Use of Bold and Italic

Subject: Use of Bold and Italic
From: "Donna B. Doucette" <dbdoucette -at- BANDL -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 26 Feb 1997 10:16:00 -0400

M. Carr asked, "When do you use bold and italics in technical manuals
and online help systems?"

We produce instructions for users who enter information in both a
command line format and sets of entry fields. Many of these entries
involve variables. Many also require capital letters (because the
mainframe accepts only caps for various commands). And many of the
program names for the mainframe are in all caps. It makes emphasis a
challenge. So, in technical manuals, I use bold for heads and subheads
and, occasionally, for emphasis. Italics are restricted to the use of
variables within command structures. For online help, I avoid italics as
much as possible. Instead, I use bold for the commands and entries a
user must type or select, then rely on color and underlines to
distinguish the heads, subheads, emphasis.

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