39 Format Overview

This learning unit includes information on formats, headings, sub headings, markers, chunking, and white space.

Information in reports needs to be formatted in a hierarchical structure. The first heading is the title of the report.

After this first heading the structure is a coordinated into four sections, so The Business of Writing Cover Pageeach section of a report shows the same order of information.  Headings identify the sections of information: 

  • Major Headings;
  • Division of Major Headings;
  • Sub Division of Major Headings;
  • Sub-Sub Division of Major Headings.

Not every report needs four headings. A report may have two sections, three  sections, or four sections. However, a report cannot have more than four hierarchal sections. If your report needs more than four sections, you need to reorganize the information in the report. 

Within each section, markers are used to identify specific points.  Chunking and white space are used to make information more accessible.  Markers can be bullets, numbers, underlining, bold font, italics, etc. Chunking is creating small sections of information, surrounded by white space. White space is empty space that separates sections of text.

When using bullets to mark several items, be sure to chunk items into groups. Lists of items that are continuously bulleted become solid text and the effect of marking information is lost.

See example:

Example – How to Use White Space in Technical Writing



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