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White Space in Post Text :: Title/Body. Its appearance in the published blog

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Invisible Characters » White Space  
 
Every key on the keyboard has a symbol related to it. In typing in documents we notice that when we press a key, the relevant character would appear in the document. These characters are called visible characters.

When we press keys like SPACE BAR, ENTER etc. also a character is inserted into the document but is not displayed. These are called invisible characters. Because they are invisible we see white space in their place. Thus they are also called white space characters.

Understanding white space in electronic documents would be easy if we consider a word processing program (like microsoft word). There are six different methods for creating white space in electronic documents. In all these we use either one or two keys for inserting the white space characters.

• Displaying the Invisible Characters

In a word processing program the white space characters are invisible by default. Click the "Show/Hide" tool button on the standard tool bar (Or) use the keyboard short cut "Ctrl + Shift + 8" for toggling between show/hide states for these invisible marks.

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Space BAR Space  
 
Pressing the space bar, places a single unit white space on the document.

This is generally used to separate words or sentences.

TAB Space  
 
Pressing TAB key on your keyboard, would create white space greater in width than the one created using the space bar. On pressing this key, an invisible right pointing arrow symbol is placed in the document.

The white space created using this key is a certain number of times the white space created using the space bar (normally 8 times). In some word processing programs we may be able to modify this setting.

Such white space is generally used when formatting data in the form of tables without actually inserting a table or when indenting text.

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Carriage Return (Or) Paragraph Break/Mark  
 
The invisible character that is inserted into the document when the ENTER key is pressed is what we call the "Paragraph Break" or "Paragraph Mark" or "Paragraph Terminator".

• Paragraph

A set of characters having at least one visible character within the set terminated by a paragraph mark form a paragraph.

If all the characters before a paragraph mark are invisible characters, the group of characters would not form a paragraph. [Eg: If a number of spaces created using the space bar or tab key are terminated by a paragraph mark, it would not form a paragraph]

• Paragraph Break

Within a paragraph, place the cursor in between a line and press the ENTER key. You will notice the line getting broken at the cursor location and the content in paragraph starting from the right of the cursor would be pushed to the next paragraph.

This amounts to breaking the paragraph into two and thus the name "paragraph break" for the invisible symbol placed on pressing the ENTER key.

• New Paragraph

The information relating to the formatting options applied/selected for a paragraph are stored along with the paragraph mark. When we break a paragraph into two, the new paragraph mark that is created is a copy of the existing symbol. That is the reason we find the same formatting options applied to the two paragraphs.

If we place the cursor at the end of the content and press the ENTER key, a new paragraph with the same characteristics of the existing one is created.

Line Break  
 
The invisible symbol that is inserted when we press the Shift + ENTER key [keeping the shift key pressed and then pressing the ENTER key] is called the line break. Though there are two keys, such a combination is to be interpreted as a key stroke and not two key strokes.

If you place the cursor within a line and then press the Shift + ENTER keys, the line would be broken at the cursor location and the content within the line to the right of the cursor would be pushed to the next line. It amounts to breaking the line. That is the reason for the symbol/character to be called a line break.

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Page Break  
 
The invisible symbol that is inserted when we press the Ctrl + ENTER key [keeping the Ctrl key pressed and then pressing the ENTER key] is called the page break.

If you place the cursor anywhere in the page and then press the Ctrl + ENTER key it would result in the content of the page from the location of the cursor being broken and pushed into a new page. Since the page is broken into two we call it a page break.

Though the page break symbol seems to be made up with a number of characters, it is in effect a single character. Place the cursor just before that symbol and press the Del key on the navigational key pad. You will notice the symbol getting deleted. [The Del key deletes a character to its right].

Section Break  
 
One or more pages together would form a section. One or more sections together would form a document. Each document is a file. All the pages in a section have the same page formatting settings like margins, width, length, headers, footers etc. Whenever you wish to change any of these settings for a page within a document you have to place it in a new section.

There is no keyboard key related to section breaks. It is to be inserted using the menu option "Insert | Break ..." . You may choose the content after the section break to appear (a) in the same page (continuous), (b) in the next page following the page in which the break is placed, (c) in the next even page following the page in which the break is placed or (d) in the next odd page following the page in which the break is placed.

