Let’s face it– beautiful things tend to capture people’s attention. Even when it comes to writing, the appearance of your document will determine whether readers will be interested in it. Therefore, you need to take time to create visually appealing papers if you want them to be read. In addition to gaining credibility with your audience, people will also believe in the authenticity of your content. This article discusses some of the best documentation practices you can apply to make your document more attractive. Read on to learn more!
How to write good documentation?
Use contrasting fonts and sizes
Applying contrasting fonts and sizes is a good document practice that you should pay attention to. If you are writing academic and business papers, it’s advisable to utilize 12-point font sizes since they are easily readable. A 10-point font size is more suitable for some information-dense reports. Going smaller than that makes your document appear cramped and hard to read. Refrain from being tempted to use anything related to colors, especially when you plan to print your documents. You will incur more costs for the color ink, and it won’t be transferred to subsequent documents that get copied. You can use colored content for critical warnings and the like for digital docs.
If you want to create important-looking documents, ensure they have headings. These headings help readers to determine if your content meets their needs even before they start reading it. Utilizing headings also ensures your audience doesn't lose interest in the content since they already know the topics you plan to cover. Headings also divide info, making it more digestible. There are 3 kinds of titles you can choose from, and these include:
- Topic headings
- Question headings
- Statement headings
Put space between headings
Add a space between headings to make a good-looking word document. This enhances your paper's readability, making it look pleasant and inviting. Ensure that the amount of space between the headings is consistent throughout the paper to promote uniformity. Doing this also makes the doc appear professional and credible.
Add space between lines
In most cases, the lines in a doc are single-spaced by default. This indicates that the spacing accommodates the biggest font in that line, plus a modest amount of additional space. Add spaces between the lines to create an attractive word document as you write your content. Do this throughout the file doc to maintain consistency as well. Press the "Line Spacing" command on the Home tab to add space between lines. A drop-down menu will appear, and you can choose the amount of spacing you want. However, the space shouldn’t be too big to fit more lines on a page.
Shrink your string
A long line of text makes it hard for a reader's eye to focus on the text since it makes it challenging to determine where the line begins and ends. Moreover, it might be challenging to continue onto the right line in big blocks of text. The 1 inch margins of MS Word have a line length of 6.5", which is too big for the usual 10 or 12-point font. Increasing the width of the margins substantially ensures that the target audience reads the document. Although such adjustments use more pages, your document file format will definitely look much better.
Create white space
Documents with a lot of text and not much white space look unauthentic. So, the key to an appealing document design is finding a balance between too little and excess white space. Readers can easily miss the main message in a text-heavy document. Therefore, utilize white space to prevent the audience from getting lost in the dense text. You can create enough whitespace by keeping big margins and splitting your ideas into tiny pieces. As such, write short sentences and sections, add sidebars, create lists, or pull out a quote.
Play with typography elements
What comes to mind when you hear about typography components? Is it color, font, and font sizes? If so, you are correct. Using various font types and sizes in writing documentation is a good idea. This will give your work character and attract the reader's attention. As you choose fonts, ensure your audience can easily read them. Also, only mix up to 3 different font types in a single document. You can bold or italicize the fonts to indicate the main points you want the reader to absorb.
Use visuals when possible
As the famous saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” That complicated concept you want to convey to the reader in detailed sentences can be better elaborated with a picture. Visuals also help you elicit certain emotions among your audience and enable people to remember the information you feed them with. Try incorporating images in your document depending on the message you want to convey to make it enjoyable. If you want to illustrate data, use charts, maps, graphs, or infographics further. Tables are good for communicating processes or relationships between two data sets. Remember to use relevant visuals. Otherwise, readers may overlook or possibly misunderstand them.
Write clearly and to the point
Have you ever read a document that seemed vague? Did you keep wondering what message the author was conveying? Ambiguous papers tend to be boring and exhausting. Focus on clarity to create a good-standing document and prevent readers from ignoring your work. This entails writing clearly and to the point. Be intentional, and don’t beat around the bush. The reader should be able to tell what your document is about from the first few paragraphs. Furthermore, a clear document sparks interest and encourages your audience to read it to the end.
Make important points stand out
Many readers, especially busy ones, are impatient and usually scan a document when reading. In light of this, you must apply strategies to make vital info stand out. One way is to implement bold text, informative headings, and complementary fonts and colors. Bolding a text will capture your audience’s interest, but if used selectively throughout the paper. If you bold each word, then none of them will stand out. The color you use to stress essential points should be readable and complement the color on the background. For instance, if the background color is dark, then the content must be lighter, and vice versa. Utilizing informative headings is an excellent way to make your paper scannable. If you develop headings that capture the general idea of what they head up, a reader can choose which section they can deep read.
Check grammar and spelling
There’s nothing as annoying as attempting to read a document littered with grammatical mistakes, poorly worded sentences, and typos. It can ultimately damage an otherwise well-structured paper and distract the reader. Worse still, you risk losing credibility in your writing as an author. All of this can be avoided by proofreading your work. It would help if you also considered enlisting another person to proofread the paper. A new set of eyes may identify the errors that weren't noticed. Be sure to take advantage of the spell checker tool on the word. Just turn it on, and it will highlight any spelling errors you make and even provide suggestions for the correct spelling. In addition, use Grammarly.com to check your document. The software will help you to rectify grammatical errors and offer suggestions for tone, style, word choice, fluency, and more.
Make the doc discoverable and tracked
Making your paper discoverable and tracked is an essential rule of good documentation that you should pay attention to. But how do you make your document discoverable? Make sure that it is categorized, shareable, and easy to find. Next, track these factors to understand if they are happening. Don’t take anything to chance because what you think is discoverable may not be so for others. Many tools can help you in the document formatting process to check what documentation is being utilized and what isn’t. Take advantage of them to identify the stuff being used heavily, keep it up to date, spot the documentation not being read, and figure out why.
Use templates with accessible formatting
Do you want to create professional-looking documents? ElegantDoc.com provides several document types, including reports, memos and invoices. Just visit the website, identify a document template that suits your needs, and input your information.
Writing appealing documents takes work, effort, and commitment. There’s no shortcut to it. You must ensure you use the correct typography elements, write clearly and to the point, integrate headings, and use visuals. The good news is that ElegantDoc.com can make this process easier and faster, thanks to the templates it offers.