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  1. #1
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    FONTS - MARGINS (MS Word 97)

    In the real business world, what Fonts and Margins do you use in Technical Documents as a general rule of thumb?

    I'm thinking about using:
    Body Text - Arial 12 pt
    Header-Footer - Arial 10 pt
    Section Titles -Chapter Titles -Headings
    (perhaps Book Antiqua or Times New Roman)?

    Margins:
    What do you generally set for Left Right Margins?
    1 inch, 2 inches...?

    Left Margin - Do always use Indents for Paragraphs?
    If so - do you use Positive Indents?
    How many inches?

    Top Bottom Margins? 2, 3 inches?
    Header Footer - inches from edge?
    Gutter - inches?

    Do you indent your Headings?
    If so, Center or Right-Justified? How many inches?

    Number and Bullet Lists - How far do you Indent inside the Normal Paragraph 1 inch?

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    Re: FONTS - MARGINS (MS Word 97)

    Having been a Technical Reviewer and having worked in the Technical world for a long time, I recommend:

    Body text: Arial 11 pt
    Header-Footer: Arial 10 pt
    Section titles-Chapter titles-Headings: Arial 11 pt (don't mix fonts within the same technical document)

    Margins: 1 inch top, bottom, sides
    No paragraph indents
    Single space between paragraphs
    Full justification
    Chapter headings centered, bolded, all caps
    Section headings left justified, bolded

    Bullets: 1/2" from left margin

    This is truly a matter of personal corporate style, but remember your audience. Technical documents are typically read by technical/science types who value conciseness, tight structure, and brevity.

  3. #3
    KTYorke
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    Re: FONTS - MARGINS (MS Word 97)

    I write manuals for end users... most of the things I've written for "techies" have all been in tables so there's not much room for different styles there.

    For the most part, I use Arial for all headings and captions and New Times Roman 12pt for text. No other fonts allowed other than Lucidia Console for "screen shots" of mainframe screens. (we take text captures of a mainframe screen rather than pictures because it takes up less space. In order to get the same look, we use Lucidia with a border.)

    Heading 1 is 24pt and justified right so that if the user wanted to flip through to find a chapter it's big enough to catch.
    All other headings are left justified with varying smaller sizes and indented justification. Heading 4 is used exclusively for procedures... this is indicated by an arrow bullet before the heading. I'll admit, it sounds like it looks awful, but it doesn't look all that bad... and it alerts the user that a procedure is directly following.

    Body text is always left justified with 6pts above and below... your styles should be set up so there is no need for any empty paragraph marks anywhere (except to separate tables).

    Our margins are .75" top and bottom and 1.25" inside and 1.13" outside. We have different Odd and Even pages and different first page because the pages will be printed double sided and bound.

    There are 2 sets of bullets. Bullet 1 and Bullet 2 are lined up to work with Body text and Bullet 1Procedure and Bullet 2Procedure align with procedure text.

    I also agree with rhconley that technical matter needs structure. There are a lot of things to keep in mind and all of this really depends on the look and feel of the document and how the finished version will look. I created the template our department now uses as standard for all the guides we work on. It is hard at first to try to anticipate every need of the writer, but if you think about the information that needs to be included it doesn't take that long.

    For example, the template I created has 41 different styles, including 6 headings, 4 bullets, 4 TOC levels and 3 types of table text styles, along with the other special things we need. This has accounted for just about anything any of our writers have thrown at me.

    hope this helps
    have fun

  4. #4
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    Re: FONTS - MARGINS (MS Word 97)

    In the real business world, the font is either Arial or Times Roman 12. Headers and Footers are usually 8 pt.
    Left and Right Margins are defaulted to 1.25, but 1" is better.
    Paragraphs are NOT indented; they are always in block form. Top and Bottom Margins are 1". Headers andn Footers and Gutters are defaulted; leave them alone. The best is to center the headings. Number and bullets lists are used from the toolbar and they automatically default how many inches they should be.
    Section Titles are Times New Roman usually.

  5. #5
    KTYorke
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    Re: FONTS - MARGINS (MS Word 97)

    <img src=/S/laugh.gif border=0 alt=laugh width=15 height=15> <img src=/S/bow.gif border=0 alt=bow width=15 height=15> Sorry about that Gary... I've never been good with math (forget conversions!) I just looked at what Word told me the margins were and printed it here... that's how I think I came up with it in the first place... played around until I found something I liked and that fit with everything else, then looked at Page Setup to see what it wound up as... <img src=/S/shrug.gif border=0 alt=shrug width=39 height=15>
    Thanks though <img src=/S/wink.gif border=0 alt=wink width=15 height=15>
    have fun

  6. #6
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    Re: FONTS - MARGINS (MS Word 97)

    Hi KT,

    Interesting info.
    I couldn't resist picking on one little thing, 'cause it's one of my biggest peeves with Word - your outside margins are almost certainly not 1.13 inches - but rather are 1.125 (1 1/8 inch) - it's just that Word displays 1.125 as 1.13.

    Just drives me up a tree! <img src=/S/aflame.gif border=0 alt=aflame width=15 height=15>
    3/8 inch = .375 inch - displays in Word as .38
    5/8 inch = .625 inch - displays in Word as .63
    etc. <img src=/S/hairout.gif border=0 alt=hairout width=31 height=23>

    Gary

  7. #7
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    Re: FONTS - MARGINS (MS Word 97)

    Hey, don't feel bad - I just had to go back and edit my original post - twice - to fix two numerical typos <img src=/S/blush.gif border=0 alt=blush width=15 height=15>

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