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Table of contents

(1) Layout of the title page

The title page carries the most important information about the present work:

When formatting, you should make sure to use as few font sizes as possible. For example, you could use a large font size of 18 – 24 pt for the title, but then use a uniformly smaller font size for all other information. z.B. 11 pt.

In addition, you should include information that belongs together (e.g.B. subject, teacher, course), summarize in blocks.

(2) Table of contents

The table of contents usually follows the title page. It lists all headings of the document with the corresponding page number. You should design your document using style sheets so that you can have your word processor create the table of contents automatically.

(3) Layout of the pages

The layout of the pages should aim for a good balance between printed and unprinted areas ("white space"). Content on a page can only have an appropriate effect on the reader if you give it space. Therefore, on the pages you should use approx. Set a margin of 2.5 cm. Top and bottom margins can be slightly smaller. If your work will be bound or stapled on the left, you need to leave an extra half to one centimeter on the "binding side" accordingly.

Within the text, you should make sure that the individual design elements (paragraphs, headings, figures, tables) also have space. Figures and tables, for example, should always have a certain distance to the text, so that they do not appear "squeezed". Main headings should be clearly distinguished from the body text in terms of font size and also by a spacing before the heading should be separate from the preceding paragraph. They can be placed closer to the text at the bottom, because they belong to the following text in terms of content, while they create a content boundary to the preceding text.

(4) Typeface

Font sizes

The font size of the body text should be 11 pt or 12 pt, although 11 pt is sufficient for most fonts. Captions, headers and footers can be made slightly smaller (9 – 10 pt). The largest heading in the document should not be larger than 20 pt.


In total, you should not use more than two fonts for your document. Usually even one is enough. If you want to use two different fonts, you can use the second font for example for captions, the header and footer and also for the headings.

For a technical paper, serif fonts are suitable for the body text. A sans serif font can be used as a secondary font. Try to choose a clear, businesslike font, which should not be trite. Arial and Times New Roman are therefore ruled out in my opinion. Instead, you can use for example Georgia use a nice serif typeface that is usually already available.

Another possibility are free fonts, which are available from different suppliers. Many of the fonts available for free on the web are not of very high quality, so you should not use them to design longer texts. However, there are exceptions:

Sans serif fonts

Serif fonts

(5) Design of headings

Many mistakes are often made with headings, because principles of handwriting are transferred to digital design. In general, a headline should stand out from the body text in two main ways: By its Font size and by the Distance from the text.

You should use other types of emphasis extremely sparingly or better avoid them altogether. Headings are not underlined – this is done by handwriting, because otherwise there are hardly any possibilities for emphasis. If a heading is made bold, it remains so only Highlighting next to font size and distance to the text. Multiple highlighting like bold + italic should be avoided.

Get headings a distance to the top, which corresponds to about two to three lines of regular continuous text. One line of spacing is sufficient at the bottom. For subheadings that are not much larger than the body text, the spacing to the following text can also be omitted.

As a rule, headings should be left-justified designed. Centered text interrupts the flow of reading and usually looks rather inappropriate in documents with a factual character.

(7) Design of illustrations

Illustrations should only be used if they are important for the content. Pure decoration should be avoided. Therefore, figures should also be inserted into the document sufficiently large and with enough white space.

In most cases, it is easiest to place the figure on a new, free line and to continue the text not (the corresponding setting is called "With text in line" or similar). This way, the placement is guaranteed to remain intact, which is not always reliable when text flows around and there are many illustrations in a document.

Figures should be numbered consecutively and each should be accompanied by a caption. These short texts can be designed in a smaller font size than the body text (8 – 10 pt) and can be set in the secondary font of the document, if one is used.

(8) Header and footer

The header of a document is not mandatory, but can be used in longer documents, for example, to indicate which chapter has just been opened.

More important is the footer, where a page number is usually placed. The header can be placed either on the right margin or centered and should be inserted using the automatic page numbering function of the word processor so that it is always correct and up to date.

(9) Design of tables

Tables should be designed in such a way that cell contents are in the center and the frame lines of the table recede into the background. The default setting of tables in the various word processing programs is usually not ideal in this respect. Mostly black frame lines are set, which are also drawn too close to the text.

You should therefore give the cell content a little more space by making the cell interior spacing larger. So the text in a table cell does not look cramped. In addition, the border line should be either very thin, gray or a thin dotted line. The dotted line appears gray and tends to remain in the background, but has the advantage that it prints well and can also be copied (which is not always the case with "really" gray lines).

The table as a whole should have at least one line of space above and below the body text.

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