Inserting a tab character gives strange results

I have some text in a simple outline that I sometimes need to copy elsewhere and each sentence must have a tab character at a specific place so that the pasted text will be correctly formatted.

The tab character, inserted with option-tab, sometimes just creates a space (of variable width) where it is inserted, sometimes moves down one line and indents the text that comes after it, and sometimes moves down one line and moves the text after it down another line so that there is an apparently empty line between the first and second part of the text.

The behavior I want is the first one, just some space and no pushing the following text below it.

I have tried to understand the reason for this seemingly random behavior but failed. Am I doing something wrong?

Using OmniOuliner Pro 5.2 on Mac

Are there any other ‘invisible’ characters in your text? Is it text that you typed from within OO5? Or does it come from some other app?

Also, if you stretch the window horizontally — to allow more text to fit on a line — does it change where the lines break?

I don’t remember if I typed it directly or not but there aren’t any other invisible characters as far as I can tell, after pasting the line into BBEdit.

Also, I retyped the line directly into OO5 and when I typed option-tab the next word went down one line (not two like the original line). I widened the window (and the column) but this didn’t change anything. And if I continue typing without adding a tab, the line goes on without a line break.

Looking a bit more closely, I discovered that the line that jumps down two rows when I add a tab has a Style Attribute “Text insertion” followed by “paragraph tab stops: OR”. This appears even when there is no tab in the line. The other lines don’t have this style at all and if I type the line from scratch, the style doesn’t show up but the tab still pushed the following words down.

I tried to find what “Text insertion” followed by “paragraph tab stops: OR” meant in OO but found absolutely nothing anywhere.

I would guess that the source of your problem is the styling, although I’m not sure how you would intentionally add those particular attributes.

If you click the ‘x’ in the Style Attributes, it should go away for the selected text (or rows). Theoretically, if you delete every instance of the style attribute, the issue should go away. If there is a named style that contains that particular style attribute, then you might have to delete the named style.

As an aside, ‘paragraph tab stops’ is an attribute of a text style. When I use applescript to read the value for a row, it gives me a list of numbers that increment by 28. I’m not sure how one might set it using applescript.

No, removing the attribute (I have no idea where it comes from) doesn’t change anything and I found another line with a paragraph tab stop (but with different parameters) that didn’t move the line down after an inserted tab. I deleted them anyway and checked every other line for the unwanted styling. There weren’t any others.
Anyway, I’ve found a stupid workaround to get this line as I want it: type half the text preceding the tab, add the tab and the following text, go back to before the tab and add the second half of the text. This way I get the whole line, with the tab in the right place and nothing pushed to the line below. It seems to be dependent on the length of the text before the tab, length which is different if the characters are letters or numbers but I wasn’t able to pinpoint it exactly.

This isn’t vital, so I think both of us have spent enough time on it as is. I was hoping for a simple explanation but I have to conclude that it’s just a very weird bug… (it can’t be a feature, can it? :) )

One last question… does this issue affect just one specific document? Or any new one you create as well? Finally, it might be worth sending an email to tech support. It might be an issue they are familiar with. Feature or bug, you’ve found a weird one.

Sorry for the delay in responding.

The problem appears in all my documents, and also in any new one I create. After fiddling around with it for quite a while, it seems the problem only appears if the start of the line gets to a certain length which varies depending on the characters used, if they are upper or lower case, digits or letters. It seems to be sort of absolute length problem but I can’t figure out any specific length, even using a monospaced font. Of course, there is lots of room on the right for more characters, but the tab at some point feels it’s time to jump down to the next line.

I’ll try to send a message to tech support about this.

Well, that is an unusual one, that’s for sure. I think it’s worth an email to support. I hope they can figure out a solution. Best of luck with it.