Straight horizontal and vertical lines?


A

AdamK

I'm having a very strange problem with Powerpoint 2007. I can't manage
to draw a straight horizontal or vertical line.

I've got "Snap objects to grid" turned on. When I go to draw a new
line, I click down and drag to the side. It is clearly using snap-to-
grid because if I veer the mouse up or down the line jumps in discrete
steps. But I keep it level with where I clicked down, and let go. My
new line is "almost" horizontal, but it is NOT actually horizontal. It
is visible slanting and has a "fuzzy" appearance due to the anti-
aliasing.

If I click and drag the end points and move them away and then back,
so that snap-to-grid can do its snapping, the line is still not
straight. The only way I have figured out how to make it actually
straight is to right click on the line, choose "Size and Position..."
and then type "0.0" in the height box (which already had 0" in it!).
Then the line becomes actually straight, and looks sharp, clean, and
not slanted.

If I then resize the line, it becomes not straight again. This happens
even if I hold down shift while I resize it, which is supposed to keep
it in the same plane. (Note: to get 'shift-resize' working at all I
had to apply a HotFix - see http://support.microsoft.com/kb/941658 for
more info).

I have the same problems with vertical lines.

If I am moving control points using "Edit Points" on a multipart line,
I also have the same problem. But in this case, I know of no
equivalent to the "Size and Position..." dialog box, so I can't get my
lines straight no matter what I do.

Help!

thanks,
adamk
 
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K

Kevin Dufendach

(Disclaimer: I don't have ppt 2007, but I expect this should work the
same). Have you tried holding down the [shift] key as you create the
line? That should allow you to create horizontal or vertical lines
easily.
 
A

AdamK

Thanks for the suggestion, but unfortunately using the SHIFT key as I
create the lines also yields lines which are "almost" straight, but
not actually straight. In this case as well, the only way I've found
to make the line actually straight is to right click on the line,
choose "Size and Position..." and then type "0.0" in the height box
(which already had 0" in it).

To you Powerpoint experts out there:
Are you not answering this question because you don't have this
problem and you don't know what I'm talking about? Or are you not
answering this question because it is such an embarrassment to the
product that you don't want to acknowledge that this problem actually
exists? Just wondering - it would help me to know the answer either
way. You can reply privately if you want.
 
L

Lucy Thomson

Hi Adam

I can't reproduce this issue - holding the shift key to create horizontal
and vertical lines in 2007 works for me. However, I do remember experiencing
this problem once a few months ago and I used 2003 to create the lines then
copy/pasted in. Since then I haven't needed to create a line in 2007 (most
of my clients are still on 2003) but, as I said, having just tested it it's
working fine. So, what have I changed in the intervening months? The only
thing I can think of is SP1 - do you have that installed? And for general
trouble shooting with 2007 make sure you have a local printer driver
installed and have the latest driver for your video card.

BTW I have never known the 'powerpoint experts' to hold back on letting
people know when they have encountered a bug (and that they also find it
very frustrating). Nobody here works for microsoft or has need to be
'embarrassed' by bugs - have a look around and I'm sure you'll see examples
of the experts criticising PowerPoint :)

Lucy
 
A

AdamK

Lucy,

Thanks for your reply. It's comforting to know someone else has
experienced this problem at some point, and I suppose it's also
comforting to know that someone got rid of the problem (somehow)!

I've tried adding a local print driver (all of my printers were
previously shared network printers) but that didn't make a difference.

I am running Windows XP SP3, with all updates, and I am running Office
2007 SP1, also fully updated (through Microsoft Update). I'm seeing
this problem on three different computers: a Dell Optiplex 755
desktop, a Dell Latitude D610 laptop, and a Fujitsu Lifebook T4220
convertible Tablet PC, so it's not just one computer/video driver.

I've noticed something further about this behavior which may help
diagnose the problem and make it more obvious:

First I create an "almost" horizontal line; then I right click on it
and bring up the "Size and Position..." box:
On the "Size" tab, in the "Size and rotate" section, it has "Height" =
'0"', "Weight" = '3.25"', "Rotation" = '0deg'; and in the "Scale"
section, it has "Height" = '100%', "Width" = '100%', and "Lock aspect
ratio" is unchecked.

Now, the easiest way to notice the problem is to move the dialog box
to where you can see the line. Now in the "Size and rotate" section,
type '0.0' into the "Height" widget (replacing the current value of
'0"') but don't hit [Tab] or [Enter] yet. Now look at the line as you
hit [Tab] to cause it to take your new value. You will see that the
line instantly becomes truly straight and loses the "fuzzy" look that
it had due to being slightly slanted and antialiased. At the same
time, all of the widgets in the "Scale" section of the dialog become
deactivated, further indicating that the state of the line has
changed.

