RE: text in tables -- smaller than or same size as regular body text

Subject: RE: text in tables -- smaller than or same size as regular body text
From: "Combs, Richard" <richard -dot- combs -at- Polycom -dot- com>
To: "Milan Davidovic" <milan -dot- lists -at- gmail -dot- com>, "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 17 Mar 2009 14:34:16 -0600

Milan Davidovic wrote:

> I'm looking at a user's manual. I do not have access to the original
> author and therefore have to guess at their intentions.
> Looking at the paragraph styles, I see that the various table body
> (i.e. not heading) styles are in a smaller point size than the regular
> body style.
> In looking at other books I have close at hand, I see only table body
> text at about the same size (i.e. not obviously smaller, though I
> didn't get a point ruler out to be sure) as regular body text.
> Any thoughts on why table body text should be smaller?

I think it's fairly common. We use 10-pt Book Antiqua for body text and
9-pt Arial for table text. Table headings are 9-pt Arial bold. I'm
rather aesthetically challenged, but I like the look of a sans serif
font in tables.

Tables often have relatively narrow columns (compared to body text), and
smaller text helps to minimize the number of lines with just a word or
two on them -- which can hinder readability as much or more than the
smaller font size.

My primary deliverables are PDFs, secondary are help files. In both
cases, we old fogies can (as Geoff noted) easily increase the size on
screen if we need to. :-) If your primary deliverables are hard copy,
smaller fonts are more of an issue. But 9 points is still (barely)
adequate, IMHO. Of course, my target audience is on average quite a bit
younger than me. Know your audience, right?


Richard G. Combs
Senior Technical Writer
Polycom, Inc.
richardDOTcombs AT polycomDOTcom
rgcombs AT gmailDOTcom


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text in tables -- smaller than or same size as regular body text: From: Milan Davidovic

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