Re: italics in manuals

Subject: Re: italics in manuals
From: Mike Bygrave <bygravem -at- INTUITIVE -dot- CO -dot- UK>
Date: Fri, 17 May 1996 10:30:00 +-100

>>Any opinions regarding the use of italics in end-user manuals?<<

I tend to use italics to mark references and names in my documentation.
However, IMHO there are no set rules - where and when you use bold and
italic text is largely down to your own judgment on style. The main
thing that I would say is that - as long as you use italics sensibly and
consistently - you can use them wherever you like. However, I'm sure
there are some structuralists out there who are prepared to shoot me
down on this one.

With regard to your other message:

>>Can anyone tell me if they have either produced a survey or seen the
>>results of a survey comparing left and full justification of text in end-user
>>manuals? I was taught in one of my Technical Writing classes that
>>using full justification was considered to be a less effective method
>>of presenting instruction.

IMHO, the use of full justification is a balance between line length and
hyphenation. Or, to put it another way, it is often a balance between
aesthetic quality and readability. In most 'normal' applications, I
think that left-justified text looks more interesting on a full-width

Incidentally, the opinions I have expressed above are based upon 'true'
English (as in that which you get in England, where I'm from). Some of
the finer (and, indeed, courser) points of grammar will differ in
American English. I noted recently that a discussion arose around
whether a full stop (period) should be placed inside or outside of
quotation marks. In English, if the full stop is being used to denote
that end of the sentence which contains the quote, it should always
appear outside the marks - even if the quote is a complete sentence

Mike Bygrave - Technical Writer
bygravem -at- intuitive -dot- co -dot- uk
"1966 was a great year for English
football - Eric Cantona was born."

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