RE: Paragraph numbering?

Subject: RE: Paragraph numbering?
From: "Jonathan West" <jwest -at- mvps -dot- org>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 27 Nov 2006 15:21:52 -0000

Geoff Hart said

> I'm not convinced that saying
> "look in the section Methods, Applying for a court date, in Montreal"
> is any less effective or efficient than "look in section 3.1.3", but
> I have nothing other than opinion to support that skepticism.

I would suggest that looking up a cross-reference based on the number is far
more efficient than the name, especially in a longer document, because the
numbering is sequential.

You can make a decent guess at where you should open the document based on
the clause number, and instantly see (from the clause numbers on the page
you have opened) in which direction you are out. Therefore getting to the
correct clause is a matter of successive refinement that takes only a few

If you don't already know where "Methods, Applying for a court date, in
Montreal" is, you have to look it up in the Table of Contents (which is not
ordered alphabetically) or the index (if the document happens to have one,
and if this item happens to have been indexed in the way you have
described), and then you look up the page number. The process of getting to
the right page based on the page number is pretty much the same as getting
to the right page based on the section number, but you have had to make an
additional lookup to get to the point where you have a page number to find.

If the document is only going to be available electronically, then the
cross-reference can be turned into a hyperlink and so made easier to look
up. This reduces but doesn't eliminate the advantage of numbered sections.
But there are plenty of documents which are still primarily paper-based, and
if readers are often going to need to look up cross-references within the
document rather than reading it sequentially, then I would recommend using
numbered headings.

Jonathan West


WebWorks ePublisher Pro for Word features support for every major Help
format plus PDF, HTML and more. Flexible, precise, and efficient content
delivery. Try it today!

Easily create HTML or Microsoft Word content and convert to any popular Help file format or printed documentation. Learn more at

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 admin -at- techwr-l -dot- com -dot- Visit for more resources and info.


Paragraph numbering?: From: Geoff Hart

Previous by Author: RE: User feedback? (was 5 users in a room), Take II
Next by Author: RE: Paragraph numbering? (take II)
Previous by Thread: Re: Paragraph numbering?
Next by Thread: Paragraph numbering? (take II)

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

Sponsored Ads