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Thread: .rtf formatting issue

  1. #1
    hanging around for a spell
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    .rtf formatting issue

    I'm planning to submit a short story to a magazine which requires e-mailed files to be sent as .rtf

    My problem is that when I save my document with this file name, the formatting gets all messed up--my title remains centred, but my byline shifts to the left; half of the paragraphs retain their double-spacing, while random paragraphs throughout are reduced to single-spacing. That kind of thing.

    I know I've had this issue before, years ago, and I'm pretty sure I even asked this question at the water cooler at that time and received a helpful answer...but I can't for the life of me remember or find that old, old thread Can anyone help me out? If it helps, the program I'm using is OpenOffice.

  2. #2
    Cicchetti and Wine wheelwriter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Witch_turtle View Post
    I'm planning to submit a short story to a magazine which requires e-mailed files to be sent as .rtf

    My problem is that when I save my document with this file name, the formatting gets all messed up--my title remains centred, but my byline shifts to the left; half of the paragraphs retain their double-spacing, while random paragraphs throughout are reduced to single-spacing. That kind of thing.

    I know I've had this issue before, years ago, and I'm pretty sure I even asked this question at the water cooler at that time and received a helpful answer...but I can't for the life of me remember or find that old, old thread Can anyone help me out? If it helps, the program I'm using is OpenOffice.
    Hi Witch. You can search your old threads by going to your stats. This may help you - http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/...d.php?t=193595. Good luck.

  3. #3
    Playing the waiting game MsLaylaCakes's Avatar
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    Sounds like you have style conversion issues (MS Word popularized style-based word processing, and, while powerful, it has its negative side effects). I used to work HelpDesk at a law firm and trust me, this problem happens an awful lot.

    This might not be what you want to hear (as it will be a bit of a pain), and I doubt these are the only ways to fix it, but for what's it's worth, these are 2 ways I know(1. is less drastic, but might not work. 2. will fix it for sure but will take you a while).

    1. Go into the styles menu and set the Header 1 style and the Normal Style as what you want them to be. This includes Font, Spacing and Indents. (I'm going to assume that all you have is chapter headings and body text). Then go through your document and make sure that your headers are associated with the Header 1 style, and your Body Text is associated with the Normal style. Then try converting to .rtf. (Note: if what you just read sounds like gibberish and you do not know where the style menu is, I would say - bite the bullet and go for option 2).

    2.Take the entire document and remove all formatting (painful, I know - and save a backup copy before you do anything). In MS Word there's an eraser button in the formatting tab that does this. However, in all word processors, if you 'cut' all the text, then Paste Special and pick Unformatted Text Only, it'll do the same thing. Save the new document (with the text only) as an .rtf file. Then, inside this new .rtf file, go back and reformat your document as per the publisher's requirements.

    *Things to watch out for - tabs at the front of paragraphs and/or lines between paragraphs. From the 'problem documents' I have seen, what people tend to do is be inconsistent when defining paragraphs. For example, some paragraphs are indented using the automatic 1st line 0.5 in indent (which is part of the style, usually), and some paragraphs are indented using a physical tab in front of the paragraph. When reformatting as I described above, you will need to go back and fix this (i.e. reformat your body text to have a 1st line 0.5 in indent, then go back and delete some of the physical tabs that you might have accidentally put in.)

    **If everything you just read sounds like gibberish, ask around for someone good with MS Word/Open Office and ask them to help you fix it. Honestly, that's what the secretaries at the firm I worked for did. It would take a mid-level MS Word user 15min to fix the problem you just described, but it might take someone less familiar with the program 2-3 hours and cause much frustration.

    ***For future manuscripts: To avoid this problem, I work exclusively on .rtf files. I have discovered that almost all publishers prefer .rtf files, and they don't want any formatting beyond double spaced, 1st line indent, with italics for emphasis. Most don't even want chapters centered and/or in bold. Both MS Word and Open Office give you the option of saving as .rtf from the get-go (they default saves to .docx etc., but you can always make it save to .rtf instead. This way, if there are style formatting issues, you will see it right away instead of after the fact.

