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When converting web pages to print, the typesetting engine automatically applies standard conventions for printed material. For a given input, it optimises the quality of the printed output and applies the rules of typesetting consistently to every page. This means authors can focus on content, rather than presentation. It also means authors do not need to be typesetting experts to produce professional-looking printed documents from their web page collections. The following are among the more common conventions followed:

  • captions are placed above tables and below figures
  • images and tables “float” to the top of the next page if there is insufficient room; the text following flows back around the floated object
  • captions for images floated left or right on the web are on the right of the image on recto pages and the left on verso pages

While the typesetting engine maximises quality for a given input, authors may find the output unsatisfactory in some cases. The generally recommended solution is to adjust the input, rather than trying to change the output rules. This is because:

  • unless we know the rules, we can’t make an informed decision about when to break them — most people are not typesetting experts
  • in a collaborative authoring environment, it is almost impossible to teach everyone the conventions
  • computers are much better than people at applying conventions consistently

Those who are used to controlling the look of their outputs have to learn to relax, go with the flow and resist the temptation to fiddle. The wikipublisher authors do not claim to be typesetting experts; the pages look the way they do because that’s the way the engine composes them. Authors coming from a word processing background may take some time to get used to this approach.

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Page last modified on 07 May 2006 at 02:01 PM