Beginner Question - top and bottom margins incorrect

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Beginner Question - top and bottom margins incorrect

Postby tjl on Sat May 03, 2008 4:55 pm

I'm very experienced with FrameMaker styles, but am having a nightmarish time with Flare styles (I'm new to Flare). I must be misunderstanding something basic about how the styles work. Here are some examples of my problems:

I change one aspect of a style and another aspect also changes; however the style settings all look correct. For example, I changed the auto-number offset and left margin for a style, but the bottom margin also changed. In the stylesheet the bottom margin looks correct, but it isn't appearing correctly in the topic preview window.

I change an aspect of a style in the stylesheet and nothing changes when I preview the topic. I changed another style in this class without a problem.

I make a change in the stylesheet and it won't save. For example, I tried to eliminate the auto-number reset counter to 0 value, but it kept coming back. I did manage to reset it to retain the current value, but not display it; however it didn't impact the topic when I previewed it.

Does anyone have ideas of where I could be going wrong?

Thanks!
Last edited by tjl on Mon May 05, 2008 8:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Beginner Question - stylesheet woes

Postby LTinker68 on Sun May 04, 2008 11:51 am

The Stylesheet GUI has several media options. I don't have Flare running at the moment, but I think they're something like "default", "non-print", and "print". Maybe an online one, too. Anyway, if you make a change when the medium view is set to "default", then the changes will apply to both online and print outputs. If you make a change to the stylesheet when the medium is set to "print", then you're setting styles only for the print output, and the online output isn't affected. If you make changes when the medium is set to "non-print", then you're setting styles for all outputs other than print, which means you're setting styles just for WebHelp and HTML Help and DotNet Help.

So, always make sure what medium the Stylesheet GUI is set to when you're making a change. Generally, you'll want to leave it to "default", unless you want to set a print-specific setting. For instance, you may want your online output to use the Verdana font but print output to use Arial. With the "default" medium set, you set the <body> tag to use the Verdana font, then you change the medium to "print" and set the <body> tag (the same tag) to Arial. As you switch back and forth between default and print mediums, then you'll see the font property of the body tag change from Verdana to Arial and back again.

There is a bug in Flare that occasionally causes the medium to switch from default to print. Normally it remembers what view you were in, but occasionally I'll modify the stylesheet manually and when I go back to the Stylesheet GUI I'll see that the medium view has changed.
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Re: Beginner Question - stylesheet woes

Postby KevinDAmery on Mon May 05, 2008 5:36 am

To add to Lisa's suggestions:

  • When you make a change to a property, switch to a different property before saving the change. I find that sometimes if you don't switch out of the current property, Flare doesn't recognize that a change has taken place.
  • Make sure you save the stylesheet after you've made your changes, otherwise they won't affect any topics.
  • If a topic that uses the stylesheet is open when you save a change, you may have to refresh it for the changes to be visible.

HTH
Until next time....
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Re: Beginner Question - top and bottom margins incorrect

Postby tjl on Mon May 05, 2008 9:10 pm

Thank you for the suggestions. The setting had changed from Medium (default), but I had not noticed the change. Now that I know about the bug, I will watch out for this.

I've been able to make most of the changes I needed to make; however, I do continue to have some strange results. The main problem now is with the top and bottom margin for steps. I have it set to 6pt, but it is appearing larger than that and is inconsistent. For instance, when the text for the step is more than one line, the bottom margin gets smaller. The top and bottom margins are as expected in the xml editor, but are not as expected when previewed.

Any ideas?

Thanks!

Tina
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Re: Beginner Question - top and bottom margins incorrect

Postby KevinDAmery on Tue May 06, 2008 7:41 am

Remember that the overall spacing is dependent on both blocks involved, so if you have different tags following steps they may have different margin or padding values that would affect the vertical spacing.
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Re: Beginner Question - top and bottom margins incorrect

Postby tjl on Tue May 06, 2008 9:02 am

Unfortunately, I haven't found that the solution is that easy. Here are some examples of the strange things I'm experiencing:

How the steps look in the XML editor:
steps.gif


How the steps look in the preview (notice that the numbering now does not restart and that the spacing between steps 10 and 11 are off).
steps2.gif


There are many other examples of the strange behavior I see. In the example below, the paragraph text font is the same for the font in the text of the step. In the XML editor, it looks the same:
steps3.gif


In the preview the font for the steps is smaller. I've reached the maximum attachments, or I would add an example of it.

I'm really at a loss. Are there bugs in Flare that cause these problems? Do other people have this difficult of a time getting their styles set up? This seems like a straight forward task. However, I have found it not to be so. I seem to get one thing working and something else goes haywire. It seems like either Flare is full of bugs or there is something very basic here that I am misunderstanding.

Tina
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Re: Beginner Question - top and bottom margins incorrect

Postby LTinker68 on Tue May 06, 2008 9:19 am

The problem is that people sometimes add too many properties or add properties that cause opposing effects or that interact badly with other tags/properties. For instance, you could have inadvertently set up the stylesheet so that the last item of a list has a higher padding value. Or you could have a complex selector that is overriding what you're looking at in the list so you keep changing the list styles thinking that will correct the problem when you really need to correct the complex selector. Or maybe it's not in the stylesheet, it's in the topic. For example, when you were writing the topic maybe you added too many spaces at the end of a line and it's word-wrapping what appears to be a blank line, or you added a <br /> tag to the previous list item and it's causing the next list item to appear lower. Or there's an inline style overriding the styles in the stylesheet.

I suggest opening the topic in the Internal Text Editor and see if there are any inline styles that could be causing havoc. Then, I suggest either cleaning out the relevant styles and start modifying properties one-at-a-time and then testing them after each modification.

Or... I usually keep a "test" project in Flare. When I'm trying to figure out something, I'll switch to that project and play around with the styles and topics there until I get the effect I want. Then I copy the styles from that stylesheet to the one in the real project. When the test project gets too many effects in it, I'll delete it and create another test project, so that I have a clean project to play with.
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Re: Beginner Question - top and bottom margins incorrect

Postby KevinDAmery on Tue May 06, 2008 9:32 am

... and one other thing I would try is actually building the output and seeing what that looks like. I don't entirely trust the preview feature....
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Re: Beginner Question - top and bottom margins incorrect

Postby tjl on Wed May 07, 2008 9:07 pm

Thank you for your suggestions. I've managed to eliminate all problems except the odd spacing in the steps. This margin problem occurs in all topics and occurs when I build the project, not just in the preview window. I've tried your suggestions, but so far I haven't had any luck with this last issue. CSS and HTML are new to me so I'm probably missing something obvious.

Here is the topic in the preview window:
margins1.gif


Here is the topic viewed in the internal text editor:
margins2.gif


Here is the CSS viewed in the internal text editor.
margins3.gif



Do you see what I'm doing wrong?

Thanks again.
Tina
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Re: Beginner Question - top and bottom margins incorrect

Postby KevinDAmery on Thu May 08, 2008 5:48 am

I don't see anything that would cause spacing issues, but what I do see is that you're repeating the style code inside the topic. This means that for the most part your stylesheet isn't being used (CSS rules state that the style information that is closest to the content takes precedence, so style info inside the p tags is used before the stylesheet). What I would do is remove all of the code from the p tags except for the class statements.
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