Pros or Cons of Section Numbering

Subject: Pros or Cons of Section Numbering
From: "Wiley, Karen P." <WileyKP1 -at- SUBTECH1 -dot- SPACENET -dot- JHUAPL -dot- EDU>
Date: Fri, 30 Aug 1996 09:11:00 EDT

Mary Anthony poses the question about section numbering. My thoughts on this
are that section numbering serves a useful funcion, especially in long,
complex documents. It can get carried away, of course, where every paragraph
has a new number, and sections go 8 digits or so (which can be more
confusing than no numbers at all). But if you need to refer to
other sections it is much more useful to have that section number rather than
saying 3 paragraphs previous or the like.

However, in commercial documents the same thing may be accomplished with
effective section headings to which one could refer. I most always use
section numbering, except in journal articles and such where the specs are
different, but that is really the nature of our business here - in dealing
with the navy, etc. Even in commercial proposals we have often found it
useful; in proposals of any kind one often has to provide a cross-reference
index (much too hard to do without numbers). I think it is all what works for
your audience (customer); what he expects and thinks looks good. It also
depends on the complexity of your document and your need to direct the reader
to other parts of that document.

Karen Wiley
karen_wiley -at- jhuapl -dot- edu

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