Office challenge: How would you include a blank page at the end of a document if the last page is odd?

Learn the solution to last week's Word challenge and test your skills with this week's new Word challenge.

A user calls you with a new requirement. She often works with multipage document. When the last page of the document ends with an odd-numbered page, she wants the document to automatically insert a blank page at the end of the document. The last page in the document should always be an even-numbered page, even if it's blank. The user could just check each time the document is used, but she would like a built-in solution - one that just takes care of it without her intervention. How would you do this? As always, efficiency matters.

Last week we asked…

Why does my Word document look different on my home computer? When a document doesn't look the same from system to system, the default printer is the first thing to check. Printers simply aren't all the same. Word works with your printer to produce results. Therefore, your printer can change what you see on screen! You don't have to be at a different computer either. Just downloading a new print driver can result in subtle changes.

Now, the good news is that you can help your users to help themselves in this respect. There are two ways to minimize the impact of changing printers (or using systems with different printers). First, teach them not to use manual page breaks by pressing [Ctrl]+[Enter]. The text should flow naturally from page to page while using styles and paragraph formatting to make adjustments. Specifically, show them the Pagination settings. In Word 2003, choose Paragraph from the Format menu and click the Line and Page Breaks tab. In Word 2007 and 2010, click the Paragraph group's dialog launcher and click the Line and Page Breaks tab. Using these options, users can control the flow without inserting a manual page break.

The second solution is a bit awkward for some users, but can definitely help, if they can manage it. Show users how to select the printer that will be used to actually print the document rather than relying on the default printer. They won't always have this option, but when they do, working with the right printer from the get-go will reduce problems.

Ryk was the first to mention printer drivers. As Ryk mentioned, you might be working with the same network printer and have two different drivers installed on your local systems. This would be a difficult problem to troubleshoot. Fortunately, it's easy to resolve - simply make sure all your systems have the most up-to-date driver.

Art_Jeffries mentioned fonts. They too can be troublesome, although Word tries its best to compensate. Ron_007 reminded us that Word lets you embed True Type fonts with the document - a definite lifesaver when needed.

Zahra B. brings up an excellent point: users without a lot of experience and training often use space characters inappropriately - there's nothing you can do with a document like that other than just start over! Good training's the answer to that problem.

Asjeff and Plevin both mentioned style definitions, which can certainly play havoc with a document. And finally, as Pgit said - it could be all of the above.

Thanks for another great challenge!


Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.

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