Re: Gutters: Empty or Removed?

Subject: Re: Gutters: Empty or Removed?
From: "Bergen, Jane" <janeb -at- ANSWERSOFT -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 13 Mar 1998 09:01:06 -0600

Joe,

"Gutters" usually refers to the white space that will be used for hole
punching or binding. It is always on the inside (regardless of left or
right pages) and isn't just dead space. I think what you may mean is
just a wide left margin.

I like to use the wide left margin for tips, notes, etc. I usually put
them in at 8 point Arial and only very occasionally. If overdone, it can
be hard for the reader to navigate as it makes the page too busy and you
lose focus. Some manuals also use icons in this space when they are
explaining how/when to use the icon.

At any rate, white space in margins or anywhere else in your document
should be viewed as a TOOL and used to achieve a well-planned objective.
l personally find too much white space objectionable (such as tons of
empty space at the end of pages, simply because the author doesn't think
material should break across page breaks), though I've never seen anyone
else mention it.

If you're thinking of redesigning your page layout, I can suggest you
keep a clipbook. I go through software manuals from other software
programs and if I like a particular technique, I photocopy it and keep
them all in a three-ring binder called my "clipbook." Then I refer to it
once in awhile for inspiration.

Hope this helps,

Jane
Jane Bergen, Technical Writer,
AnswerSoft, Inc. Richardson, TX
(972) 997-8355
janeb -at- answersoft -dot- com


On Thursday, March 12, 1998 6:25 PM, joe malone [SMTP:joe -at- MANAGE -dot- COM]
wrote:
> I'm using a Frame template for my manuals that leaves a nice big
gutter
> on the page. The only problem is, it's empty. Not even the section
> titles or screens intrude (by my choice). In fact, even the headers
> respect it.
>
> Is this an embarrassment, being empty, or is the feel of white space
> sufficient justification for its existence? What are current popular
> items to put there? The manual is too simple for sidebars (or maybe
> not).
>
> A brief archive search for "gutters" turned up nothing.
>
> Thanks in advance...
>
> joe -at- manage -dot- com




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