Nested bullets - how many levels deep do you go?

Subject: Nested bullets - how many levels deep do you go?
From: Geoff Hart <ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca>
To: TECHWR-L Writing <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>, David Downing <DavidDowning -at- users -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 13 Feb 2009 14:02:37 -0500

David Downing wondered: <<We routinely use second-level nested bullets
in our documentation, but our policy is to never take it beyond a
second level. However, there have been times when I saw a need to go
to a third level... I've been told that when that happens, I need to
figure out some way of leveling out the hierarchy so I can keep the
list to two nesting levels. (I think one of my editors once suggested
that if I felt the need to go to a third level or beyond, I was

I have a lot of sympathy for your editor's attitude. If you include
numbered steps as level one of the "bullets", and true bullets as
level 2, that's about as far as I'm comfortable going. Dive any deeper
than that and you'll be moving beyond the point at which the hierarchy
is easily comprehensible.

Possibly you should send us an example of your problem and see if we
can come up with a better solution? For example, those few times I've
been tempted to go to three levels of bullets, I found that replacing
the 2nd and 3rd levels with a two column table solved the problem
neatly. In many cases, the 3rd level turned out to be options that
described the 2nd level rather than something that truly required a
3rd level.

Geoff Hart (
ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca / geoffhart -at- mac -dot- com
***Now available*** _Effective onscreen editing_


ComponentOne Doc-To-Help 2009 is your all-in-one authoring and publishing
solution. Author in Doc-To-Help's XML-based editor, Microsoft Word or
HTML and publish to the Web, Help systems or printed manuals.

Help & Manual 5: The complete help authoring tool for individual
authors and teams. Professional power, intuitive interface. Write
once, publish to 8 formats. Multi-user authoring and version control!

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.

Please move off-topic discussions to the Chat list, at:

Nested bullets - how many levels deep do you go?: From: Downing, David

Previous by Author: Meetings -- ARRGGHHH!!!
Next by Author: How to estimate documentation needs?
Previous by Thread: Re: Nested bullets - how many levels deep do you go?
Next by Thread: RE: Nested bullets - how many levels deep do you go?

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

Sponsored Ads