Jokes0 min ago
Improving clarity and readability
When writing up an important piece of work I often find that the way I've laid things out (the paragraphs, diagrams, equations etc.) is untidy and could be greatly improved. What I'm looking for is a web page that demonstrates various ways of setting out information - what makes it easier to read, what draws attention, how to arrange images, mistakes to avoid, and so on - and, if possible, explains scientifically why certain styles work better than others.
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It's a free language / typesetting program, a bit like Word, and does a lot of the hard work for you. I usually find that anything I write within it (it's more for scientific / mathematical documents, but could be used for anything) looks great with the default settings.
But I'm afraid that I don't know of any websites which will help.
I worked in graphic design (typography and page layout were my specialities) and I would advise you to keep it simple. Limit your fonts to a good serif face, plus maybe bold and italic (but use them sparingly), and maybe a good simple sans serif face for headlines.
� bullet points are useful, again used sparingly.
� look critically at other acclaimed publications, such as The Guardian, or the New Statesmen, and note what they do.
Paragraph breaks are vital to keep people reading, as otherwise they will get bored and switch off. And unless you're doing it for effect, keep paras to a similar length.
Good luck. You've made the first vital step on the road to graphic clarity, which is to question your own work.
Thank you for taking the time to answer, and well done for deciphering my pathetically vague question.
Allen, your advice is excellent and I hope to put it straight into effect, especially the point about paragraph spacing. I've just been browsing some of your other answers, and they really are much easier to read than most! (Will also take your advice about copying others' examples.)
Fo3nix, I had a quick go at using WinEdt after you recommended it to me before. After looking at some examples of equations and documents produced using LaTeX, I am very impressed. The main problem is getting to grips with the code, and of course the near-endless number of features it seems to offer. I'll try to stick with it, though, as it looks like it might be of more use to me than Word in the long run.
I'll keep looking for web sites about this kind of thing (I'll post them here if I find any, in case anyone else is interested.)
That details all the features the average person may use. It does a lot more (most extra things by adding packages), but that guide teaches you everything. It assumes you know nothing about LaTeX, apart from knowing how to get it working on your system. The best I've found on the web.
And if you want some free tutorials and ideas 9some of them you have to pay for, then visit:
And other tips on graphic design and inspirational articles can be found on this amazing blog, where I got the ideas for the above two links:
Good luck and lets hope we can all improve our typographic / layout skills.