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Swing Chapter 20. (Advanced topics) Constructing a Word Processor. Easy for reading, Click here!

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Swing Chapter 20. (Advanced topics) Constructing a Word Processor. Easy for reading, Click here!

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Page: 4/9 

Previous Page Previous Page (3/9) - Next Page (5/9) Next Page
Subpages: 1. Word Processor: part I - Introducing RTF
2. Word Processor: part II - Managing fonts
3. Word Processor: part III - Colors and images
4. Word Processor: part IV - Working with styles
5. Word Processor: part V - Clipboard and undo/redo
6. Word Processor: part VI - Advanced font mangement
7. Word Processor: part VII - Paragraph formatting
8. Word Processor: part VIII - Find and replace
9. Word Processor: part IX - Spell checker [using JDBC and SQL]

20.4  Word Processor: part IV - Working with styles

Using Styles to manage a set of attributes as a single named entity can greatly simplify text editing. The user only has to apply a known style to a selected region of text rather than selecting all appropriate text attributes from the provided toolbar components. By adding a combo box allowing the choice of styles, we can not only save the user time and effort, but we can also provide more uniform text formatting throughout the resulting document (or potentially set of documents). In this section we'll add style management to our word processor. We'll also show how it is possible to create a new style, modify an existing style, or reapply a style to modified text.

Figure 20.4 RTF word processor application with Styles management.

<<file figure20-4.gif>>

The Code: WordProcessor.java

see \Chapter20\4

import java.awt.*;

import java.awt.event.*;

import java.io.*;

import java.util.*;

import javax.swing.*;

import javax.swing.text.*;

import javax.swing.event.*;

import javax.swing.border.*;

import javax.swing.text.rtf.*;

public class WordProcessor extends JFrame


  // Unchanged code from section 20.3

  protected JComboBox m_cbStyles;

  public WordProcessor() {

    // Unchanged code from section 20.3





  protected JMenuBar createMenuBar() {

    // Unchanged code from section 20.3

    // The following line is added to the end of the

    // actionNew and actionOpen actionPerformed() methods:


    //   showStyles();


    // (see source code; these methods are not shown here

    //  to conserve space)

    // Unchanged code from section 20.3

    JMenu mFormat = new JMenu("Format");


    JMenu mStyle = new JMenu("Style");



    item = new JMenuItem("Update");


    lst = new ActionListener() {

      public void actionPerformed(ActionEvent e) {

        String name = (String)m_cbStyles.getSelectedItem();

        Style style = m_doc.getStyle(name);

        int p = m_monitor.getCaretPosition();

        AttributeSet a = m_doc.getCharacterElement(p).








    item = new JMenuItem("Reapply");


    lst = new ActionListener() {

      public void actionPerformed(ActionEvent e) {

        String name = (String)m_cbStyles.getSelectedItem();

        Style style = m_doc.getStyle(name);







    // Unchanged code from section 20.3



    m_cbStyles = new JComboBox();




    lst = new ActionListener() {

      public void actionPerformed(ActionEvent e) {

        if (m_skipUpdate || m_cbStyles.getItemCount()==0)


        String name = (String)m_cbStyles.getSelectedItem();

        int index = m_cbStyles.getSelectedIndex();

        int p = m_monitor.getCaretPosition();

        // New name entered

        if (index == -1) {


          Style style = m_doc.addStyle(name, null);

          AttributeSet a = m_doc.getCharacterElement(p).





        // Apply the selected style

        Style currStyle = m_doc.getLogicalStyle(p);

        if (!currStyle.getName().equals(name)) {

          Style style = m_doc.getStyle(name);






    getContentPane().add(m_toolBar, BorderLayout.NORTH);

    return menuBar;


  protected void showAttributes(int p) {

    // Unchanged code from section 20.2

    Style style = m_doc.getLogicalStyle(p);

    name = style.getName();


    m_skipUpdate = false;


  // Unchanged code from section 20.3

  protected void showStyles() {

    m_skipUpdate = true;

    if (m_cbStyles.getItemCount() > 0)


    Enumeration en = m_doc.getStyleNames();

    while (en.hasMoreElements()) {

      String str = en.nextElement().toString();



    m_skipUpdate = false;


  public static void main(String argv[]) {

    new WordProcessor();



// Unchanged code from section 20.3

Understanding the Code

Class WordProcessor

One new instance variable has been added:

JComboBox m_cbStyles: toolbar component to manage styles.

