LibreOffice Writer: how can I control orphaned/widowed words using Styles?

I know that widowed/orphaned lines can be controlled in Writer automatically, but I often find a lone word is by itself at the bottom of a paragraph. Not necessarily at the end of a page or the beginning of a new one, but just that one lone word…by itself.

For example:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Vestibulum vulputate
pretium orci non convallis. Phasellus id finibus ex. Aliquam eget sem ut tellus convallis scelerisque vel in massa. Aenean hendrerit ex lorem, eu rhoncus elit fringilla nec.
Aliquam erat volutpat. Donec eu ligula suscipit, pulvinar arcu at, viverra

I would love to know the process – using Styles – for adjusting the text (ideally automatically) so that these lone words (in this case, “nisi”) are shifted either to the line above, or additional words are scooted to the line to flesh it out with 2 or 3 additional words.

Can this be done using Styles? It can be done by using direct formatting, but I know that’s not optimal if one is using Styles.

@thesun wrote: It can be done by using direct formatting

Tell us how you manage your direct formatting. (AFAIK there is no way for better using widowed/orphaned as the given features. But in some cases one could work with non breaking spaces to create long “words”.)

Widow/orphan definitions encompass only the case of a page break occurring inside a paragraph, leaving lines in small number either at the bottom or the top of a page.

You can control the threshold of this “small” number of lines under which the group of orphan/widow lines are flushed to next page.

Your requirement above does not fit in this definition as you request special processing for all paragraphs. I ma not aware of any application handling this case (from memory, Quark XPress doesn’t do it).

Without fixing it, the ragged appearance may be mitigated by justifying the text from margin to margin. Activate the attribute in the paragraph style. It is then usually acceptable to end up with an incomplete last line, even if it contains a rather short word. Justification plays with ordinary U+0020 SPACE width. It does not change the number of words on a line (at least as far as I know, spaces are expanded, not shrinked to make room for more words).

As I mention in a comment to 258383/style-applies-only-to-alternating-paragraphs-whats-going-on, a workaround can be designed based on the statistics of your paragraphs. If you stumble rather frequently on the case of a “widow word”, you may try to play with tracking (= letter-spacing).

This will apply a uniform extra spacing between letters. However, be aware that this may be detrimental to readability if you compress too much or expand too much. Both “directions” may be tried to find the best compromise over all the document.

From experiment, a Character spacing of 0.1pt or -0.1pt (in the Position tab of paragraph styles) is perceptually nearly unnoticeable and can give you what you’re looking for. Higher values degrade font aesthetics. Don’t forget to uncheck the Pair kerning box.

Note that the results is highly dependent on document contents and the setting may need further adjustments when you add or remove material to preserve the overall compromise.

Also, the use of double-space after a punctuation may adversely affect the result.

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(edited the answer to add a warning about the Pair kerning checkbox)

Thank you very much for the suggestions. In the example above I didn’t right justify but yes, that’s already assumed…I’m looking only for the small one or two word “orphans” at the bottom of paragraphs. In the past I’ve done what you suggest, but by using direct formatting. Would I now be doing this with a Paragraph-level style, instead? One for 0.1 smaller, one for 0.1 bigger? Or is this a Character-level style that I should apply?

In the past I’ve done it up to 0.3 in either direction and not noticed much visible difference. Yes, it’s…there, and if a reader is hunting for it they can find it, but usually it’s not a problem because readers aren’t there to check the typesetting, they just want to read the book.

What does “Pair Kerning” do?

In other tutorials for other programs, it seems that a method commonly used is to shift the paragraph margins a tiny bit, either inward or outward. Do you suggest that too?

Since it must operate on a full paragraph to be effective, I’d rather recommend a few specific paragraph styles (i.e. one for +0.1, one for -0.1, one for +0.2, …). Using a character is a bad idea because you can have only one character style applied to a sequence of characters. I don’t know if you use Emphasis or Strong Emphasis character styles to italicise or bold words (if you ever need to), but with a “tracking” character style, you can no longer bold or italicise but with direct formatting (which is even worse). Also to have maximum effect, the “tracking” character style should be applied to the full paragraph (hence, put that that setting into the paragraph style).

In my answer, I was in the mood of tweaking Text Body and apply it to the whole document for a general effect. This is why a used word “compromise”, meaning I was looking for an average behaviour. Having several character styles allows for more targeted tuning, but this means a long and heavy …

… editing job (individual adjustment of paragraph, sort of DTP-like).

Pair kerning: in my understanding, modifying pair kerning with some text selected should override the font table distances for the pairs in the selected text (e.g. AV has negative pair kerning so that A slides under the V oblique bar), while without checked pair kerning the spacing should apply to all glyphs independent from the kerning table. To be honest, I don’t see behaviour difference and the built-in help doesn’t clarify the issue.

Offsetting the indents (this is how Writer calls the extra paragraph margins added to those of the page style) could be an alternate solution, but I fear that it is much more perceptible than cheating with tracking if you do it on every paragraph resulting in an anaesthetic appearance (ragged paragraph indent which is ugly when paragraphs are justified.