Computer: Word Processing
River control   (0)  [vote for, against]
Just like Widow/Orphan control, kind of.

We all know about widow/orphan control in word processing programs - that is, a check to see if some freak of pagination has left a line from a paragraph on its own on a page and, if so, to give it another line to keep it company.
What I'd like in addition is River control - that is, a subtle adjustment of the word spacing on a page to ensure there are no 'rivers' of white space running vertically down the page.
(I believe in the old of hot metal typesetting, a good typesetter would do river control manually on the made-up page of typeset)
-- hippo, Apr 16 2003


I thought hippos liked rivers? is it an aesthetic thing?

<< like that one?
-- po, Apr 16 2003

Great idea, but how are you going to eliminate rivers without editing the text or changing the margins very substantially?
-- DrCurry, Apr 16 2003

I honestly didn’t know until this moment that others even noticed the blank lines let, alone that there is a word for them.
Always wondered if government agencies and such, hid code in the negative spaces in publications rather than in the print itself.

"The Truth Is In There"
-- 2 fries shy of a happy meal, Apr 16 2003

[DrCurry] - it should all be done by adjusting the spacing between the words - no changes to the text necessary.
-- hippo, Apr 16 2003

How so? Wouldn't the spacing then look "off" ?
-- DrCurry, Apr 16 2003

A thesaurus, would not necessarily be needed. By changing, if they exist, words such as; wouldn't and couldn't into their slightly longer ancestors (would not and could not), maybe enough to fix the apparant river.
-- silverstormer, Apr 16 2003

dammit, its like pointing out the floaters in your eyes. I have not noticed this for years and now I am looking all over again.

the newpapers do this still unless I am much mistaken.
-- po, Apr 16 2003

//How so? Wouldn't the spacing then look "off" ?//
Does the spacing look off in "justified" newspaper columns? The same adaptive adjustment of inter-word and inter-letter spaces is used to achieve that.
-- krelnik, Apr 16 2003

I am assuming that professional typesetters do what I have always done, and remove rivers by making little word substituions or playing with hyphenation. It is possible, however, to dream up a scheme whereby the computer ever so slightly expanded or contracted letter spacing to minimize the rivers. Similar things are done already for things like vertical justification.

You'd need an algorithm for measuring rivers. Any ideas if that is feasible?
-- DrCurry, Apr 16 2003

Oh, I think so. Years ago at Xerox EuroPARC they had some logic in the printers which would look for rivers and word break patterns in documents printed there as a means of recognissing documents. Then, you could have video monitoring of your desk and even from quite far away, it was possible for computers to recognise by the word-break patterns which document you were looking at.
So, you could then do things like ask what you were doing a week ago. The response would come back "You were in your office with Pete [everyone's location was monitored by IR transponder] discussing the new budget document".
-- hippo, Apr 17 2003

Whitespace... The final frontier...
-- thumbwax, Apr 17 2003

Sorry to burst your bubble, but you can already do it. Justified will do that by increasing spacing between words. In Microsoft Word to do the same thing sith each letter, go to Format->Paragraph and then change the alignment to Distributed and it'll do it. Beware though, because if it is a full page width, an line with two words, like the last two words of a paragrap will look l i k e t h i s , only wider.
-- lunaras, May 25 2004

Yes, but that doesn't do anything to control the rivers of white space which flow vertically through a page of text, which is what this idea's about.
-- hippo, May 25 2004

Do you mean the blank space at the end of the line, or the 1 space width spaces that are near to being on top of each other?
-- lunaras, May 25 2004

That's right - the spaces that are near to being on top of each other in the middle of lines - where lots of these on successive lines make a wiggly vertical white line running down the page, typography people call them 'rivers'.
-- hippo, May 26 2004

I love rivers. In grade school my books were all marked up because I'd start my pencil at the upper left and draw a zigzaggy diagonal through the rivers down to the bottom right. I considered it a "win" if I made it to the right margin before hitting the bottom of the page.
-- phundug, May 26 2004

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