When to bold

Subject: When to bold
From: "Mark L. Levinson" <markl -at- gilian -dot- com>
To: Sarbing -at- ITCCanada -dot- com
Date: Wed, 23 Feb 2000 16:03:35 +0200

I agree with Tom that in a normally structured organization
you shouldn't need to adapt your style to QA's aesthetic
preferences. But not needing to obey doesn't mean not
listening. QA can have some good aesthetic ideas, just
as anyone can. And QA should have something to say about
your documentation's quality if only from the standpoint of
clarity, or what's the Q stand for?

That said... How you distinguish commands from the rest
of the language depends partly on the command names. If
the command names can't possibly be mistaken for normal
English, I see no harm in leaving them in regular body
type. But if they resemble regular English words so
that there's a chance they could blend into the sentence
and get misunderstood, then you can either buffer them
with a little explanation ("the Save command") or set
them apart typographically be it with bold or with an
alternative font or whatever.

Personally, I think that the best typographic distinction
is one that is clear when the reader hits it but is not
so obtrusive as to jump out at whoever is glancing at the
page as a whole. (I know that some other writers, though,
like the idea that the commands jump out at the reader
from the page, letting the reader know which of them the
page discusses...)

Mark L. Levinson - markl -at- gilian -dot- com - Herzlia, Israel

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