When you add headings to your text, you help your readers find and understand your content. But if your headings aren’t well formatted, they won’t work the way you hope.
Three major formatting mistakes to avoid are:
So what should you do instead?
Headings need to stand out — they like attention! They relish the chance to show your readers around your content and point out your main messages. If you make your headings bigger than your text, they can do their job more easily.
Your headings need to belong to their text — don’t leave them floating in space. To tie your headings to their text, add more space above them than below. Your readers will instantly sense which headings belong with what text.
Your headings need to drop down proportionately in size so your readers can see the hierarchy — which content is a subset of what. Proportionate sizes look more professional too.
Word and Google Docs both have styles you can use to set heading sizes. Keep your headings proportional by reducing their size gradually in your hierarchy, so the levels are clear.
Get more tips to help you format like a pro on our Business Writing workshop, which covers layout and presentation.