The tabular version is more accessible and much easier for the reader to assimilate. Each type of list is suitable for specific purposes. All lists must conform to a set of design and formatting rules. Learning how to use the paragraph formatting tool in Word (see Figure 3.3.1) is essential to designing effective lists. The second bullet in the list above contains two “or”. The article is long and complex. A better approach is to eliminate the “or” with a nested “the following” clause. Another advantage of such a revision is that the new vocabulary entry (e.g., special loans) can be used to express other business rules (none represented) that would otherwise have to contain the same enumeration. This allows derived logic to be reused from a single source (located in a single business rule statement) and by reference (using the new vocabulary entry as it now appears in the original business rule statement). If the same enumeration is required frequently, this approach can significantly reduce the overall complexity. NOTE: If you create lists by pressing ENTER, then TAB, and then a hyphen, you do it wrong, which will make future editing and maintaining readability very difficult, if not impossible. Especially if you`re co-authoring documents that require thorough review and editing, you need to make sure you`re using the right formatting tools. As the tabular version shows, keeping the common theme as simple as possible provides a mental anchor for the reader to then go through the qualifications.
Does the statement mean exactly one or at least one of the three points listed? Different readers may make different assumptions. Suppose at least one is planned. Lists, when used correctly, can be a technical writer`s best friend – and a reader`s. Lists allow you to highlight important ideas. They also increase the readability of text by simplifying long sentences or paragraphs and adding aesthetically pleasing passive space to make reading more enjoyable. However, using the wrong type of list or formatting a list can cause confusion rather than improve readability. Therefore, it is important to understand the different types of lists and understand how and why they are used. Sometimes a business rule statement that contains different verbal concepts in each of its enumeration conditions (e.g., live, eat, spend in the list above), can be simplified by introducing a generic or derived verb such as “imply” or “relate to”. Use in-sentence lists when you (a) want to keep the paragraph style, (b) to avoid having too many lists on a page, and (c) when list items are relatively short and can be clearly expressed in a sentence without creating a run-on.
The preceding sentence is an example of a list in the sentence. Note that each item listed is enclosed in lowercase parentheses. Just as bar charts have a different purpose than pie charts, different types of lists have different purposes. This section describes when and how to use the following five commonly used list types: Keep the following guidelines in mind when creating lists of any kind: Use a labeled list when listing items that require further explanation. These can be bulleted or numbered. Start the list item with the word or phrase (the label), italics (or bold), followed by colons. After the colon, write the explanation or extension of the term or concept in normal running text. If the introduction is a complete sentence (meaning it could end with a period), it should end with two dots that introduce the listed elements. If the sentence is not a complete thought (i.e. you cannot insert a period into it), the introductory sentence should not end with punctuation, and each element listed should be able to grammatically complement the introductory sentence.
Use numbered lists when the order of the items listed is important and ideas should be expressed in chronological order. For example, use a numbered list when you need to list a series of steps in instructions or when you present ideas that are explained in a specific order in the following text. If you have a list of more than 8 items, you must divide the list into two or more phases or categories (steps at level 1, steps at level 2, etc.). As a rule, the lists in the sentence have 2-4 elements. In general, avoid including more than 4 items in this type of list (unless they are very short), otherwise your sentence may be difficult to read. This is not an exhaustive list of the types of lists you may encounter during your technical reading. These are simply the most common types of lists that you need to identify and use effectively in your technical writing tasks to improve readability. RuleSpeak recommends avoiding words at once and either in lists with only two bulleted conditions. The reason for this is that if additional bullets are added later, the meaning of “both” or “either” is omitted. Bulleted lists are the most commonly used type of list. They are effective when GRAMMATICAL TIP: One of the most common mistakes in technical reports involves the introduction of lists and their punctuation. Here are some more examples of how lists are introduced and how NOT to be introduced.
Since the order in which bullets are listed is logically irrelevant, they may appear in random order – or rather, in the order that readers find most user-friendly. The use of bulleted lists is called tabulation (after the tab key on the keyboard used for indentation). Tabulation is a stylistic device often used in legal and other forms of writing for simplification and clarity. NOTE: The 4 steps in the numbered sample list each begin with a verb (review, review, edit, and proofread) that specifies what the reader should do, and the numbers indicate the order in which these steps should be performed. Punctuation conventions for list items vary depending on the context. Legal writing tends to use more punctuation than technical writing (list items often end with semicolons and the last item is preceded by an “and”). Because this style promotes simplicity, in technical documents, you usually place an item after the last item in your list. If each item listed contains complete sentences, place a period at the end of each list item.
If you have a simple bulleted list, you can omit the last item. There are important reasons to use tabulation when writing business rules. It provides a structure for both thinking about business rules and shaping them in a way that is naturally suited to ask questions and identify ambiguities, gaps, and inconsistencies. Understanding the issues involved can greatly improve your business rule writing skills. A “nested” list is a list within a list or list of child items. These can be useful for avoiding excessively long bulleted lists by categorizing items into sub-lists. Note that the long bulleted list on the left doesn`t effectively categorize items, so the focus is lost. The nested list is more efficient.
This commercial statement could be interpreted to mean that a particular shipment can only be made in the two countries listed. Sending the same shipment to both countries is almost certainly not planned. Bulleted list items should usually be short (one word or phrase). If you find that your bulleted items are longer, consider using another type of list, such as: a labeled list or a nested list. In some cases, a list may not be useful and complicate your document. In such cases, list your ideas as a sentence in the paragraph, as in the last panda example below. A page with too many lists looks like an outline rather than a coherent set of ideas. Original business rule with a new vocabulary instead of a second enumeration. However, double tabulation structures can become cumbersome, especially if the number of enumeration conditions is relatively long. An enumeration can be eliminated by creating a second business rule that derives a new vocabulary entry.
In the following example, the new vocabulary entry is a special trap loan. Do not use a colon before a list unless the introduction to the list is a complete thought, i.e. an independent sentence. Remember this rule: if you can`t insert a dot there, you can`t put a colon on it. It is likely that additional conditions will be added to the current list of conditions in the future. Therefore, RuleSpeak recommends replacing “both” with “all” as described below. If a business rule statement contains trailing text that is beyond the scope of the enumeration, the statement can often be reworded to import that text into the common element (start text). Just as there are rules for creating lists, there are rules about how you can incorporate them into your text. Most importantly, a list should be introduced by an introductory sentence (or clause) that contains both a subject and a verb. Technical writers often use the phrase “the following” somewhere in the introductory sentence to make it clear that a list of items will follow.
All correctly expressed business rules in RuleSpeak are declarative. Note that in the revised version of the example above, tabular conditions are bulleted rather than numbered or labeled (as was the case in the previous contract example). if the type of loan is “Construction transformation/renovation mortgage – Construction site”. Using Excel Finance Function Rate Nper pv fv pmt 30 9 31774 600 3500 per year Tabulation can be used in some cases to unify business rule statements that might actually stand on their own.  Such unification eliminates the fragmentation of business logic that might otherwise occur. It also provides central coordination points for associated business rules to ensure they can be found, reviewed, and possibly revised together.