18 Rules for Using Text

One of the most fundamental components to making a document visually appealing (and readable) is to make sure the text is designed well. And while there are infinite possibilities for what you can do with your fonts and sizes and organization, if you follow these eighteen rules, your text can transform your document from lackluster to professional to powerful.

If your document has text in it, follow the rules. You’ll start to see a world of difference in your professional documents, whether they be formal reports, brochures, or even your personal résumé. These rules for using text apply across the board.

To purchase a 20×30 printed poster version of this infographic, please visit the online store.

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7 thoughts on “18 Rules for Using Text

  • July 9, 2014 at 8:47 am
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    Thank you for sharing this and for all the other advice you give us.
    If anyone wants fonts with old-style figures in MS Word I found 5:
    Candera
    Constantia
    Corbel
    Georgia
    Vani

    Reply
  • July 9, 2014 at 9:13 am
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    Update: You can get old-style numbers with any font in MS Word by clicking on the bottom right of the Font section of the Home tab and choosing Advanced and changing Number Forms.

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  • July 9, 2014 at 4:51 pm
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    As an addition to your list, one of my pet peeves is failing to use a non-breaking word space between words that should stay together:

    He won $1
    million at the show.

    Reply
  • February 5, 2015 at 9:57 pm
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    One pet peeve not addressed here was “Don’t use text that’s light gray — it’s much harder to read than text that’s darker.” I found myself straining my eyes to read this infographic.

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    • August 3, 2015 at 5:37 pm
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      Re: “One pet peeve not addressed here was “Don’t use text that’s light gray — it’s much harder to read than text that’s darker.” I found myself straining my eyes to read this infographic.”

      I agree…

      Reply
  • October 14, 2016 at 1:32 pm
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    Regarding #16: Is it still okay to highlight with underlining? I’m afraid readers will think it’s a link.

    Regarding #15: Thanks! I’ve seen the “orphan control” option, but didn’t know what it did. Isn’t there also something called a widow? What’s that?

    Reply

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