Re: "Nested" Headings

Subject: Re: "Nested" Headings
From: dmbrown -at- brown-inc -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 27 Mar 2002 17:08:59 -0800

Ellen Vanrenen wrote:
> I have a colleague, who was an excellent technical writer in a former
> life, who has suggested that I change my template to use "nested"
> headings... I like the Heading style more or less parallel.
> Readers would see a symmetrical page.
> I'd like your opinions, please.

I'm with you! I wouldn't use indentation of headings, with or without duplicating the indentation in the text as one respondent suggested (which sounds even worse).

Figure out how may levels of heading you need; then make the lowest level the same size as your body text, the next level a couple of points larger, and so on, up to level 1. Use a different but complementary font for the headings, and keep everything flush left.

For example, if your body text is 10-point Times, and you need four levels of heading, you'd use 10-point bold Arial for level 4, 12-point bold Arial for level 3, 14-point bold Arial for level 2, and 16-point bold Arial for level 1.

If I needed a fifth level (rare), I'd drop bold from the level-4 definition. For a (highly unusual) sixth level, I'd add italics to level 5. Of course, you can use these treatments for levels 3 and 4 if you want to keep level one to a smaller size.

Finally, the space above headings should increase a little as the font size grows.

Tip: For convenience, define level 1 first, and make each ensuing level a variation of the one "above" it. That way, you can change all at once by redefining level 1.


David M. Brown - Brown Inc.
dmbrown -at- brown-inc -dot- com

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"Nested" Headings: From: Ellen Vanrenen

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