Note that a new custom method showStyles() (see below) is now called after creating a new document or after loading an existing one.

The createMenuBar() method creates a new menu with two new menu items for updating and reapplying styles, and a new combo box for style selection. The editable styles combobox, m_cbStyles, will hold a list of styles declared in the current document (we will see how this component is populated below). It receives an ActionListener which checks whether the currently selected style name is present among the existing styles. If not, we add it to the drop-down list and retrieve a new Style instance for the selected name using StyledDocument's addStyle() method. This new Style instance is associated with the text attributes of the character element at the current caret position. Otherwise, if the given style name is known already, we retrieve the selected style using StyledDocument's getStyle() method and apply it to the selected text by passing it to our custom setAttributeSet() method (as we did in previous examples when assigning text attributes).

An ambiguous situation occurs when the user selects a style for text which already has the same style, but whose attributes have been modified. The user may either want to update the selected style using the selected text as a base, or reapply the existing style to the selected text. To resolve this situation we need to ask the user what to do. We chose to add two menu items which allow the user to either update or reapply the current selection.

Note: In ambiguous situations such as this, making the decision to allow users to choose between two options, or enforcing a single behavior, can be a tough one to make. In general, the less experienced the target audience is, the less choices that audience should need to become familiar with. In this case we would suggest that a selected style override all attributes of the selected text.

The menu items to perform these tasks are titled "Update" and "Reapply," and are grouped into the "Style" menu. The "Style" menu is added to the "Format" menu. The "Update" menu item receives an ActionListener which retrieves the text attributes of the character element at the current caret position, and assigns them to the selected style. The "Reapply" menu item receives an ActionListener which applies the selected style to the selected text (one might argue that this menu item would be more appropriately  titled "Apply" -- the implications are ambiguous either way).

Our showAttributes() method receives additional code to manage the new styles combobox, m_cbStyles, when the caret moves through the document. It retrieves the style corresponding to the current caret position with StyledDocument's getLogicalStyle() method, and selects the appropriate entry in the combobox.

The new showStyles() method is called to populate the m_cbStyles combobox with the style names from a newly created or loaded document. First it removes the current content of the combobox if it is not empty (another work around due to the fact that if you call removeAllItems() on an empty JComboBox, an exception will be thrown). An Enumeration of style names is then retrieved with StyledDocument's getStyleNames() method, and these names are added to the combobox.

Running the Code

Open an existing RTF file, and note how the styles combobox is populated by the style names defined in this document. Verify that the selected style is automatically updated while the caret moves through the document. Select a portion of text and select a different style from the styles combobox. Note how all text properties are updated according to the new style.

Try selecting a portion of text and modifying its attributes (for instance, foreground color). Type a new name in the styles combobox and press Enter. This will create a new style which can be applied to any other document text.

Note: New styles will not be saved along with an RTF document under the current version of RTFEditorKit.

Try modifying an attribute of a selected region of text (e.g. the font size) and select the "Style|Update" menu item. This will update the style to incorporate the newly selected attributes. Apply the modified style to another portion of text and verify that it applies according to the updated style.

Note: When a style is updated, any regions of text that had been applied with this style do not automatically get updated accordingly. This is another ambiguity that must be considered, depending on what the user expects and what level or experience the target audience has. In this case we assume that the user only wants selected text to be affected by a style update.

Now try modifying some attributes of a portion of selected text and then select the "Style|Reapply" menu item. This will restore the original text attributes associated with the appropriate style.

Note: Recall that we are using one StyleContext instance, m_context, for all documents. This object collects all document styles. These styles are always available when a new document is created or loaded. We might develop a document template mechanism by serializing this StyleContext instance into a file and restoring it with the appropriate document.

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