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Jazzing Up the Appearance of a White Paper

Part of the White Papers For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Few people will read a text-only white paper. You can provide visual relief by using at least one of these text enhancements on every page:

  • Bullets: Use a small amount of text after each bullet; avoid lists of 20 or more bullets or several paragraphs of text after each bullet.

  • Headings: Use two sets of headings, big and bold; write active headings to help people skim, scan, and skip.

  • Pull quotes: Extract up to 20 words that give the key point from a page; format these quotes larger at the side; check magazines to see how it’s done.

  • Sidebars: Pull out nonessential side issues or lists and put them in a tinted box to keep readers focused on the main thread.

  • Tables: Present numbers, options, or lists in a table to save words and make information easier to digest.

  • White space: Leave breathing room at the top, bottom, and sides of each page; run text no more than 60 characters wide to make reading easier.

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