Re: Table layout - Which way is best?

Subject: Re: Table layout - Which way is best?
From: Mike Starr <mike -at- writestarr -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Mon, 11 May 2015 07:11:18 -0500

I have no links or references. However, in my experiences as a contractor and as the only technical writer associated with an organization I'm the style guide. I adopted using the first approach (the newspaper columns approach), with no external guidance whatsoever, from the perspective that it makes it easier (IMHO) for the reader to follow the numeric sequence.

But as a group of authors, it's important to adopt one approach or the other and stick to it for consistency. At some point, someone needs to have final say over the issue, proclaim the official company style, and direct someone to create an entry in the corporate style guide.

Best Regards,

Mike Starr, Writer
Technical Writer - Online Help Developer - WordPress Websites
Graphic Designer - Desktop Publisher - Custom Microsoft Word templates
(262) 694-1028 - mike -at- writestarr -dot- com -
President - Working Writers of Wisconsin

On 5/11/2015 5:38 AM, William Sherman wrote:

At work, there have been a couple of people who have suddenly changed the directions of tables in our books.

Currently, we have a table that goes vertical in the first pair of columns, then vertical in the second pair of columns.

1 Main Body 4 Undercarriage
2 Work Access 5 Track System
3. Power Plant 6 Operator Cab

What they have done is go left right, then down.

1 Main Body 2 Work Access
3 Power Plant 4 Undercarriage
5 Track System 6 Operator Cab

Now on something short, probably most don't see an issue but several tables that we have like this has 30 or more items called out.

I have been trying to find something that gives a rule for this we can point to. I am sure I've heard of studies that down the first set, then down the second set (newspaper column style or regular multi-column style text) is the recommended and easiest to read, but I just can't find that now. Looking through Chicago Manual of Style, I'm apparently missing it if it is in there.

Searching tables styles or layouts on the Internet gets me a lot of furniture links.

Unfortunately, our style guide doesn't address this and I believe that they may decide to actually put this into the style guide, since one is a manger in another group.

Anyone have any links or references?
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Not content with the definitions for "content": From: Tony Chung
Table layout - Which way is best?: From: William Sherman

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