Re: Pros or Cons of Section Numbering

Subject: Re: Pros or Cons of Section Numbering
From: Robert Plamondon <robert -at- PLAMONDON -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 30 Aug 1996 16:23:33 PDT

Section numbering illuminates the logical structure of the document (if
any). This is a Good Thing. With simple documents covering simple
subjects, section numbering is unnecessary. You don't need numbered
sections in a chapter called, "How to Make Toast in Your Toaster."
On the other hand, you can't turn "Periodic Maintenence of the
Falcon Missile" into a user-friendly toaster manual by omitting the
section headings.

Good layout does not remove the need for numbered sectioning, except
in short works. In many manuals, a subsubsection can go on for many
pages, and the reader will have no easy way to regain context if,
for example, he arrives there via a cross-reference or the index.
Scanning back for the next-higher-level numbered head is something
readers know how to do with numbered sections, but it's hard for them
to see the difference between different levels of headings if there
are more than two or three of them, and maybe not even then.

-- Robert
Robert Plamondon, President/Managing Editor, High-Tech Technical Writing, Inc.
36475 Norton Creek Road * Blodgett * Oregon * 97326
robert -at- plamondon -dot- com * (541) 453-5841 * Fax: (541) 453-4139

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