February 28, 2013
Using Tables to Present Complex Ideas
When we try to explain a complex idea in writing, we often find it difficult to do so in a way that will be clear to the reader. In the February issue of the Michigan Bar Journal (p. 44), We get a valuable suggestion from John Strylowski, a veteran at writing and reviewing regulations and directives of federal agencies. He suggests using tables:
A table diagrams a complex idea and helps your readers understand the relationships between its various parts. By breaking your idea down into its parts and clearly labeling them, a table
helps your reader to more easily grasp what you’re saying. Tables have these advantages over text:
• They allow your readers to scan your material and go quickly
to what they need to know.
• They make it easier for your readers to see the underlying
structure of your material.
• They usually use fewer words than text alone.
• They help you, the drafter, to spot flaws in your own logic.
The article offers several illustrations of helpful tables.
February 28, 2013 | Permalink