RE: Numbering the headings. What is the point?

Subject: RE: Numbering the headings. What is the point?
From: "Backer, Corinne" <CBacker -at- glhec -dot- org>
To: "'techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com'" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 21 Oct 1999 10:05:19 -0500

I personally number my headings, as I *do* think it helps the reader know
where to find things (it's not so much so they know where they are - it's to
help cross referencing). But, we've had this discussion too, and some people
don't like numbering.

It's really up to your reader - and if you don't have any data that says
numbering helps, it's really up to you. BUT if you don't provide numbered
sections, I think it's absolutely crucial to implement AUTO page numbered
cross references. Otherwise, the reader has to flip back to the TOC, then to
the correct section, every time you reference a heading. And I think they
would object to that.

My .02.
Corinne Backer

-----Original Message-----
From: John David Hickey [mailto:dave -at- toonboom -dot- com]
Sent: Thursday, October 21, 1999 9:54 AM
Subject: Numbering the headings. What is the point?


My first draft of a section of the manual I'm working on has been reviewed
and the comments are starting to trickle back.

One of the suggestions I intend to fight is to number the headings (1.1,
1.2.1, Management thinks would help the reader remember where they
are in the procedure.

It's suitable for engineering documents where the topics may not necessarily
flow from one to the other in an overly-obvious logic. This numbering style
can be useful if you have many sub-sections and the documents are long and

However, I find this numbering unnecessary and clunky, and I don't think
that if the reader really is lost, knowing that they are in section
will help them find themselves.
My manual is task-based and I've grouped the topics together so that the
information flows smoothly. Each major section rarely exceeds 15 pages, I
use a maximum of four heading levels (Heading 1 being the title of a
chapter), and the entire book averages out to about 80 to 100 pages. The
audience is not technically oriented (studio animators for 2D cartoons).

Are there other arguments I could be making to defend an non-numbering
Heading style? I really really don't want this to pass...
Be seeing you,

John David Hickey
Grand Poohbah of Documentation
ToonBoom Technologies
Montreal, Quebec, Canada eh?
pg: 514-205-9209

They say the pen is mightier than the sword.
But if you miss a deadline, you'd better bring the sword.
Don't confuse my opinions with my employer's.
Each exists in blissful ignorance of the other.

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