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4DWrite Contextual Menu

4DWrite is the word processing plugin that is used in letters and emails in CatBase.

In this tutorial, we will describe the functions available via the contextual menu in the editing area.

The 4DWrite editing area looks like this:


The ribbon at the top of the area offers many formatting and management functions, and you can access most of them via the contextual menu.

To invoke the contextual menu, right-click or command-click anywhere within the editing area. 

contextual menu.png

Selecting the view mode  

4DWrite documents can be displayed in one of three page view modes:

  • Draft: draft mode with basic properties

  • Page (default): "print view" mode

  • Embedded: view mode suitable for embedded areas; it does not display margins, footers, headers, columns, page frames, etc. This mode can also be used to produce a Web-like view output (if you also select the 96 dpi resolution and the HTML WYSIWYG option).

The page view mode can be configured by means of the area pop-up menu:


Note: The page view mode is not stored with the document.

Basic properties  

When the document is in Page view mode, the following document properties are available:

  • Page outlines to represent printing limits

  • Page width and Page height (default: 21x29.7 cm)

  • Page orientation (default: Portrait)

  • Page margin (default: 2.5 cm)


Note: When a document is in Embedded or Draft view mode, page properties can be set, even if their effect is not visible. In Draft view mode, the following paragraph property effects are visible:

  • Page height limitation (lines drawn)

  • Columns

  • Avoid page break inside property

  • Widow and orphan control.

Paragraph breaks  

When displayed in Page or Draft mode (or in the context of a document printing), paragraphs can break:

  • automatically, if the paragraph height is greater than the available page height,

  • depending on paragraph breaks you set using the Insert page break option of the contextual menu.

Controlling automatic breaks

You can control automatic breaks in paragraphs using the following features: 

  • Widow and orphan control: When this option is set for a paragraph, 4DWrite does not allow widows (last line of a paragraph isolated at the top of a page) or orphans (first line of a paragraph isolated at the bottom of a page) in the document. In the first case, the previous line of the paragraph is added to the top of the page so that two lines are displayed there. In the second case, the single first line is moved onto the next page.

  • Avoid page break inside: When this option is set for a paragraph, 4DWrite prevents this paragraph from being broken into parts on two or more pages.

  • Keep with next: When this option is set for a paragraph, that paragraph cannot be separated from the one that follows it by an automatic break. These options can be set using the context menu 


The background of 4DWrite documents and document elements (tables, paragraphs, sections, headers/footers, etc.) can be set with the following effects:

  • colors

  • borders

  • images

  • origin, horizontal and vertical positioning

  • painting area

  • repeat

You can modify background attributes via the contextual menu as shown below:


Handling headers, footers, and sections  

4DWrite documents support headers and footers. These headers and footers are related to sections.

A section is a part of a document which is defined by a page range and can have its own paging and common attributes. A document can contain any number of sections (from just one, up to the total number of pages). Each page can only belong to one section, except pages with continuous section breaks (see below). 

You can define a set of headers and footers for each section.

Defining a section  

A section is a subset of continuous pages in a 4DWrite document. A document can contain one or more sections. A section can contain any number of pages, from a single page to the total number of pages in the document. A section page can contain a single column or up to 20 column(s).

By default, a document contains a single section, named Section 1. The contextual menu displays this section number wherever you click in the document:


You create a new section by adding a section break in the text flow:

4dwrite insert section break.png

When a section break has been added, the contextual menu displays an incremented number for each section. You can, however, rename any section:

4dwrite sectionrename.png

The name you entered is then used as the section name everywhere in the document.

Note that if you have defined a different first page or different left/right pages for a section, the page type is also displayed in the menu (see below).

Inserting a continuous section break  

A continuous section break creates a new section on the same page. This allows you to create pages with sections that have different numbers of columns.

Sections created with continuous section breaks are counted in the document (they have section numbers), but unlike sections created with regular section breaks, their headers, footers, anchored images, etc. are only taken into account when a physical page break has occurred.

Note: If you change the page orientation for the new section after you insert a continuous section break, it turns into a regular section break.

Section attributes  

Sections inherit attributes from the document. However, common document attributes, including headers and footers, can be modified separately for each section. The contextual pop-up menu displays the properties and attributes available at the section level:

4dwrite section options.png
  • Page orientation: allows you to set a specific page orientation (Portrait or Landscape) per section.

  • Different first page: allows you to set different attributes for the first page of the section; this feature can be used to create flyleaves, for example. When this attribute is checked, the first page of the section is handled as a subsection itself and can have its own attributes.

  • Different left and right pages: allows you to set different attributes for left and right pages of the section. When this attribute is checked, left and right pages of the section are handled as subsections and can have their own attributes.

  • Columns commands: allow to define the number and properties of columns for the section. These options are detailed below.

  • Header and Footer commands: these options allow you to define separate headers and footers. These options are detailed below.

