RE: Page Margin and Font Size Question

Subject: RE: Page Margin and Font Size Question
From: "Chinell, David F \(GE Infrastructure\)" <David -dot- Chinell -at- GE -dot- com>
To: "Dubin, David" <David -dot- Dubin -at- sage -dot- com>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 17 Jan 2006 10:15:23 -0500



For a single-column layout...

Top: 1.0 inches
Bottom: 1.2 inches
Left: 1.0 inches
Right: 1.0 inches
Gutter: 0.5 inches

To create a design by starting with the margins seems backwards to me. I think you should start by determining the body text face and size that are required for legibility, determine the length of 2-1/2 alphabets of that face and size, and use that length as the maximum body text column width. The remaining paper width can be assigned to margins or a sidebar area. You might also decide to go with multiple columns.

For a single-column layout, the printable area of our letter-sized page is six inches wide. This is divided into a four-inch body text column, a 1.8-inch side bar, and a 0.2-inch gutter between them.


All our headings are in a sans-serif font of some kind. All are set in a strong face or are bolded.

Chapter title: 16 pt, odd page, border 25% 6 pt rule above, 72pt after
Heading 1 (topic): 14 pt, new page, border 25% 3 pt rule above
Heading 2: 12 pt, left indent 2 inches, space before 24 pt
Heading 3: 10 pt, left indent 2 inches, space before 12 pt

I don't think more levels than this are helpful (or distinguishable without unacceptable typographic excesses). Heading 3 is visually equivalent in size to our body text. From there we work up with as slight an increase in emphasis as is required to distinguish levels.

Below Heading 3, which is on a separate line, we also use run-in headings. These are the same face and size, but run into the body text line, and are terminated with a colon.


Chapter titles start with an H3 paragraph that contains the chapter number only. These are right at the top of the column (I.E. 0 inches down from the top margin). The chapter title text is on the next line, but is separated from the chapter number para by 6 points of space before, the 6 point rule, then 6 points of padding between the rule and the title text. The H3 with the chapter number is aligned left with no indent. The chapter title is aligned right.

Our chapter is always followed by two H3s: Summary and Content. All together the chapter number, title, summary, and content make up the chapter page. No other text components appear on this page. Sometimes we put a light background image on the page.

A topic begins with an H1, and might continue with any style. Typically, this would be an H2 or Body Text (Normal). So the first Body Text para in a topic would start between 1/2 inches and 1 inch down from the top margin.

When the content of a topic continues to the next page, there is no space allotted between the top margin and whatever paragraph or table row appears at the top of the page.

I hope that answers all your questions.

David Chinell

GE Security
Technical Editor

T 941 739 4281
F 941 308 8124
E david -dot- chinell -at- ge -dot- com <mailto:david -dot- chinell -at- ge -dot- com> <>

8985 Town Center Parkway
Bradenton, FL 34202, USA
GE Security Inc.

Note: This message is intended only for the designated recipient.
It may contain confidential or proprietary information and may be
subject to the attorney-client privilege or other confidentiality
protections. If you are not a designated recipient, you may not
review, copy, or distribute this message. If you receive this in error,
please notify the sender by reply e-mail and delete this message.
Thank you.


Now Shipping -- WebWorks ePublisher Pro for Word! Easily create online
Help. And online anything else. Redesigned interface with a new
project-based workflow. Try it today!

Doc-To-Help 2005 now has RoboHelp Converter and HTML Source: Author
content and configure Help in MS Word or any HTML editor. No
proprietary editor! *August release.

You are currently subscribed to TECHWR-L as archive -at- infoinfocus -dot- com -dot-

To unsubscribe send a blank email to
techwr-l-unsubscribe -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
or visit

To subscribe, send a blank email to techwr-l-join -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com

Send administrative questions to lisa -at- techwr-l -dot- com -dot- Visit for more resources and info.

Previous by Author: Re: Online Help
Next by Author: RE: KWIC (was Re: Word Indexing using a Master Doc and having non-sequential pagination)
Previous by Thread: Re: Page Margin and Font Size Question
Next by Thread: Rhetoric and technical writing

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads