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The only way I found is to manually add line breaks, which can lead to inconsistency. Is there a way to automate this ?

screenshot

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2 Answers 2

Based on your question and comments to @nathang answer, you will need to create two paragraph styles. One will be the standard paragraph, and the second is a duplicate of the standard but with a value set in "After Paragraph" in the Inspector to use for paragraphs that come right before a header.

Using two paragraph styles is kludgy, but writing a script to automate this would be just as kludgy and unreliable.

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How do people usually do ? I mean it's obvious that it needs spacing and I'm not the only one using Pages. –  user2113 Jun 27 '11 at 18:51
    
Having a space before a header happens all the time in book publishing, including back ground colors, but different applications handle that styling differently. Without getting into too deep of details, in Adobe InDesign the background color of a header wouldn't be an issue because of the way a background would need to be generated (hint: InDesign does not have a background color property for paragraph or character styles so under- or over-lines are used). You are just going to have to get crafty working around Pages' current behavior. –  Philip Regan Jun 27 '11 at 19:16

I am assuming that you are using paragraph styles. What you want to do is add space before one of the headings and then redefine the style to match the changes you have made.

Step by step:

  1. Put the cursor in one of your headers. I suggest not the first one, because you won't notice what you are doing.
  2. Show the inspector.
  3. In the "Text" section of the inspector, give the appropriate "Before Paragraph" spacing.

    Inspector

  4. Open the "Styles Drawer"

  5. Click the triangle next to the style that you are using (e.g. Heading 1) and click "Redefine Style from Selection."

    Context Menu

  6. Use the same heading style for all of your headings in the document.

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Unfortunately, I'm using a background colour for the heading and increasing the spacing before the paragraph will only increase the size of that background, it won't create a space between it and the previous paragraph like I'm showing in the screenshot. –  user2113 Jun 27 '11 at 15:22
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Sorry, that makes my answer not helpful to you. One work-around I can think of now is to make a copy the "body" style and call it "Last paragraph style". Then add space "After Paragraph" of the new style. Then apply this style to the last paragraph of each section. But this is hack-y and a little annoying to keep up. You would get consistency, however. –  Nathan Grigg Jun 27 '11 at 15:47

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