time, let's hope, that the Nisus guys will find an easier way to handle headers.

Thanks for your macro, but it is not really a solution for me.

greetings
Ulrich

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martin
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Re: sections, headers and columns

Post by martin » 2014-07-07 16:56:51

Thank you all for the intelligent discussion on header/section issues. I'll file some enhancement requests that should work towards improving the situation. However, some potential ideas here are easier solutions than others. Allowing a mix of section-based headers and paragraph-anchored headers could get confusing in a variety of ways. We'd need to think it through before making any changes.
adryan wrote:On a cautionary note, I strongly recommend working on a copy of your main document before doing fancy things with columns. Several times I have lost whole columnns of text when I get to the next page. Once I managed to retrieve it via the Document Manager, but I wasn’t paying close enough attention at the time to be able to reproduce that retrieval procedure. I’ve been meaning to lodge a bug report with Nisus, but I’ve yet to find time to do the experiments necessary to determine the circumstances that predispose to it.
We'd certainly appreciate you letting us know if you do reproduce any such column/section problems.

And just to alleviate fears: it's almost certain that you did not actually lose any document content. It's much more likely that Page View had a layout or display issue with a particular sequence of breaks and edits. If you switch to Draft View (or even just reopen the document) you most likely would be able to see and access the entirety of your document's content.

Vanceone
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Re: sections, headers and columns

Post by Vanceone » 2015-10-05 15:28:00

To resurrect this old topic rather than post a new one:

Is there any way to let Nisus know which header or footer to display on the page? I've got a document that changes sections partway through the page. Section A has page numbering in lowercase roman, centered in the footer. Section B changes the page numbering to regular numbers and restarts the numbering at 1. Basically, I've got introductory material and then the document proper.

If I use a section-next page, it all works. But if they are on the same page, the first section controls. How can I use the second section's footer? Is there any way?

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martin
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Re: sections, headers and columns

Post by martin » 2015-10-07 12:44:42

Vanceone wrote:Is there any way to let Nisus know which header or footer to display on the page?
For your particular situation, where you are using same-page section breaks, there is no way to directly control which header/footer to use. As you've discovered, you'll need to have a firm page-break type section break to customize the header/footer at exactly the point you'd like.

We do have a feature request open for the level of control you're after, and I'll add your vote to it. Thank you, and sorry about the trouble.

exegete77
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Re: sections, headers and columns

Post by exegete77 » 2015-10-07 22:15:13

I would be in favor of this feature control as well.
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martin
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Re: sections, headers and columns

Post by martin » 2015-10-09 12:25:01

Thanks exegete77– noted!

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