Though the section break symbol seems to be made up with a number of characters, it is in effect a single character. Place the cursor just before that symbol and press the Del key on the navigational key pad. You will notice the symbol getting deleted. [The Del key deletes a character to its right].

• No Sections in a Web Page

The concept of a section is not present in case of web pages. Each HTML File is a web page. A section has no place in web pages.

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Vertical Tab  
 
The content within a cell of a table flows from left to right. In a word processing document, the content can be made to flow vertically i.e. either from top to bottom or from bottom to top. You can notice this only in word processing documents.

When the content within a cell is set to flow vertically, if you press the Ctrl + TAB, key invisible arrow marks directed in the direction of the flow of content would be created.

Within a table cell you need to hold the Ctrl key to make the TAB key work. Simply pressing the TAB key would take you to the next cell.

White Space in Title Field  
 

You can create white spaces in a text box using the SPACE BAR only.

If you include white space in the title field, it would be retained while saving the content of the title field by the blogger program. However, while the title is being displayed, the white space is ignored by the browser. This is on account of the browsers property of ignoring additional white spaces.

Since the additional spaces are not removed, you will find them intact, when you open the post subsequently for editing.

If you want the space (more than one space bar space) to be shown as it is, use the HTML entity   for each unit of white space.

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White Space in Text Area  
 
Of the six different methods available for creating white space in electronic documents, only three are capable of being used in the text area. These are also treated as only two by the blogger program

• Space Bar Space

Space bar spaces are created for separating words and sentences.

• Paragraph Break

This can be created using the CARRIAGE return or ENTER key as well as using the SHIFT + ENTER keys together. Both these methods are treated as the same by the blogger program. This space is used to insert line breaks i.e. move cursor to next/subsequent lines in the text area.

Saving the Post (to the Database)  
 
You may choose to publish your post or save a draft of your post. Publishing the post would open up the post for blog readers (except when you have restricted access to your blog). Saving a draft would only save the content of the post to the blogger database.

You can open both the published post as well as a draft, edit it and save it again as a draft or publish it.

When you publish the post, or save a draft of the post, the content that you enter in the text area including the spaces created using the space bar as well as the ENTER key would be saved in the database. You can notice them if you reopen the post in the post edit page.

The space bar spaces may not be visible when in compose mode. You have to switch to the HTML mode to find them intact.

• Unnecessary Spaces are Truncated

The spaces after the last visible character in your post (that you enter in the text area) as well as in any other text field do not carry any purpose and are as such truncated (removed) by the blogger program at the time of saving the content to the data base. As such you may not find those when you reopen the post for editing.

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Writing the Post data (to the Blog Page)  
 
The post saved to the database would be dynamically written to the blog page (a web page). While writing the post content to the web page, the space bar spaces are written as it is. The CARRIAGE returns are treated in two different ways depending on an option you choose in your blog settings.
  • Converting CARRIAGE Returns to Line Breaks

    The blogger program would place a </br> mark for each invisible carriage return symbol.

    When the post is being displayed the carriage returns would be resulting in empty lines being displayed.

  • Treating CARRIAGE Returns as Spaces

    The blogger program would place the carriage return mark for each invisible carriage return symbol.

    Since the browser would treat spaces created both with SPACE bar and ENTER key in the same manner, these would work as spaces for separating words.

• How does the browser treat Spaces

Where there are more than two spaces in succession, the browser would consider only the first space and ignore the rest of the spaces. Moreover, the browser would consider all the different symbols for creating white spaces as the same. As far as the browser is considered, SPACE bar Space, TAB space, ENTER key space etc would be the same.

If you need a break to appear in a web page you have to specifically mention it by using the relevant HTML tag. <br> for a line break and <p> for a paragraph break. There is no tag for creating tab space. However, you can make the browser treat the symbols as they would be treated in any other electronic document by placing the content containing the symbols within a special tag <pre>.

• Changing the Setting

The option for enabling/disabling the blogger from placing </br> symbols in place of carriage returns is available on the "formatting" sub group page within the "Settings" group.
Author Credit : The Edifier ... Continued Page 10

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