My work presents proposals with information divided by numbered headings. Under these headings, the technical writers use a variety of paragraphs, numbered indentations, and indented bullet points. By using this variety, they can end up with bullet points indented once under headings and twice under numbered indentations under headings.

The technical writers follow a style guide that decrees the use of solid bullet points first followed by nesting bullet points in the order of hollow circle, square, etc., to create consistency when scanning a page. But the different indentations, based on whether the bullet points are directly under a heading or under a numbered indentation, break up that consistency.

Should the technical writers always start with solid bullet points or should they consider the numbered indentation as a substitute for the solid bullet point and first use a hollow bullet point under them so that there is consistency when scanning down the margins of a page?

1 Answer 1


Logically, no. The headings delineate the hierarchy of the document. Bullets delineate the structure of lists, not matter where they appear in the document hierarchy. If your style is to indent sections based on the document hierarchy, this is going to result in lists occurring at different indentation levels due to the position of the surrounding text in the document hierarchy. But lists are not part of the document hierarchy, they are part of the structure of the text, and as such they should be used consistently in text no matter where they occur in the document hierarchy.

In other words, paragraphs appear at different indent levels due to their position in the document hierarchy. Lists are just a different form of paragraph and will occur at different indent levels in the same way.

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