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Old 05-18-2020, 05:32 AM   #1
jonathanc
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Widows and Orphans

Hi all,

Can you help please? I have search the forums and not quite found what I was looking for.

I have converted the book with Calibre to AZW3 and then sent this to the Kindle (Touch and Paperwhite). It is almost perfect, but has widows and orphans.

So I edited the book CSS (the majority of the text is block 7 (start of chapter) and block 8 (all other paragraphs)):

.block_7 {
display: block;
margin: 0;
padding: 0
widows: 2;
orphans: 2;
}
.block_8 {
display: block;
text-indent: 14.2pt;
margin: 0;
padding: 0
widows: 2;
orphans: 2;

Sadly, I still have widows and orphans.

What am I doing wrong?
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Old 05-18-2020, 05:58 AM   #2
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Posting in the wrong place? Moved to the Kindle forum.

(I suspect that the Kindle ignores windows and orphans CSS, but an expert will be along shortly, no doubt.)
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Old 05-18-2020, 06:20 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pdurrant View Post
Posting in the wrong place? Moved to the Kindle forum.

(I suspect that the Kindle ignores windows and orphans CSS, but an expert will be along shortly, no doubt.)
KF8 does not ignore widows and orphans. I just tested this and it worked no problem. I cannot say about Mobi or KFX.
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Old 05-18-2020, 06:25 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonathanc View Post
Hi all,

Can you help please? I have search the forums and not quite found what I was looking for.

I have converted the book with Calibre to AZW3 and then sent this to the Kindle (Touch and Paperwhite). It is almost perfect, but has widows and orphans.

So I edited the book CSS (the majority of the text is block 7 (start of chapter) and block 8 (all other paragraphs)):

.block_7 {
display: block;
margin: 0;
padding: 0
widows: 2;
orphans: 2;
}
.block_8 {
display: block;
text-indent: 14.2pt;
margin: 0;
padding: 0
widows: 2;
orphans: 2;

Sadly, I still have widows and orphans.

What am I doing wrong?
Check the source eBook before your conversion and see if it has windows and orphans. If it is ePub, you can have a look at the CSS in the editor.

I always make sure there are no windows and orphans in the CSS except for body where I have windows and orphans set to 1. This is done in ePub and when converting to KF8, it works perfectly.
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Old 05-18-2020, 06:39 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonathanc View Post
Hi all,
...

So I edited the book CSS (the majority of the text is block 7 (start of chapter) and block 8 (all other paragraphs)):

.block_7 {
display: block;
margin: 0;
padding: 0 <-missing semi-colon
widows: 2;
orphans: 2;
}
.block_8 {
display: block;
text-indent: 14.2pt;
margin: 0;
padding: 0 <-missing semi-colon
widows: 2;
orphans: 2;

Sadly, I still have widows and orphans.

What am I doing wrong?

You need semi-colons after your padding styles.
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Old 05-18-2020, 06:56 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimmyR View Post
You need semi-colons after your padding styles.
Chances are that the padding styles don't actually need to be there.
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Old 05-19-2020, 02:07 AM   #7
jonathanc
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimmyR View Post
You need semi-colons after your padding styles.
Genius thank you! Embarrassing, but thank you. It doesn't seem to work why on my 2011 Kindle and anyway surely widows and orphans can't be completely gone with adjustable text size?

Also, why does Calibre add this:
.calibre4 {
white-space: pre-wrap
}

It causes my justification to change. Seems to randomly insert it mid word or paragraph.
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Old 05-19-2020, 11:20 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonathanc View Post
Genius thank you! Embarrassing, but thank you. It doesn't seem to work why on my 2011 Kindle and anyway surely widows and orphans can't be completely gone with adjustable text size?
There is no widow/orphan prevention at all until a very recent Kindle firmware version (5.11? something like that): so older Kindles simply never do anything with this stuff.
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Old 05-19-2020, 11:30 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonathanc View Post
It doesn't seem to work why on my 2011 Kindle and anyway surely widows and orphans can't be completely gone with adjustable text size?
Setting it to 1 removes blank space caused by removal of widows and orphans. Setting it to 2 increases likelihood of blank space due to moving part of a paragraph to the top of the next page to avoid an isolated line of the start or end of a paragraph.
So with 1 you have the maximum occurrence of a widow or orphan. It means the bottom of the page can have as few as 1 lines of the next paragraph, or the top of the page can have as few as 1 line from the previous paragraph, so there is no "wasted space". That's why a setting of 0 has no meaning and is interpreted as 1.

Changing the margins, font face, font size and line spacing only changes where paragraphs are broken across a page boundary. If you have variable blank space at the bottom of a page you are avoiding (removing) small widows & orphans. If you never have blank space, then some paragraphs will have 1 line widows or orphans.

Last edited by Quoth; 05-19-2020 at 11:34 AM.
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Old 05-20-2020, 04:28 AM   #10
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Just to clarify, ANY paragraph split across a page boundary has a Widow and an Orphan. These are the names of the two parts no matter if it's a Brontë 50 line paragraph split into two equal parts. The reason to have white space is that if there is an isolated one line (or maybe two) some people can lose the context when they flip the page. They might check to see (on paper) if they flipped two pages, or have to turn back. So material on paper may set a minimum of two isolated lines (or even three), thus the default in kobo and many wordprocessors of two, which is thus the minimum number of widowed or orphaned lines.
If you have poor short term memory and/or find reading difficult, you might even want 3 or 4 rather than 2 and not 1, which is really the do nothing setting. Sometimes there may runs of pages where the paragraphs happen to end at the bottom of a page, so even with 3 you'd not get the big block of white space. With 3 or 4 the blank space will be more variable in size than with 2, where it will vary as not every page break splits a paragraph and not every split paragraph has too small a widow or orphan. A dangling line at the top of the next page will cause a bigger blank gap as the entire paragraph may move to the next page.
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Old 05-20-2020, 04:36 AM   #11
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For all those bothered by the default windows and orphans of 2, Kobo's newest firmware has hidden options to change windows and orphans default to whatever you want. So you could set them to to turn them off. These options can be overridden in the CSS.

I have seen some eBooks with windows and orphans specified as 2 for some bad reason.
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Old 05-22-2020, 10:39 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JSWolf View Post
For all those bothered by the default windows and orphans of 2
btw, since you seem to be saying this repeatedly and may have fallen for an old eggcorn: they're *widows* and orphans, not windows. (Or alternatively maybe it's just really hard to not type 'windows' here: I did it while writing this email. "Widow" isn't a very common word any more.)
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Old 05-22-2020, 05:46 PM   #13
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"Widow" isn't a very common word any more.
No, I suspect it is more common to be divorced than a widow.
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Old 05-23-2020, 02:32 AM   #14
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Can You divorce from a window? Philosophical question
And Can You divorce from Your widow? another Philosophical question
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