7. Constructing Text

Typographic Conventions

Typographic conventions help a reader distinguish special uses of words. When you select typographic conventions for computer documentation, you have some decisions to make. These decisions are dependent upon the type of hardware or software that you are documenting.

Make sure that you consider these factors when selecting conventions:

    For example, documents about hardware or software that is compatible with Macintosh systems often follow conventions defined by Apple Computer, Inc.

Assigning Conventions to Text

There are no right or wrong typographic conventions, unless the type you choose is illegible or you mix too many fonts on a page. Most typography errors occur when writers do not apply conventions consistently. Here are some elements used in computer documentation for which you may want to establish type conventions:

Working With Conventions

To help readers understand the typographic conventions you use in a document, explain and demonstrate the type conventions in the preface.

For example, if you do not need to specify many conventions for your document, you could format the explanation in the preface this way.

    This book uses the following type conventions:

You could also present a more formal explanation of text conventions in a table format.