Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Advice for using bullets

Garner says:
  • End your introduction to the bulleted list with a colon. It serves as an anchor.
  • Ensure that the size of your bullets is proportional to the size of your type. You don’t want overpowering bullets; the best bullets are typically just smaller than a lowercase “o” filled in with ink.
  • Adjust your tab settings so that you’ll have a small tab between the bullet and the text. Space the tabs so that they look about the way you see them throughout [Garner's] book—about .15 inches evenly across the line, with a larger space for a paragraph indent.
  • Use a hanging indent. That is, don’t allow the text to wrap under the bullet; instead, leave the bullet hanging out to the left. If you don’t already know the word-processing function for this, you’ll need to learn it.
  • Single-space within bulleted items. If you have longish bullets, though, you may decide to double-space between them. But try to keep your bullets fairly short.
  • Keep your items grammatically parallel (start each one with a verb, a noun, etc.).
  • Resist the temptation to play with computer-generated boxes, arrows, check marks, and other eye-catchers. Nothing else works quite as well as a bullet.
Bryan A. Garner, Securities Disclosure in Plain English 57 (CCH 1999).

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