  • Margins / Paddings / Borders / Background: these attributes can be defined separately for each section. 

Inserting headers and footers  

Each section can have specific header and footer. Headers and footers are displayed only when the document page view mode is Page.

Within a section, you can define up to three different headers and footers, depending on the enabled options:

  • first page,

  • left page(s),

  • right page(s).


To create a header or a footer:

  1. Make sure the document is in Page view mode.

  2. Double-click in the header or footer area of the desired section and page to switch to editing mode.

    • The header area is at the top of the page:​

4dwrite sectionheader.png

The footer area is at the bottom of the page:

4dwrite section footer.png

You can then enter any static contents, which will be repeated automatically on each page of the section (except for the first page, if enabled).


You can remove the entire definition of a header or a footer (contents and attributes) by selecting the Remove header or Remove footer command in the contextual menu.


Handling rulers  

Horizontal rulers are available in every viewing mode and have the following characteristics:

  • Graduations in cm, mm, inches or pt according to current layout unit defined in the 4D Write Pro document. You can change measurement units using the context menu or by modifying the wk layout unit attribute.

  • First line indent symbol

  • Left paragraph margin symbol

  • Right paragraph margin symbol

  • Tabs displayed along lower edge of ruler

  • Visible color contrast representing left and right page margins


Vertical rulers are available in Page mode only and have the following characteristics:

  • Graduations in cm, mm, inches or pt according to current layout unit defined in the 4D Write Pro document. You can change measurement units using the context menu or by modifying the wk layout unit attribute.

  • Visible color contrast representing top and bottom page margins


You can change the display status of the rulers by checking or unchecking the Show horizontal ruler or Show vertical ruler item in the context menu:

4dwrite show rulers.png

Note: A specific 4DWrite area property allows defining the default display for the rulers (see Configuring View properties section).


Adjusting text margins and indents  


Horizontal ruler  

You can modify the left and right margins, indents and tab positions by clicking and dragging the corresponding symbols on the horizontal ruler:

4dwrite ruler settings.png

When you hover the mouse over one of these symbols, the cursor changes to indicate that it can be moved, and a vertical guide line appears while you drag it:

4dwrite ruler hover.png

When multiple paragraphs are selected, dragging margin or indent symbols applies these margins or indents to all selected paragraphs. Holding down the Shift key while dragging these symbols maintains existing intervals between indents or margins in the selected paragraphs.


Vertical ruler  

You can modify the top and bottom margins with the vertical ruler. When you hover the mouse over the margin limit, the cursor changes to indicate that it can be moved, and a horizontal guide line appears while you drag it:

4d write rler hover vertical.png

This action can be used to modify the spacing between the top and bottom of the page and the body and the header and footer of a document. 

Managing tabs  

You can use the horizontal ruler's context menu to create, modify or delete tabs:

4dwrite ruler tabs.png

To create a tab, just right-click (control-click) directly on the horizontal ruler and choose its type from the context menu; a single left click automatically creates a default left tab. You can also right-click on existing tabs to modify their type using the context menu.

Remove tab is only available when you right-click directly on an existing tab; you can also remove tabs by dragging them outside the horizontal ruler area.


  • For decimal tabs, 4DWrite considers the first dot or comma character from the right as the decimal separator. 

Define leading characters  

The characters preceding tabs (leading characters) can be defined by selecting from five predefined characters or by designating a specific character to use. The predefined characters are:

  • None (no characters are displayed - default)

  • ....      (dots)

  • ---      (dashes)

  • __     (underscores)

  • ***     (asterisks)


Leading characters always appear before the tab and follows the text direction (left to right or right to left). They can be defined via the horizontal ruler's contextual menu (as shown below).

4dwrite ruler tabs.png

When Other... is selected, a dialog is displayed where a custom leading character can be defined.


Multi-column rulers  

When two or more columns are defined for the document or the section, the horizontal ruler displays a specific area for each column:

4dwrite multicolumn ruler.png

Note: Multi-column feature is not available in Embedded view mode.

Handling columns  

4DWrite allows you to manage columns in your documents. Columns are chained from the left-most column to the right-most column. In other words, when entering text, the text flow will start filling the left column and continue with the column directly to the right until it reaches the end of the page. Once the end of the page is reached, the text flow cycles through the next page. In order to be able to balance the page settings, you can insert column breaks.

4dwrite ruler 3columns.png

Columns can be defined at the document level (they are displayed in the whole document) and/or at the section level (each section can have its own column configuration). 

Note: Columns are supported in Page view mode and Draft view mode only (they are not displayed in Embedded view mode)

Creating a page with multiple-column and single column sections  

Inserting a continuous section break in your document allows you to have multiple-column sections and single column sections on the same page. 

For example:

4dwrite sample text.png

You can insert a continuous section break and change the number of columns to two for the first section:

4dwrite page section columns.png
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