Formatting Guidelines Explanation

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The Formatting Guidelines: "why do we do that?"

The aim of this page is to collect explanations for why certain guidelines are as they are. These are not the guidelines, and should not be taken as directions on how to format. This page is intended as a resource for volunteers who would like to better understand the reasoning behind the Formatting Guidelines.

Paragraphs in italics are quoted from the current Formatting Guidelines.

If you want to suggest changes or additions to the guidelines, please do so in the Documentation Forum. This article is only for explaining the reasoning behind the current Guidelines.

Items which are identical in the proofreading and formatting guidelines are not addressed here; see the Proofreading Guidelines Explanation instead.

Table of Contents

Blank Page

Chapter Headers

Chapter Headers are usually printed in a larger font which may appear to be bold, but we do not mark them as bold text; however you should include italics or small-caps markup if it appears in the header.

We don't mark bold in headings because there is already a different markup that sets it apart: 4 blank lines before and 2 after. In fact, usually it's actually just a difference in the font or font size (which we don't mark), not actually bold. Additional markup is usually added for the html version in post-processing, but this is not dealt with during the formatting rounds.
On the other hand, we do mark italics and Mixed Case Small Caps in headings, because in those cases it's not just a difference in font size.

Section Headers

Other Major Divisions in Texts

Paragraph Side-Descriptions (Sidenotes)

Paragraph Spacing/Indenting

Multiple Columns




Punctuation goes outside the italics, unless it is an entire sentence or section that is italicized, or the punctuation is itself part of a phrase, title or abbreviation that is italicized.

In html versions of DP texts, the markup won't be visible, so it wouldn't really matter if periods were inside or outside of italics markup. However, we also produce text versions of all our projects, and for those, italics is marked with _underscores_. The placement of the markup during formatting determines where the underscores appear in the final version. Because of this, we place the markup around each item that's italicized, including punctuation only if it's part of the whole item. That is, the period goes inside the markup if it's an abbreviation or a whole sentence, because the period is a part of it. The period goes outside the markup if it just happens to appear after an italicized word or phrase, but isn't a part of what's being italicized. The same holds for other punctuation marks.

The periods that mark an abbreviated word in the title of a journal such as Phil. Trans. are part of the title for italicization purposes, and are included within the italic tags, thus: <i>Phil. Trans.</i>.

For dates and similar phrases, format the entire phrase as italics, rather than marking the words as italics and the numbers as non-italics. The reason is that many typefaces found in older texts used the same design for numbers in both regular and italics.

If the italicized text consists of a series/list of words or names, mark these up with italics tags individually.

The markup goes around each thing that's italicized; in a list, each item is separate so it gets separate markup.
When converted into underscores for the text version, italics markup will look like this:
_Romeo._ But soft what light through yonder window breaks ... 
You want to get out _here_? 
_Look out!_
We needed _Pirates of the Caribbean_, _True Grit_, and _Ice Castles_ to complete our collection.

Bold Text



Underlined Text

S p a c e d O u t Text (gesperrt)

Font size changes

Words in all Capitals

Words in Small Capitals

Words in headings (Chapter Headings, Section Headings, Captions, etc.) that are entirely all-capped should be formatted as all-caps without any <sc> </sc>.

When a heading looks like this:
this considered to be a change in font size (which we don't mark), not small caps. The second line will probably get different markup for the html version in post-processing, but this is not dealt with during formatting. In headings, small caps are only marked up if there is a change in size within a single line.

Single word at bottom of page



Lists of Items


Block Quotations

Line Breaks

Line Numbers

Extra Spacing/Stars/Line Between Paragraphs

Page References "(See Pg. 123)"


Plays: Actor Names/Stage Directions