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User-Controlled Propagation of Format Controls Within a Text Document

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000040013D
Original Publication Date: 1987-Sep-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Feb-01
Document File: 3 page(s) / 67K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Cuan, V: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

When a text document contains imbedded format controls, and the user wishes to change a given format parameter for the entire document, the user is forced to revise each individual format control and set the given format parameter to the desired value. In many prior-art word processing programs, the user is allowed to create format controls within the text document. The user may set one or more format parameters based on the current cursor position. These formats are propagated by the system up to the next occurrence of a format control, at which time the values are reset by the second format control. Once a document contains one or more format controls, it is no longer possible to alter the format of the entire document without revisiting each individual format control and manually resetting the appropriate format parameters.

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User-Controlled Propagation of Format Controls Within a Text Document

When a text document contains imbedded format controls, and the user wishes to change a given format parameter for the entire document, the user is forced to revise each individual format control and set the given format parameter to the desired value. In many prior-art word processing programs, the user is allowed to create format controls within the text document. The user may set one or more format parameters based on the current cursor position. These formats are propagated by the system up to the next occurrence of a format control, at which time the values are reset by the second format control. Once a document contains one or more format controls, it is no longer possible to alter the format of the entire document without revisiting each individual format control and manually resetting the appropriate format parameters. A specific example of the above described problem follows. Assume the user creates a text document consisting of a single page. The default line spacing, as defined in the document's master format, is double spacing. The default margins are set at 20 and 80, respectively. Adjust Line Endings defaults to Yes. On line 10, the user changes spacing to single spacing via a format control. On line 20, the user sets spacing back to double spacing via a second format control. On line 40, the user sets Adjust Line Endings to No via a third format control and then resets the parameter to Yes via a fourth format control on line 50. The document now contains 4 format controls, as depicted in the figure. Now assume the user wishes to format the entire document with the left margin set at 25. What does the user need to do? The user needs to revise the master format and each of the four format controls and set the left margin to 25 even though the user had not up to that point modified the left margin in any of the four format controls. The number of revisions required by the user is directly influenced by the number of format controls appearing in the document. In accordance with the new method, the problem is solved by introducing the concept of the user-controlled format propagation. When the user modifies formats via a format control, the user indicates to the system which format parameters are to be reset and, by default, which parameters are to be automatically propagated by the system. In the example above, since the left margin was never explicitly reset by the user, it would be a parameter that defaults to being automatically propagated by the system. So to change t...