Change Case Cycles: How They Work?

Created: Sunday, August 19, 2007, posted by Geetesh Bajaj at 10:06 am

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Echo Swinford, PowerPoint MVP resolves the mystery of the algorithm behind the changing cases in PowerPoint!

Do you use Shift+F3 to toggle through the change case options on selected text in PowerPoint, and wonder why sometimes only the first word gets a capital letter, but at other times all the words get capitalized?

Here’s a more detailed example — suppose I double-click to select all the words in a text box on the slide: fetal and neonatal disease. I hit Shift+F3. I expected to get Fetal And Neonatal Disease and then, if I hit Shift+F3 again, FETAL AND NEONATAL DISEASE.

Instead, the first time I hit Shift+F3, I get Fetal and neonatal disease. The second time, I get all caps, and the third time I’m back to all lower case as expected. But how do I know when to expect sentence case (e.g., Fetal and neonatal disease) and when to expect title case* (e.g., Fetal And Neonatal Disease)?

*And yes, I know it’s not a true title case — in fact, you’ll notice that in 2007 this is now called “Capitalize Every Word,” not “Title Case.”

I think this has to do with punctuation, or, rather, an invisible paragraph marker at the end of text.

Here’s what Beth Melton, Word MVP (thanks, Beth!) and I figured out:

If you select text in a Title Placeholder and Shift+F3, you’ll get title case.

If you select text in a manual textbox, which you get depends on what you’ve selected and also HOW you’ve selected it. In the case of selecting all text in a textbox, for example, “fetal and neonatal studies”…

  • If you triple-click the text to select all text in the textbox, Shift+F3 gives you sentence case. (Fetal will begin with a capital letter.)
  • If you select all the text by dragging the mouse over the text from left to right, Shift+F3 gives you sentence case. (Fetal will begin with a capital letter.)
  • If you select all the text by dragging them mouse over the text from *right* to *left*, Shift+F3 gives you title case. (All Words Begin With A Capital Letter.)
  • It’s as though triple-clicking or selecting from left to right also selects an invisible marker*, which indicates the text should be a “sentence.”
  • Selecting from right to left does not select that last invisible marker, which indicates the text should act as a title.
  • If you’re selecting just part of the text in a text box, e.g., selecting only “and neonatal,” then it doesn’t seem to matter if you use left-right or right-left — you get title case with all words capped. Of course, if the last word of the “paragraph” is included in that partial selection, e.g., “and neonatal disease,” you’ll need to use a right-to-left selection to avoid that final invisible marker.

Personally, this all seems overly complicated to me. Sure wish we could see the non-printing characters; I probably would have figured this out years ago….

*I’m assuming an invisible paragraph marker because if you try the three ways to select text and then paste the text into a new empty textbox, the first two ways give you an empty “paragraph” below, while the third way (right-to-left) doesn’t.

Echo Swinford runs EchosVoice, a site containing many PowerPoint tips. She is also author of Fixing PowerPoint Annoyances and PowerPoint 2007 Complete Makeover Kit.

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