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View Diary: I'm an Expert., and I Say They're Not Forged (139 comments)

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  •  asdf (4.00)
    I was in highschool in the ice age (1970s) and typing was required, which included correct formatting.

    One of the first things you were taught was to set a center line.  This was used to set starting points for dates and salutations, as well as used for titled or centered remarks. You simply tabbed to your center line, and spelled the line out in your head while you hit the backspace for every other letter - when you got to the end of the phrase, you started typing.  Voila,  a perfectly centered title, with barely any thought.  Absolutely standard.

    By the time I was out of college and looking for my first job, it was standard procedure to be given a typing test.  The person giving the test would present you with a typewriter (usually an IBM selectric II) with all settings removed and a formal business letter with a subject heading.

    You had about three minutes to reproduce the letter as shown, without error, and all correct spacing.  It wasn't unusual for the tester to check to see what check when you were done to see what tab and margin settings you had set.  

    By the way, I've never been a secretary, though I've always found typing useful and necessary.  To this day it drives me nuts that Microsoft word only places three lines between the date and the address on a letter.  It should be four.  I only mention this because typing format in the 1960s and 1970s was a big deal.  I am not suprised at all that a non professional typer (like me) from that time period would know how to center the subject line.

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