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I'm a very reluctant user of Word who really would like to emulate the dark side (TeX) in every way possible. I have the description list almost sorted out (simulating the default settings of LaTeX), but I have one last detail that I find really enhances readability.

Take LaTeX's typeset version:


There is a certain amount of space (for the typographically inclined, I'm pretty sure this is 1en) after the item of the list which separates it from its description.

Take now the Word version,


where there is no such space.

The emboldened terms are under a DescriptionItem style (where the whole paragraph is under a DescriptionList style). How can I alter DescriptionItem such that a certain amount of space succeeds the end of the style, instead of the default inter-word space?

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You could create a macro which would go through the entire document and apply the spaces after your style. Here is a sample:

   Selection.Find.Style = ActiveDocument.Styles("DescriptionItem")
   With Selection.Find
       .Text = ""
       .Replacement.Text = "^&  "
       .Forward = True
       .Wrap = wdFindContinue
       .Format = True
       .MatchCase = False
       .MatchWholeWord = False
       .MatchWildcards = False
       .MatchSoundsLike = False
       .MatchAllWordForms = False
   End With
   Selection.Find.Execute Replace:=wdReplaceAll

You can do the same thing through the Find/Replace function (Ctrl+H)

share|improve this answer
While this would work as a post-processing approach, I mean to have it done automatically and dynamically. I don't want to be able to accidentally change the space as I'm editing. – Sean Allred Jul 25 '13 at 12:24

In Microsoft Word 2010 (for Windows) you can insert typographical spaces from doing the following:

Insert --> Symbol --> More Symbols --> Special characters tab.

You can create your own shortcut keys from there too.

Otherwise, an en dash is approximately two regular spaces and an em dash is four regular spaces. You can look up editorium for more information (I am not affiliated). They have a tool under freebies called SpaceCadet, which was good for older versions of Word up to and before 2000 but I am not sure if it works now.

share|improve this answer
Thanks, but this is only trivially related to the question. I mean to have such a character inserted at the end of each instance of a particular style. – Sean Allred Jul 18 '13 at 23:07
I'm sorry if I was misunderstood, by I need these automatically inserted. Also note that 1em is exactly the 'size' part of the current font size, and 1en is half of that. Thus, 1en in a 16pt font is exactly 8pt. (Traditionally, these are also the widths of an M and N in the current font.) Nothing to do with spaces. ;) – Sean Allred Jul 25 '13 at 12:22

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