help for a (very wordy!) future minister

sohappy2's picture

Hey All...
I have never been disappointed by this forum's brilliance on all things typography and page design. Hoping someone has some time and desire to help with this toughie. I really don't know a ton about this, and this is quite a practical situation...

The document (attached) is for my final exam as a future minister. I just received word that the document addresses all of the requirements, but needs to be only one single page. There seem to be no rules about condensing, font size, etc. but it has to be readable (and, I would add, I would like for it not to look crazy and overwhelming compared to other candidates more consise statements.)

So... the issues:

1. What are the best ways to condense this so that it is still readable and doesn't look anxious? (I can play with the space between the letters, font size, margins, and all of those other things normal open office/microsoft users know how to do... If there's a really spectacular font that will help do the trick I would consider buying it and adding to my collection...)

2. If there's no way around cutting some text, how much would you suggest? (Obviously the easiest route to go is to cut some text, I really hesitate to do that, however, because I know the "content" on this document will help me pass the exam (according to the person who read it.)

What to do! What to do! Please help!! I'll be more than happy to help YOU with something "ministerish" in exchange, ha ha :)

I'm attaching it in both .pdf and word. It might look goofy in word on your computer, depending on if you own Sabon or not.

Thanks so much in advance!

Traci "the wordy minister."
PS the line numbers on the side have to be included so that the questioners can make reference to them. ("In line X you say...")

traci smith statement of faith.pdf55.09 KB
estatement of faith.doc21.5 KB
jlt's picture


I'd suggest the following: section headings in small caps of the same point size, with the explicatory text immediately following, beginning on the same line (this will save 11 lines at least);

break the text up into two columns, although due to the numbering this might waste more space than it frees up, and if so, nevermind (there are ways around that though; labeling columns L and R and having the same column of numbers apply to both, but that might get complicated);

get rid of the extra (double) spaces after periods and before the beginning of a new sentence;

reduce the size of the right and top margins, and

very slightly narrower type, although this you may not need.

And watch your H&Js.


jlt : : rnrmf!

mili's picture

I just experimented a bit, and by reducing the size of the text to 10 pt and flowing it into 2 columns, nearly all of the text fitted in. And this was without touching hyphenation.

Others will, no doubt, have better ideas.

Gus Winterbottom's picture

At last, an occasion to de-lurk. I was able to fit your draft into one page without major changes to the content or layout.

Regardless of what you end up doing, though, there’s an important point: in Word, the line number formatting is based on the Normal style. It looks like you manually applied Sabon to each paragraph. Therefore, the line numbers in your draft are in 12 point Times New Roman (TNR), while the text is in 12 point Sabon. Whichever font and point size you end up using, you should make the appropriate changes to the Normal style and then use Normal style for all text except the footnotes, which use the Footnote Text style, and the superscript footnote references, which use the Footnote Reference style.

This is what I did to get to one page:

-- Set the top and bottom margins to 0.5 inches and the sides to 0.7 inches. This leaves you a little room to play with; I can make the top margins as small as 0.35 inches on most printers. I wouldn’t make the side margins much smaller than 0.7 inches, though.

-- Changed the Normal and Footnote Reference styles to 10.5 point TNR and the Footnote Text style to 10 point TNR (see below for other fonts I tried). Used single line spacing, and for the Normal style only, used six points spacing after.

-- Set the footnote spacing to zero before and after (set via the Footnote Text style).

-- Deleted the six point spacing after the footnote separator (the horizontal line at the bottom of the page; you have to be in Normal view instead of Print Layout view to do this).

-- Reapplied the modified styles to the text, footnote references, and footnotes.

-- Deleted extra carriage returns.

-- Ran the paragraph titles in with the body text and used a spaced en dash as a separator; a colon would work, too. Made the paragraph titles bold.

-- Manually changed the spacing after the title (statement of faith) to twelve points.

-- Manually changed the spacing after the last paragraph (a concluding prayer) to three points.

-- Deleted “I believe that” from the start of each paragraph and rewrote the subsequent text accordingly. I didn’t delete “I believe that” when it occurred someplace other than the first sentence of a paragraph. If the opening "I believe that" is a requirement, you'll have to do more editing on other text.

-- Made some minor edits to paragraphs that ended up having one or two words in the last line.

After I got the text to fit on one page using TNR, I tried some other fonts. I’m not saying these are good, just that they worked, and will give you starting points for using other fonts:

Classical Garamond (Bitstream clone of Sabon): 10 point text and footnote references, 9.5 point footnote text, line spacing set to exactly 11.8, content editing needed to eliminate some one or two word lines.

Perpetua: 12 point text and footnote references, 11.5 point footnote text, line spacing set to exactly 11.3, content editing needed to eliminate some one or two word lines.

Dante: 11 point text and footnote references, 10.5 point footnote text, line spacing set to exactly 11.8, no content editing needed.

Kristina Drake's picture

Hi Traci,

I would not repeat "I believe". Put it at the top and then list everything as points of your beliefs. This should save some space and not remove any content.

"I believe that
1. the sky is blue.
2. the leaves are green."

and so on.


sohappy2's picture

thanks everyone. i think i got it to one page. it looks a little crowded, but definitely do-able... you all are the best.

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