    ****That said, Track Changes and .rtf files don't play nice and will result in sporadic crashing

    Hope this helps!
    Layla (writing as Tara Quan)

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  4. #4
    practical experience, FTW Sentosa's Avatar
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    Suggestion.
    1. Save as an RTF file.

    2a. Open in a different word processor such as WordPad, Atlantis, etc -- anything but Word. That's worked for me.

    2b. While open in Word in its original format, use cut and paste or cut and paste special (if Word still has that feature -- it's been years since I last used it -- then paste it into WordPad, Atlantis, etc. That's also worked for me.
    Sentosa

  5. #5
    I clicked on this thread because I feared that OpenOffice was involved, and I was right...

    There's no way to preserve formatting in an RTF file with OpenOffice. It just simply does not work. Even if you get the formatting perfect when you have the RTF document open, after you save and close, the next time you open the document it's all wonky again.

    Sad, but true. I've scoured OpenOffice forums looking for a solution, and the solution seems to be: use MS Word.

    If you can get the file onto a computer with Word and save it as RTF, don't ever open that file in OO again -- just send in your submission.

    You can try using Office Web Apps http://office.microsoft.com/en-gb/we...101860442.aspx -- free online versions of MS Office, you'll need a (free) Windows Live ID to use it. Not sure if the online version has a save as RTF option.

    Or, email the OpenOffice .doc file to a friend who has Word, and ask them to save it as an .RTF and send it back to you.

    Good luck...

  6. #6
    practical experience, FTW Sentosa's Avatar
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    For just the reasons mentioned by swvaughn, I ditched Word and OpenOffice and started using Atlantis. I work exclusively in RTF with no change in format. BTW, Atlantis will save as DOC and DOCX,

    After 4+ years I've encountered no problems (apart learning a new application). Atlantis is less expensive, provides free updates, and was written with writers in mind.

    Worth a try.
    Sentosa

  7. #7
    empty-nester! shadowwalker's Avatar
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    I've used Atlantis for years and love it. Have no use for all the bells and whistles (and consequent headaches) those others include.
    Je suis Charlie

    "It seems rather like wanting to be ... a writer, rather than wanting to write. It should be a by-product, not a thing in itself. Otherwise, it's just an ego trip." - Roger Zelazny

    Passion is easy; commitment is hard.

  8. #8
    Oooh, I've never heard of Atlantis. I'll have to check it out!

  9. #9
    storm central stormie's Avatar
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    Good thread.

    At first, two years ago, I didn't have a problem working between OO on my netbook and Word on my desktop. For about the past year, I'm having major problems with any ms. that I first started in OO. It doesn't play nice with Word (or the other way around). I've tried just about everything--stripping formatting, unchecking all the formatting boxes, etc. It's aggravating.

  10. #10
    Rewriting My Destiny Cyia's Avatar
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    OO has been abandoned by its creators in favor of LibreOffice, so the program is stagnant.
    <---- NEW BOOK (Snazzy new cover coming ASAP.)



  11. #11
    storm central stormie's Avatar
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    Okay. Makes sense now. Thanks, Cyia.

  12. #12
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    Wow these replies are fantastic--thanks everyone! I'll have to look into some of these options and see what I can come up with.

    Also:
    Hi Witch. You can search your old threads by going to your stats. This may help you - http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/...d.php?t=193595. Good luck.
    Thanks wheelwriter! I probably should have realized/remembered(?) there was a function like this. My excuse is that I don't spend as much time poking around here as I once did...

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyia View Post
    OO has been abandoned by its creators in favor of LibreOffice, so the program is stagnant.
    Actually, they've become Apache OpenOffice. Just released this year, though I haven't tried it myself yet.

    I've been using LibreOffice for a few months now and haven't had any conversion problems. *fingers crossed*

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