Here are just three of my favorite formatting tips to help with putting together sharp and professional-looking written materials.
- Clean your text. How many times have your written up some material in, say, Microsoft Word, then copied and pasted it into an online format only to have your formatting go completely awry? The reason behind this is because many editors you use online for creating newsletters and emails are actually html editors. When you copy and paste from formats like MS Word, extra commands stow away in the text and confound the html editor. The solution? Before you paste your content into an online format, first paste into Note Pad (Windows) or Text Edit (Mac). Then copy and paste into your online program. This step strips all the extra commands and leaves you with squeaky clean text.
- Don’t be a “two-spacer”. I have my sister to thank for this one, which I just learned recently. The accepted format for spacing after the end of a sentence is now one space, not two as I was taught not so long ago in high school. It may seem petty, but little details form impressions. The history? “It is generally accepted that the practice of putting two spaces at the end of a sentence is a carryover from the days of typewriters with monospaced typefaces. Two spaces, it was believed, made it easier to see where one sentence ended and the next began. Most typeset text, both before and after the typewriter, used a single space.” (source article)
- Underline with care. While underlining was very commonly used to emphasize words in the past, times have changed. Notice above, the words “source article”? Why are they underlined? Because they are linked to another web site, of course, everyone knows that! I recently visited a web site and text was emphasized by underlining. I was frustrated, because I now automatically go to underlined text to link to other locations, and there were no links available. How to emphasize? Using bold, italics or CAPITALIZATION works to draw the eye…without frustrating the reader!