Developing your technical form
After revising and editing the content of your text, you should turn your attention into proofreading the appearance of your documents. Form pertains to the format (typography, layout, graphics, etc.) and mechanics (grammar, punctuation, spelling, etc.) of technical writing.
Your documents should have an accessible form/ design that is appealing to your readers. The following page layout settings makes your text easy to follow:
- Use 12-point Times New Roman, double-space text, and 1" x 1" margins throughout.
- Include a title page and running heads.
- Number your pages.
- Include titles, headings, and subheadings that are parallel and hierarchical.
- Either have tabs at the beginning of paragraphs or spaces between paragraphs, not both.
Compact blocks of texts overwhelm readers and impede their abilities to process the information in your documents (see Figure 1). Therefore, when formatting your text, use highlighting techniques, such as:
- Boldface Italics and underlined text (do not highlight words by writing them with all capital letters)
- White space
- Parallel lists (either included in the running text or vertically using bullet points and numbers)
- Graphics (table and figures)
Figure 1 The overall layout for research papers (A) and technical reports (B)