What Are Headings?
Headings provide extra information about the structure of the document at the code level. They are used to create an outline, or table of contents, that helps users to navigate the content more efficiently. Various assistive technologies can tap into the heading structure to make sense out of the document.
The following video shows how difficult in can be to navigate a document without headings.
Benefits to Visual Learners
Headings can generate a table of contents or interactive outline that anyone can use in documents such as Word and PDF. Visual learners can use the outline to employ reading strategies:
- Get an overview of the contents before reading
- Scan for important contents
- Jump to a particular section
- Break the reading into manageable chunks
- Easily refer back to a section when reviewing or studying
The interactive outline can also help with grading if you require students to write their papers using headings.
Benefits to Writers
Headings can also save a lot of time on organizing content while writing.
When you use real, structural headings instead of just bolding or enlarging titles, you are able to:
- Generate a Table of Contents and an interactive outline in Word
- Easily navigate, reorder, and delete content
- Efficiently and consistently format content throughout the document
You can change the look and feel of a document all at once instead of having to go through and change styles line by line. You can also apply a template, for example, to automatically format the content by APA or MLA standards.
You can apply the concept of headings in almost every kind of electronic content, including Word documents, on the web, and in Canvas courses. Look for menus that allow you to select headings in any text editor you use.
- Use headings to provide a page structure or outline.
- Use headings to indicate sections of content.
- Nest appropriately in a hierarchy – avoid skipping levels.
- Avoid using headings purely for visual appeal or emphasis.
- Avoid over-use. If there’s no paragraph text below a heading, then it shouldn’t be a heading