I've added before and after pictures of the "Size and Position..." box
to the bottom of this webpage showing the slanted lines:
http://mypage.iu.edu/~akrawitz/powerpoint2007/


One further thought related to this problem: What does it mean for a
line to have a "height," a "width," a "rotation," and a two-
dimensional ("height" and "width") scaling? Playing around with it, it
seems like there is a weird interdependency between the rotation and
the height and width. As I move one end of the line around, the three
values shift in non-linear ways. Furthermore, the scaling seems to be
a transient setting that resets to 100% after closing and reopening
the "Size and Position..." box. Perhaps the competing nature of these
parameter values is related to the slanted horizontal line problem?

BTW I have never known the 'powerpoint experts' to hold back on letting
people know when they have encountered a bug (and that they also find it
very frustrating). Nobody here works for microsoft or has need to be
'embarrassed' by bugs - have a look around and I'm sure you'll see examples
of the experts criticising PowerPoint :)

I apologize for any and all negative insinuation in my previous email,
and I thank you again for your help.

adamk
 
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L

Lucy Thomson

Oh Adam I feel for you. And I just wish I knew what it was I had done to fix
it. Clutching at straw now, but I had a problem with previewing animation
which I fixed by turning off hardware acceleration (slide show -> set up
show). Turning it back on doesn't bring the straight line problem back but
computers are strange creatures so it might be worth a go... Perhaps we
should compare other settings too? Drop me a line and attach a file with a
broken line, a fixed line and a screen shot of your options - lucy at
aneasiertomorrow dot com dot au (make the obvious changes).

Lucy

--
Lucy Thomson
PowerPoint MVP
MOS Master Instructor
www.aneasiertomorrow.com.au


AdamK said:
Lucy,

Thanks for your reply. It's comforting to know someone else has
experienced this problem at some point, and I suppose it's also
comforting to know that someone got rid of the problem (somehow)!

I've tried adding a local print driver (all of my printers were
previously shared network printers) but that didn't make a difference.

I am running Windows XP SP3, with all updates, and I am running Office
2007 SP1, also fully updated (through Microsoft Update). I'm seeing
this problem on three different computers: a Dell Optiplex 755
desktop, a Dell Latitude D610 laptop, and a Fujitsu Lifebook T4220
convertible Tablet PC, so it's not just one computer/video driver.

I've noticed something further about this behavior which may help
diagnose the problem and make it more obvious:

First I create an "almost" horizontal line; then I right click on it
and bring up the "Size and Position..." box:
On the "Size" tab, in the "Size and rotate" section, it has "Height" =
'0"', "Weight" = '3.25"', "Rotation" = '0deg'; and in the "Scale"
section, it has "Height" = '100%', "Width" = '100%', and "Lock aspect
ratio" is unchecked.

Now, the easiest way to notice the problem is to move the dialog box
to where you can see the line. Now in the "Size and rotate" section,
type '0.0' into the "Height" widget (replacing the current value of
'0"') but don't hit [Tab] or [Enter] yet. Now look at the line as you
hit [Tab] to cause it to take your new value. You will see that the
line instantly becomes truly straight and loses the "fuzzy" look that
it had due to being slightly slanted and antialiased. At the same
time, all of the widgets in the "Scale" section of the dialog become
deactivated, further indicating that the state of the line has
changed.

I've added before and after pictures of the "Size and Position..." box
to the bottom of this webpage showing the slanted lines:
http://mypage.iu.edu/~akrawitz/powerpoint2007/


One further thought related to this problem: What does it mean for a
line to have a "height," a "width," a "rotation," and a two-
dimensional ("height" and "width") scaling? Playing around with it, it
seems like there is a weird interdependency between the rotation and
the height and width. As I move one end of the line around, the three
values shift in non-linear ways. Furthermore, the scaling seems to be
a transient setting that resets to 100% after closing and reopening
the "Size and Position..." box. Perhaps the competing nature of these
parameter values is related to the slanted horizontal line problem?

BTW I have never known the 'powerpoint experts' to hold back on letting
people know when they have encountered a bug (and that they also find it
very frustrating). Nobody here works for microsoft or has need to be
'embarrassed' by bugs - have a look around and I'm sure you'll see
examples
of the experts criticising PowerPoint :)

I apologize for any and all negative insinuation in my previous email,
and I thank you again for your help.

adamk
 
L

Louisj

I have also encountered this problem in numerous documents. Today, I ran
into the problem while drawing lines on an Excel graph (in Excel), which is
what prompted to me to do a search.

(Strange Google found this article but MSN Live or whatever couldn't.)

I can draw initial lines (in PP or Excel 2007) straight with the shift key,
but I can not resize them. The only solution I have found to work is to
delete the line and draw it again.

James
 
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I

IRD

Adam,
I have the same problem and nothing that has been suggested works. I will
try your workaround solution but that is certainly a pain to have to do
everytime. I mentioned this on another thread and didn't get any response.
 

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