In any type of print publication (whether it is a simple advertising flyer, a business document or a printed book) such factors as correct grammar, fluent writing style and proper formatting methods help separate the mediocre from the excellent. By paying attention to a few simple details you can do a great deal to ensure that your publication will be articulate and professional-looking.
Five key points you should be aware of in order to create high-quality documents are:
Bolding and italics are useful formatting features for defining different parts of your text; however, you should never underline text (except as a hyperlink). If you format text with an underline that’s not a hyperlink, your readers will think your publication has a dead link.
Hyphenation conventions are constantly changing but violating some basic rules marks your document as inferior. Three main hyphenation rules you should observe are: hyphenate two or more words used as an adjective (e.g. self-catering); hyphenate compound numbers (e.g. fifty-six); and hyphenate only between syllables as specified in the dictionary for end-of-line breaks (e.g. enchant-ment).
Avoid orphans and widows
Orphans occur when the first line of text in a paragraph is separated from the rest of the paragraph on the following page or next column. A widow occurs when the last line of a paragraph appears on the following page or in the next column. Where possible you should avoid widows and orphans in your documents.
Lack of textual guideposts
Use subheadings within your publication to break your writing into sections and help your readers navigate your ideas. Likewise, rather than making your reader trawl through long passages of text, use bulleted lists to highlight what is most important.
Use one space (not two) between sentences
Previously, when documents were composed on manual typewriters, typed characters were the same width so two spaces were considered necessary to separate sentences for visual effect. With the advent of computers, characters are proportionally sized so they fit together more readily. Consequently, it is sufficient to include one space between sentences. Before printing your manuscript, search for all double spaces and replace them with single spaces.