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Technical Communications Document Layout Procedures - Sample Guide

Updated on March 9, 2015

Front Matter

Front matter is divided into:

  • Cover
  • Inside of Front Cover


The cover is used as an identifier for most documents.

Components - Example

Paragraph Settings
Graphic and Text Logos
Located at the top of the page.
Main Title
Edit this to contain the document title, or major subject. For example, Tracker.
Arial 32, Bold, Right-justified
Contains a descriptive phrase or text that defines what part of the subject is covered in this document. For example, if the subject was Tracker, the subtitle might be, Troubleshooting Procedures.
Arial 22, Bold, Right-justified

Back of Front Cover - Example

Paragraph Settings
Copyright Information
Paragraphs are left-justified. Font is Arial, Bold, 11pt.
Date Released
Date released - Example: Issued 06/03/2014
Legal Phraseology
Legal phrases - Example: All Rights of Use and Reproduction Reserved
Copyright statement - Example: Copyright 2015
Person who is responsible for document content - Example: Author, Mark Bush
Technical Writer that created the document - Example: Writer, K. Payne

Page Layout

Layout includes:

  • Page Setup
  • Orientation

Page Setup

The actual page layout (size, margins, etc.) is pre-determined. You should only change these settings in circumstances where a document contains extensive tables or other specific needs.


Unless the layout demands, all document orientation should be portrait rather than landscape.


Generally, the chapters listed in each document will be different. Each document will have at least:

  • A Table of Contents (TOC). Refer to the Post on Table of Contents
  • Document Overview or Scope
  • At least 1 body chapter
  • Glossary
  • An Index

Each document may also have an Appendix. Refer to the upcoming Post on Appendices.

Table of Contents (TOC)

Refer to the Post on Table of Contents.

Document Overview

Each chapter should contain a chapter entitled, Document Overview. The Document Overview contains introductory information, an overview of the document and the following sections:

  • Purpose
  • Audience
  • Layout


This section contains information regarding the purpose of this document. It indicates if this is for reference use (e.g., Data Library), operations (e.g., User Guide), or other use.


The Audience section contains information regarding for whom the document was written. It also indicates any pre-requisites (i.e., knowledge, authorization, organizational level, etc.) for using the document.


This section contains a table that lists each chapter in the document and a brief description of each.

Body Chapter

Each chapter should contain introductory information, and the body of the chapter.


Each chapter should begin with a brief introduction that indicates the main topics discussed in that chapter. These topics are presented as bulleted items in a list.


Appendices can be added as a chapter that immediately precedes the Glossary. Appendices are labeled with uppercase letters, A-ZZZ. Refer to the upcoming Post on Appendices.


The Glossary contains a list of technical terms and definitions. Refer to the upcoming Post on the Glossary.


Refer to the upcoming Post on Indexing.


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