Use headings often
Which page would you rather read—this one, without headings?
Or this one—with headings?
Whenever you have anything longer than a page, you should probably use headings. (They work fine on less than a page, too!)
Use a bold, sans serif font
Normally use Arial, bold for your headings.
Arial is a sans serif font. Serifs are those little lines some typefaces have:
A sans serif font—like Arial—doesn't have those little lines.
The most common choices in today's business writing are:
Put more space above than below a heading
A heading should be visually part of what it's labeling. That's not what happens here:
Let's put more space above than below the headings:
Now the headings are part of what they're labeling. So always put more space above than below a heading.
Consider a “down style” heading
In the typewriter days, most headings had initial capitalization for all important words:
This Is an Up Style Heading
All those capital letters had a purpose then: there weren't a lot of ways, on a typewriter, to differentiate headings from body text. But with options on a computer such as bold, italic, variable vertical spacing, different fonts, etc., initial capitalization is no longer necessary.
So today, you can exercise your preference, if you wish, and dispense with all those capital letters:
This is a down style heading
I use down style headings in this Web site. I think they're easier to read.
Use at least two of each heading
Headings label parts. Notice that the word parts is plural. When your readers see a heading, they assume they're reading one of several parts. So be sure to have at least two of each type of heading.
Your next step
Now let's turn to bullets.
2007 by Edward P. Bailey