Formatting text in T4 Site Manager
Formatting headings and paragraphs
When formatting your content in T4 Site Manager, for the correct heading and paragraph styles to be applied automatically you must use the formatting drop-down menu in the editor:
Headings are styled centrally with styles applied to the text automatically, but you have to mark them up as headings in T4 by selecting the appropriate heading level from the drop-down formatting menu, as in the image above.
The different levels of heading allow you to structure your pages in a logical way that helps people navigate and skim page content. Each level is styled with a different font size. These levels must be nested in sequence starting with level 1 and nesting subheadings through 2, then 3, etc. You should not use random levels to create a certain visual effect or miss a level out of the sequence.
For most standard pages, you should use the template ‘www Page with no feature image’. The Heading field of this template is automatically formatted as the page’s top heading, ‘Heading 1’. Any subheadings will be entered in the Main Body field, so you will need to select Heading 2. For any subheadings of Heading 2 you select Heading 3 and so on.
How many headings and subheadings you need will depend on the nature of the content and amount of text on your page. In general, try not to have a lot of unnecessary heading levels on a single page in relation to your text as it can look cluttered, but at the same time, use headings sensibly to break your text up where appropriate for the user.
You will rarely need to use Headings 5 or 6, but they are available for that level of structure if it is genuinely required, for example in an official policy document transferred to the web.
Example of a web page heading structure using 4 levels of heading
Never use bold, italic or all capitals as a style on headings
Do not use the ‘bold’ or ‘italic’ buttons to format headings:
Your pages will be inconsistent with the style of the rest of the site, and they will not pick up any of the heading colours. You will also lose the logical heading structure of the page, which is an important feature for the usability and accessibility of web pages (see chapter 9 of the Writing and style online course: Use appropriate headings). There is no need to apply separate bold formatting, as it is already applied in the central style. Italic is not used as a style on any heading in the corporate web design. Be particularly careful that no extra bold or italic mark up is retained after pasting text from Word documents (see ‘Pasting from Word documents’).
Please don’t set headings in all capital letters, as these are not very legible on screen. It makes every letter the same rectangular shape, making word recognition slower and the text harder for people to skim read quickly.
For the correct font style and size to be applied, paragraphs of text need to be marked as ‘Paragraph’ from the formatting menu. In most cases, when you type text into the main body of a template in T4 Site Manager and press Return to add a second paragraph, your text will automatically be formatted as Paragraph, and this will provide the correct formatting.
Bold and italic
In main text, use bold and italic very sparingly and only to create emphasis. Italic can be useful for light emphasis of a single word, short phrase, or for titles of books or articles; bold can be effective for stronger emphasis of single words or phrases. Avoid the use of both styles together, as it significantly reduces the legibility of text on screen.
Neither style works well on whole blocks of text on screen as it makes them less readable, so do avoid applying them to whole paragraphs. Large blocks of text in bold lack contrast, so actually make it less effective as a means of emphasis. Although italic text can work well in the high resolution of print, the lower resolution on screen reduces clarity and ease of word recognition, significantly slowing reading speed. So don’t apply this style to whole paragraphs, and never use both bold and italic together on paragraphs as this is an even less readable combination.
Use the bulleted and numbered list buttons from the editing toolbar to format bulleted and numbered lists correctly.
You will have significant problems if you try to paste such lists from Word documents so you will need to completely reformat pasted lists in Site Manager (see ‘Pasting from Word documents’), or you may find it easier and quicker to type them in directly.
Tables for data
Tables should be used only for displaying data; that is what they are intended for. Data tables have either row or column headers (or both) that apply to data in the remaining table cells. The styles for tables are set in the central University style, including the font style, weight and position of text in header and data cells.
Example of a table using header and data cells
Use the table tools in the editing toolbar to build tables that will display the correct formatting. Do not attempt to paste tables in from Word documents, as they will not display correctly on the web and you will find it difficult, if not impossible, to clean them up to style properly.
Tables for layout
Do not attempt to use tables for page layout, rather than to display data, as page layouts are determined by the styles and templates set up in T4 Site Manager.
If you have a layout requirement that you think cannot be met by existing content templates, please contact the Web Team to discuss your needs so that any solution can be in keeping with the University’s corporate web design, and will not cause problems for web accessibility in the way that tables potentially can.