RE: Heading Hierarchy for a Complex Manual

Subject: RE: Heading Hierarchy for a Complex Manual
From: "Claire Conant" <Claire -dot- Conant -at- Digeo -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 7 Nov 2005 09:30:28 -0800

Hi Kirk,

Just a couple points to start. First of all, if it is an online manual,
I would advise against underlining any headings. Underlines typically
represent a linked reference, so that could confuse the reader. They'd
get frustrated trying to click it and find it inactive.

I would also advise against centering any heading except for a cover
title, especially if this is going online. To me, it looks odd, and
makes the eye move around too much. Also, I'm wondering why you have the
first and second level headings in the same font size. Wouldn't you want
to differentiate them by a slightly smaller font for the second level

At my company, our heading one is 18 pt, heading two is 16 pt, and
heading three is 14 pt. Our body text is indented 1.0 inches, and
headings two and three align with body text. We typically don't go lower
than three heading levels, but your style may differ. We also don't use
numbered headings unless for something like our software development kit
or technical specifications.

A lot of your style may depend on other technical manuals your company
already has published. I would look there for some guidance. Or you
could look at other samples of published technical manuals and adapt
your style to follow, but tweaked for your own company image.

Hope this helps,

Claire Conant
Technical Editor


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