Internal Chapter TOCs

Subject: Internal Chapter TOCs
From: Nancy Allison <maker -at- verizon -dot- net>
To: TECHWR-L -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Fri, 20 Apr 2007 09:48:21 -0500 (CDT)

Hi, everyone.

I'm working on an installation manual that contains many small procedures. I've grouped these procedures where it made logical sense to do so, but there are still many of them. As a result, each chapter ends up with a lot of level 1 headings.

For the rest of the documentation set for this product, I've started each chapter with a 1- or 2-sentence summary of the scope, and then said, "This chapter contains the following sections" and provided a bulleted list of the level 1 headings. Most chapters have had 4 to 6 headings, so the list has been a succinct way to provide a clearer picture of the chapter's scope.

But the chapters in this doc contain many, many small procedures, even after they've been grouped logically. The bulleted lists can contain 10 or 12 entries. It does not make sense to chop the chapters in half, either, just so that each new chapter can contain 5 or 6 bulleted list items. (Many of the chapters are dedicated to installing the product on a particular e-commerce platform. One chapter per platform. Works well, except for this silly problem.)

I'm thinking I could go either way:

1. Eliminate the list. It's too long to be useful. Or,
2. Create a real internal TOC, with page numbers and leader dots. Since this is the most technical guide of the doc set, it makes sense that it would be formatted in a more formal way.

I'm leaning toward #2. I do think that these internal lists at the start of a chapter contribute something useful . . . but I'm willing to be persuaded otherwise, or bowled over by a solution I haven't even considered.

What are your thoughts?



Create HTML or Microsoft Word content and convert to Help file formats or
printed documentation. Features include support for Windows Vista & 2007
Microsoft Office, team authoring, plus more.

Now shipping: Help &amp; Manual 4 with RoboHelp(r) import! New editor,
full Unicode support. Create help files, web-based help and PDF in up
to 106 languages with Help &amp; Manual:

You are currently subscribed to TECHWR-L as archive -at- web -dot- techwr-l -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.


Previous by Author: Table punctuation
Next by Author: Safari at O'Reilly books?
Previous by Thread: OT: Geeky Friday Humor
Next by Thread: Re: Internal Chapter TOCs

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

Sponsored Ads