Issue 37, 1 June 2000
In this issue...
Feature article: Editing a table of contents (Part 2)
Microsoft Word macro for title case
Chapters 4 and 5 of Editing Online Help now available for comment
Poynter Institute articles on editing
What do technical editors do? (a continuing series)
Clickbook 2000 available now
Advertisement: Electronic editing book
Last issue I discussed chapter titles and headings as indicators of a document's structure. This week I look at some other editing issues regarding headings.
If you look at some tables of contents, you'll notice different styles of headings. Some are questions; others are statements, instructions, or words and phrases.
In most cases, a well-edited table of contents will have all the headings at the same level in any one chapter similar in their structure; these are called "parallel" headings.
For example, all these headings are questions:
How much does your audience know?
How much education have they had?
Are they good readers?
Do they have any misconceptions?
Do they have any physical disabilities?
What is their ethnic background?
In another chapter in the same document, all the headings are words or phrases:
Too few words
Long, rambling questions
In another document, two chapters use statements for headings:
Define the overall objective
Identify the specific response you want
Consider your receiver's point of view
The planned attack
Interpret the directive or commission
Decide on your approach
Research or collect your facts
Organize your information
Write the first draft
Write the final draft
Now consider some examples of nonparallel headings (taken from Technical Editing, The Practical Guide for Editors and Writers, by Judith A. Tarutz). Revise these headings so they are parallel.
(Instructions for a clock)
Setting the Time
Setting the Alarms
(Instructions for a radio)
Tuning the Radio
Presetting Your Radio Stations
(Instructions for an answering machine)
Answer Machine ON/OFF
Recording Your Greeting
To Check Your Greeting
Skipped heading levels
Look carefully to see if any level 1 heading is followed by a level 3 heading, without any level 2 heading in between (or any other combination that skips a heading level). You can usually tell this easily from the table of contents, where different heading levels are usually set in different fonts or are indented by different amounts.
If you find a place where a heading has been skipped, you need to decide if the level 3 heading should be raised to a level 2 (if it is equivalent in importance to other level 2 headings in the chapter) or if a level 2 heading should be inserted somewhere in the text. You may have to ask the author for more information.
One important use for subheadings is to break a chapter (or section) into two or more sections (or subsections), usually with an introductory sentence or paragraph before the first subsection. A chapter or section that has only one subheading may need some work. You need to decide:
- Is the existing subheading necessary? If so, should it be a main heading
rather than a subheading?
- If the existing subheading is necessary, is a subheading missing from the section?
These questions sometimes lead you to realize that:
- The section needs to be restructured.
- Information is missing or duplicated.
Improving the flow of information by adding headings
Many documents (even those without a table of contents) use headings and subheadings to break up long stretches of text and to assist readers in finding the information they want. Even if they read the document all the way through the first time, readers may want to refer to it again to refresh their memory on a particular point.
When you try to add headings, you may discover that you can't easily find a logical place to put them. This often indicates that too many ideas are jumbled up together. You may need to take a step back and restructure the document (or parts of it) before you can insert logical headings.
For those who want Microsoft Word to do title case properly -- with lowercase articles and prepositions -- Jane Kerr's True Title Case macros for Word 97, available at the Electric Editors site, does the job nicely. It comes with an editable exclusion list, so you can arrange to lowercase anything you please. You can assign the macro to a keyboard shortcut for easy use. Full instructions are included in the template.
You'll find Electric Editors at http://www.electriceditors.net/
Look for the link to "Jane Kerr's True Title Case macros". Note: clicking on the link downloads a self-extracting file, rather than linking to more information.
Editor's note: This book was published in October 2000. For more information, see http://www.jeanweber.com/books/olhbk.htm.
Lindsay Rollo email@example.com brought to my attention the US-based Poynter Institute, http://www.poynter.org/. This site included the following items by Anne Glover, dated January 1996. If you search the site for "Glover," you'll find more articles by her.
search of the Perfect Copy Editor: 10 Copy Editor Traits That Guarantee
Responsibility for Copy Editors: The Secret to Success in Your
Life and Your Career
- The Seven Deadly Copy Editing Sins
The site and the articles mentioned are primarily aimed at newspaper editors, but most of the points made in the articles are applicable to any editor.
Note: I am an affiliate of Blue Squirrel, the developers of Clickbook.
Clickbook is a product that enables you to print any document or web page separately or together in a booklet format.
The new release, ClickBook 2000, offers some new options:
- Layout Wizard
- ClickBook Printer Setup Wizard
- Add Page Numbers
- Add a Blank Page
- Add Borders
- Drag and Drop Printing
- Print a Table of Contents
- Instant Printing
- Exchange Layouts with other ClickBook users
To find out more about ClickBook 2000, go to: http://www.clickbook.com/index.html?ASCID=572
Clickbook 2.0 for Macintosh
ClickBook 2.0 for Macintosh is finally here. It has new features and capabilities such as:
- ClickBook 2.0 is now compatible with Mac OS9
- You can now duplicate jobs
- Insert a blank page
For more information, go to: http://www.bluesquirrel.com/cd_maccb/index.html?ASCID=572
I'm looking for people to contribute some articles, or tips, or short notes about almost anything related to editing, to this newsletter. If you have something relevant to share, please send it to me! I'm sure the readers would appreciate some contributions about different working styles, materials and clients.
Electronic editing: Editing in the computer age
by Jean Hollis Weber
Published by WeberWoman's Wrevenge
A quick start guide for editing students, experienced editors making the switch from paper to online, and anyone who needs to write or edit electronically.
Available in both downloadable electronic (PDF) and printed forms. For details
on ordering a copy, see
or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have a product or service of interest to editors, I'll be happy to consider including a short advertisement, for a modest fee. Contact me for details.
© Copyright 2000, Jean Hollis Weber. All rights reserved.
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