Consistency in headings

Subject: Consistency in headings
From: "Peffley, Jamie" <Jamie -dot- Peffley -at- sage -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 22 Mar 2006 11:10:05 -0700

I was taught to word headings as gerunds and to be consistent: Using the
Whatsis, Working with Thingies, Creating a Whosit. We have employed this
throughout our documentation, sometimes be very creative for non-action type
topics to have a gerund (Understanding Zoobles). Recently my team of writers
and I learned (possibly through an STC seminar? Or through a Tech Writing
course one of my writers was taking) that this was old-school, and you
shouldn't force topics into a non-action, gerund syntax. So instead of
Understanding Zoobles, I could just say...Zoobles. Possibly a more concrete
example would help....instead of an overview topic: Understanding
Synchronization Between Your Desktop PC and PDA, we'd have something like:
Synchronization Between Your Desktop PC and PDA (and before you say, why not
Synchronizing Your PC and PDA, it's because this is an overview and the
procedural topic is called Synchronizing....). Don't get too hung up on the

Now when I read through the TOC, though, I'm a little put off by the lack of
consistency between headings. How do you all handle this? Do you use gerunds
for procedural topics and non-gerunds for overview or conceptual topics? All
gerunds? Whatever seems to work?

Thanks for your input!

Jamie Peffley
ACT! Documentation Manager
(480) 627-3595
Sage Software, SB Inc.


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