Managing Conditional Section Breaks -- End of Document Issue

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    Service Desk

    The symptom you describe is intentional, and it's related to the way section breaks work in Word.  A section break contains formatting, headers, and footers that affect the preceding text.  There's also an end-of-document mark (not visible, but it's at the end of the document) that contains formatting, headers, and footers that affect text that precedes it.
     
    So if TFT were to delete the last section mark in the document, then the text that precedes it would adopt the formatting, headers, and footers that appear in th end-of-document mark, which is almost never desirable.  An example to illustrate:
     
    Section 1 is the body of the document
    --- a section break appears here, containing a "Page #" footer ---
    Section 2 contains the text of an exhibit
    --- the end-of-document mark appears here, containing an "Exhibit A" footer ---
     
    Suppose Section 2 is conditional, and TFT removes it during Petrify.  If the section break were removed, you'd end up with this:
     
    Section 1 is the body of the document
    --- the end-of-document mark appears here, containing an "Exhibit A" footer ---
     
    With that configuration, the footer in the remaining text (the body of the document) would become "Exhibit A", which is not what we want.  Instead, TFT leaves the last section break (along with the blank page that follows it) as a way to prevent the settings contained in the end-of-document mark from flowing up and affecting the preceding section.  The end result looks like this:
     
    Section 1 is the body of the document
    --- a section break appears here, containing a "Page #" footer ---
    The content of Section 2 has been removed, leaving a blank page behind
    --- the end-of-document mark appears here, containing an "Exhibit A" footer ---
     
    With that configuration, the only text that's affected by the "Exhibit A" footer is the blank page.  It's a little annoying, but much better than allowing the "Exhibit A" footer flow up into the body of the document.

  • Avatar
    Service Desk

    Thanks for the explanation – I now understand what is going on a bit better but it still doesn’t help me try and eliminate the ‘rework’ of having to delete the final blank page.  What I have found happening unfortunately, is that the existence of the subsequent blank page does not get spotted as it is beyond say, a closing signature, (where a considerable part of the page might be blank anyway) the document gets converted into a pdf and emailed out with a blank page at the end.  

    Can you think of any work round for me please?  The the only thing I can think of so far is to ensure that any conditionally ‘disappearing’ section is not the last section but I have not experimented with this or looked to see if that would work for all our documents.......  or maybe to not use a conditional section but conditional exclusion of the text in this instance but it makes it a bit illogical to have one whole part a conditional section and the next conditional text.....

    Any thoughts would be gratefully received! 

    Incidentally, would this normally be the sort of question you would expect to be raised at the weekly webinar – its just difficult for me as I don’t have a mic – only earphones....?

     

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    Service Desk

    Here’s more, after discussion with our techie geniuses…

    My mistake: If you delete the extra page after Petrifying you'll get the same bad result:  the headers, footers, and format of the last section will flow up into the previous section, resulting in something like my example where the entire body of the document ends up with an "Exhibit A" footer. It’s just the way Word is built. 

    Here are your options, in order of preference:

    1.  Construct the form without section breaks.  This is always the best solution, if it can be done.  If the document does not require different headers/footers in different parts of the document, then you can almost always build the document without the use of section breaks.  (Note that you can also achieve a different first page header/footer or different alternating pageheader/footer without the use of section breaks.)

    2.  As you suggested, build the form in such a way that the last section is not conditional.

    3.  After creating the PDF, remove its last page using Adobe Acrobat or some other PDF-editing software.

    4.  After Petrifying, follow the convoluted steps that Word requires to remove the last section break without altering the format, headers, and footers of the previous section.  Scott covered that in one of my white papers, and the relevant section is attached.

    5.  Send out the PDF with a blank page at the end.

    Yes, this is exactly the type of issue The Learning Curve is designed to tackle.

    We have UK local telephone numbers for The Learning Curve if that would help. (Numbers provided in return email)

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