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I am writing a story and in some places I have a "change of scene" within a chapter.

I see this in many books and have added a four line break at that point - using the Spacing - Before option in the Paragraph.

My problem is, what happens when the break happens exactly at the end of a page.

The 4 line break obviously disappears so there is not no indication that the scene is changed.

I notice than in books they tend to put 3 or 4 stars at the bottom of the page.

Is there any way I can put them there conditionally? In other words, they should appear if we are exactly on a page break.

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

You can try this, but

  1. since it relies on field coding all the users of the document need to understand enough not to break it.
  2. you may find that it causes performance problems (Word keeps re-executing the fields in page footers.
  3. it relies on putting the asterisks in the footer, which may not suit you

Use "spacing before" in the first paragraph of each scene to insert 4 lines of space above.

Insert the following field code at the beginning of the first paragraph in every scene (use ctrl-F9 on Windows Word to insert every pair of the the special field code braces {}, and alt-F9 to toggle between field code and field result view):

{ SEQ ast \r0 \h }

Insert the above field code at the very end of the document.

Insert the following field code at the end of the last paragraph of every scene (unfortunately, this means that you should move or delete/re-insert the code when you append to the scene):

{ SEQ ast \r1 \h }

Insert the following field code at the top of the footer:

{ SEQ ast \c \#"'****';'';''" }

The fields in the body of the text may not update automatically as paragraphs move around. To get the result you want, you will probably need to use ctrl-A to select the entire document, then F9 to update all the fields. You may even need to F9 twice.

I would consider testing it on a long script. If it doesn't work for you, I wouldn't waste time - discard the approach.

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Awesome! Works perfectly. Now I am going be greedy and ask if there is any way to automatically insert those codes. The first paragraph of a scene is a (slightly) different style to the rest. Is there any way to automatically include some lines within a style? – theblitz Oct 15 '13 at 12:48
Solved it. Created a quick macro that does it and attached it to a button. – theblitz Oct 15 '13 at 13:27
You solved it, but in fact I usually try to remember to suggest that you put these things in an AUTOTEXT/Building Block. In this case, I think it would be possible to change the fields so that the ones in the body text were always the same, but perhaps another day... – bibadia Oct 15 '13 at 15:02

You can disable Widow/Orphan control, which will then not replace the 4 blank lines with the page break when they coincide, but instead keep the 4 lines intact:

On the Home tab, in the Paragraph group, click the bottom-right arrow to open the Paragraph Format options. Click on the back tab, "Line and Page Breaks" and uncheck the box for Widow/Orphan control.

Widow/orphan control

A second way to do this would be to create a standard object that contains the 4 lines, protected by "Keep Lines Together" in the same dialog. Just create the lines, select all 4, then go to this same dialog and checkmark the box for "Keep Lines Together". Then paste this object into each location where you would normally put the 4 lines at the end of the section.

A third option would be to use an object like a text box, at the end of the sections, to force a break. You will have to anchor it to the last character in the last paragraph of each section, so it won't move around. Again, you'd just paste it into that spot in the document.

You could even set either option 2 or 3 to an "autocorrect" option, so it's assigned to a keystroke or specific thing you type, i.e. replace "sect." with the object you want to use.

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Problem is that I want it to appear only when it is at the bottom of the page. When they are on the same page then the stars are not required since the break is clear. – theblitz Oct 14 '13 at 6:45

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