Module 05 - Designing Documents, Slides, and Screens
Using computers to create good design LO 5-5
Computer programs provide a great deal of choices and sophistication for users for document
design. In some cases, the choices may be overwhelming. For the most part, document design
in business writing hasn’t changed substantially in decades. Letters and memos look essentially
the same. Paper resume layouts and various kinds of reports allow for a great deal of
individuality but still rely on many of the same tried-and-true concepts. So, writers should take
care when employing computer technology. The wealth of fonts available, for instance, may
encourage them to “go crazy,” when standards like Helvetica or Times Roman work best.
As PP 5-17 and PP 5-18 suggest,
Different versions of word processors handle commands
Choose a businesslike font in 11- or 12-point type.
Times Roman, Palatino, Helvetica, and Arial are the most
commonly used business fonts.
Use bold headings.
Avoid having a heading all by itself at the bottom of the
Change your tab settings to create good visual impact.
A setting at .6" works well for the To/From/Subject line
section of memos.
Use .4" for paragraphs and .6" for the start of bulleted lists.
For lists with 10 or more items, the setting will need to be a
bit further to the right—about .65".
To save paper, use print preview to see the document’s final
Teaching Tip: While many instructors, as well as students, are quite capable with
computer technology, others may not be. Either way, a good idea is to find an expert
on your campus for a tutorial, especially if you are teaching in a computer
classroom. One significant challenge with technology, of course, is how quickly it
changes. Another is that the version of a popular program students are using at
campus could differ from the version they are using at home. To help minimize the
time you spend navigating computer challenges and maximize the time you spend
with business communication, finding an expert “point person” may be the best
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