Guidelines and rules for presenting copy

News, trends, and the future of publishing
Post Reply
Posts: 1
Joined: January 9th, 2015, 7:39 am

Guidelines and rules for presenting copy

Post by baxterworkshop » January 9th, 2015, 7:46 am


I've been looking for a clear set of rules that cover how to manage text flow. For instance, when should you prevent words from breaking (EX: "The President of the United (new line) States" would be better not to break "United" and "States") what to do with orphans and widows, hyphenation. All the kinds of things you'd see a magazine editor use to make text read nicely.

Any suggestions?


User avatar
Posts: 1821
Joined: December 8th, 2009, 11:22 am
Location: Babel

Re: Guidelines and rules for presenting copy

Post by polymath » January 11th, 2015, 6:15 pm

Standard Manuscript Format avoids any adjustments such as word breaks, shy hyphenation, widow and orphan lines, etc. No formatting whatsoever excpet for basic page layout is SMF.

Standard Publication Format is a house publication designer's prerogative. The house style sets practices, sometimes depending on publication media: books different from magazines, different from newspapers, different from digital media.

A somewhat standardized format that encompasses all the above uses a modified business block format. The current Microsoft Word default format is amenable and conformed to that standard, though problematic for conventional paper publication and publication software due to unconventional line spacing.

Publication format's primary distinctions from mansucript format are full left and right line justification and line spacing, known as leading by typesetters. SMF line justification is left only and ragged right margin. SPF is where word break hyphenation come into consideration. A best pratice is to set word break hyphenation to none. Shy hyphenation as it's known is at present unpredictable. Likewise, no shy hyphenation may add optically awkward word space to lines that comprise multiple polysyllabic words. If hyphenation is set to none, a cursory review of pages for overly spaced words is a best practice. Those lines then can add hyphenation manually. In general practice, the same practice applies to shy hyphenation set on; however, the quantity of hyphenations that then need manual adjustment are numerically greater. Options include what lengthy of words to hyphenate, what words to always hyphentae at line ends, and what words never to hyphenate. The use of an automatic shy hyphenation process requires training a wordprocessor software to suit a house style. Time and labor consuming.

Whether a give text string should or should not be broken is a sentiment, not per se a grammar or layout style principle. "The United States," for example, has no principle requiring the words be joined or broken; best practice is to let the words break naturally where they will.

Sophisticated wordprocessor software allows widow and orpahn line control, as do dedicated pulication softwares. Again, though, a manual control is a best practice. Automated settings cause problems that are then difficult to track down to their causes. For example, a widow line control will produce effective print layouts from native software, though will be ignored by machine readers that do not recognize the format codes that control widow lines. Adobe's Portable Document Format is the only cross platform and cross application format that preserves the entirety of format codes. Best pratice, therefore, is to prepare output for that format.

However, print publication format codes are generally incompatible with digital publication format codes. A digitally published PDF avoids those issues. Increased security features of the Distiller software protects against unlicensed copyright uses, though the Distiller software is costly.

The digital Distribution Rights Managment feature of Kindle, Nook, and the like is set by the distributor of a work. Some electronic publications require a DRM, others insist none be applied. Either way, a digital format publication has special format features based upon a specific layout format. The layout format sets section breaks such that a Table of Contents and Index are live linked for internal navigation purposes, as well as for other defined internal "bookmarks." For example, a word used in inline text may be live linked to a glossary reference. The section break feature is how the document markup feature is used to bookmark and link the various content features. Individual bookmarks are similarly formatted. The markup language is XML for digital publication, a feature for e-reader benefits. An otherwise well-formatted publication may not translate from print format to digital format, for example.

One particular print publication format convention does not translate well to digital format; that is, line justification. A best pratice digital publication for e-readers is left only justification. The pages look unprofessionally sloppy on the right margin, though, a pruduction value consideration. This practice is a consequence of users resetting how they view a publication, changes to typeface and size, column dimensions, and e-readers just don't emulate a print page's layout as visually comfortably as paper publication.

A best practice, therefore, is to avoid automated processes during publication layout, as well avoid special formatting which is incompatible across platforms and applications. The old plain brown wrapper principle is a best practice for publication.
Spread the love of written word.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 6 guests