RE: Heading Hierarchy for a Complex Manual

Subject: RE: Heading Hierarchy for a Complex Manual
From: "Neumann, Eileen" <ENeuman -at- franklintempleton -dot- ca>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 7 Nov 2005 12:23:38 -0500

Hi Kirk,

I think you need to keep in mind that good styles will be different for online than for print. I believe the Chicago Manual focuses on print. Underlining anything is not recommended online, as the reader can confuse this with a link.
As well, my preference would be for a greater difference in point size between heading levels. 14 pt seems pretty small for heading 1, and doesn't leave much room for differentiating between levels. My preference only...


-----Original Message-----
From: bounce-techwr-l-177285 -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com [mailto:bounce-techwr-l-177285 -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On Behalf Of Kirk Turner
Sent: Monday, November 07, 2005 12:16 PM
Subject: Heading Hierarchy for a Complex Manual

I am in the process of editing a very long and complex manual. I am
writing the style guide, and I am on the section on heading hierarchy.
Except for the unwieldy APA guidelines, I haven't found any guidance on
the subject. I have the Chicago Manual of Style guidelines, but I don't
see any examples or suggestions that relate to what I am doing. But I
used what was in the Chicago Manual of Style anyway and came up with
these levels of heading (this is for an online manual):

. The first level heading will be Verdana, 14 pt., upper and lower
case, underlined and centered.

. The second level will be Verdana, 14 pt., centered, uppercase and

. The third level will be Verdana, 12 pt., flush left, uppercase and
lowercase and underlined.

. The fourth level heading will be Verdana, 12 pt., one tab from left
and capitalized as it would be in a sentence.

. The fifth level of heading will be Verdana 12 pt., two tabs from the
left and underlined. End this heading with a period and begin the first
sentence of the body text for this heading on the same line as the

Does this sound right? Is the Chicago Manual of Style a good reference
for a complicated technical manual? I have an example using it on paper,
and it looks odd to me. Most of my editing jobs have been for technical
journals. I hate to question the venerable Chicago Manual of Style, but
this looks odd. Is there a more authoritative source for technical
manuals? Have I interpreted the Chicago heading hierarchy correctly?
Maybe it is just fear of failure clouding my vision. Any guidance would
be greatly appreciated.

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