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Using Styles in askSam PART 2
Hopefully after last month's tip you have a better understanding of styles and why we use them. This month, as promised, we will look at how to create, modify, work with and apply styles. You will find that styles are easy to create and extremely useful for formatting your askSam data.
A style is a set of pre-defined formatting instructions that can be used repeatedly throughout an askSam file. Furthermore, a Style is a set of formats (fonts, colors, tabs, margins, etc.) that you set up once and are then able to apply them to words or sections of text to quickly change its appearance. When you use a Style, you apply a whole group of formats with just a couple clicks of the mouse.
The Styles Dialog Box
Styles are specific to a file. So you will need to create your styles inside the files where you want to use them. To create a style you will use the Styles dialog box. To reach this box choose FORMAT -> STYLES.
From the Styles dialog box you have a choice to create new styles, modify existing styles and delete styles.
The Styles dialog box is made up of the styles list, previews, and descriptions. These items allow you to preview the styles in your file.
Styles List - This box displays the list of available styles. You can change the list of styles from the LIST option just below styles list. With the LIST pull-down you can quickly list styles in the current document, all styles or styles you have created (User-Defined Styles). To preview the settings of any style in the list simply click on the style and view the settings in the Paragraph Preview, Character Preview, and description.
The Paragraph Preview and Character Preview show you how your style will appear. To see how a style will effect a paragraph or an individual word when applied, click the style name from the list on the left. The preview boxes will display examples of the selected style. The description area will display the exact settings required to create the style you have selected. This is great for creating similar styles or editing style appearance.
Creating a new style is simple. To begin the process click the NEW button at the bottom left corner of the Styles dialog box. The New Style dialog box will appear.
As we talked about last month there are two types of styles - Paragraph and Character. The first step in creating a new style is to decide which type of style you will need. Remember, a character style effects only the appearance of individual words and a paragraph style effects the appearance of entire paragraphs. Character styles can be applied to words or phrases within a paragraph style. Style types can only be set once. After you create a style as paragraph or character you can not change it.
1. Select a Style Type - The default setting for style type is Paragraph. To create a paragraph style make sure that "Paragraph" is selected from the STYLE pull-down menu. To create a character style make sure that "Character" is selected from the STYLE pull-down menu.
2. Style Name - The style dialog will provide a standard name. You can reset this name to something more descriptive. For example, if you are creating a style to format all of you phone number fields to have a certain look you may name this style "Phone Field"
3. Based On - A style can be based on another style. This means that the basic characteristics of one style will be carried over into the new style you are creating. This makes it quicker and easier to create a new style. If you have chosen a paragraph style you will see a list of all paragraph styles in this pull-down menu. The default is based on the "Normal" style. If you have chosen a character style you will see a list of all character styles in the pull-down menu. The default is based on "Underlying Properties" which means the character style will be based on the appearance of the paragraph you are currently using.
4. Style for Following Paragraph - If you are creating paragraph style you can set a style for the paragraph that follows. By setting a style for the following paragraph you can control the appearance of the paragraph that follows the current paragraph.
Now you are ready to set the appearance of your style. If you have selected to create a paragraph font you will have three options: Font, Paragraph, and Tabs. If you have decided to create a character style you will only be able to set the Font.
From this box you can set the appearance of your style. This includes the font, the font style (bold, italic, etc.), and the point size. You can also select the effects such as strikeout, underline and the foreground and background color. You can preview your changes at the bottom of the box in the Preview window.
This is the same dialog box that appears if you choose FORMAT -> FONT. For more information on using the FONT dialog box see Chapter 6 - Formatting Text -- Using Fonts and Font Attributes in the askSam manual.
<<<insert graphic styles5.jpg>>>
From this box you can set the margin indents and spacing for your paragraph. This includes alignment (left, center, right), indentation (left, right, hanging, first line), and spacing before and after the paragraph as well as line spacing (single, double, etc.). You can preview your changes at the bottom of the box in the Preview window.
This is the same dialog box that appears if you choose FORMAT -> PARAGRAPH. For more information on using the PARAGRAPH dialog box see Chapter 6 - Formatting Text -- The Paragraph Command in the askSam manual.
From this box you can set tabs for your style. This box will allow you to set the type of tab (left, center, right, decimal, etc.) and the tab stop position on the ruler. You can also create leading tabs. A list of tabs that you set will appear in the window on the left.
This is the same dialog box that appears if you choose FORMAT -> TABS. For more information on using the TABS dialog box see Chapter 6 - Formatting Text -- Setting Tabs in the askSam manual.
You have now created a style. To exit the New Style dialog click OK. This will return you to the Style dialog. You are now ready to use your style. Click CLOSE to close the Style Dialog. To apply your style -- highlight a word, phrase or paragraph and apply the style using the style pull-down box on the askSam format bar.
Once you select the style the highlighted area on the screen will take on the appearance you set in the style.
Now you know how to create a style and apply it to text within an askSam database. The great thing about styles is that you can change them anytime you need to and the change will take effect across the entire file. This makes Styles great for database fields and field data. Read next month's tip to learn how to use styles in an entry form.