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Layout

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Layout

The term layout refers to the way something is designed, arranged, or laid out. In written text, this is usually how visual elements, such as pictures, fonts, and headings, are presented on the page.

Layout meaning

Let's look at what layout is in more detail. We will look at the layout of written text, along with the main parts of layout, its key features, and why layout is important.

Layout definition

What exactly is layout?

Layout in written text is the way something is the arrangement of visual elements on a page. These visual elements include text, images, headings, spacing, and more. Layout can help determine the main points of a text and make the text easier to read.

Examples of layout

An example of a familiar layout is a restaurant menu. A menu is usually split into different sections with big, bold titles such as 'starters', 'mains', 'desserts', and 'drinks'. Under this, the food and drink items are usually clearly laid out with a description underneath in smaller text and pricing to the side. There may even be images of the food and drink that help the reader to visualise what they will be ordering.

This familiar layout helps to guide the reader through the menu and understand what they are looking at.

What are the main parts of layout?

Layout usually has three parts - the introduction, main body, and conclusions.

The introduction is the first point of contact the reader has with the content. It must be engaging and outline the main points of the article.

The main body, on the other hand, is where the most important parts of the text can be found. It must be clear and concise, corresponding to what the introduction said it would discuss.

Finally, the conclusion brings all the strands of your argument together and summarises it. Sometimes the article presents a new idea in relation to the rest of the essay that can expand on the possibilities of the main body of the text. It must be able to stand on its own; one should be able to understand what the article is trying to convey by just reading the conclusion.

What are the features of layout?

Apart from having engaging content, it is important to include other elements of 'layout' to attract readers to your work. In this section, we will discuss the different features of layout and how you can use them in your writing.

1. Headings and subheadings

In most cases, a heading is the first point of contact the readers have with the written material. It must be able to capture their attention. Headings and subheadings are short statements describing what the section is about. Generally, headings are in a larger font compared to subheadings, like they are in this article. While headings are the building blocks, the subheadings are the roadmap! They help keep both the reader and the writer on track.

2. Second paragraph

It is important to note that generally, a paragraph revolves around one main idea, which is introduced at the beginning of the paragraph. Using paragraphs effectively helps get an idea across to your readers. Much like the introduction, main body, and conclusion, paragraphs help structure writing effectively.

Paragraphs open with a topic sentence which introduces the main point. A topic sentence should be short and precise. The next section, or what is also known as the supporting sentences, is the main body of the paragraph. This part provides evidence and supports the topic sentence.

Finally, you end the paragraph with a concluding sentence that links back to the main idea, whilst providing a transition into the next paragraph (or the next idea, if it applies).

3. Spacing

Howdoyoufeelreadingthis?

Reading the sentence above wasn't the best experience, was it? That is the power of spacing! Using white space helps the reader process information and gives the eyes a break, preventing strain.

4. Font Colour

Font colour is the colour that is used to write text. It is important because it can convey meaning. Colours can convey emotion, helping readers recall information and maintain attention. When used effectively, colours can make text aesthetically pleasing and help make large blocks of text easier to digest.

Tip: Notice how colour is used in this article and how different colours and headings break up the large chunks of text

5. Font size

The text of font size is the size of the characters that are displayed or printed. It is essential to get this right as it will impact the readability of the text. The wrong text size will make it difficult to read and disengage the reader, creating a negative reading experience. Using the correct text size is important to make the reading experience as easy as possible for the reader so they remain interested in the text. The most common font sizes are 11 and 12.

6. Font Type

Font is the graphical representation of text. There are many fonts such as Arial, Times New Roman, Georgia, etc. It is important to use the right font as it makes it easier for the reader to read, and this will allow you to gain more readers. Certain fonts are suitable in different contexts. In an academic essay, one would expect you to use a basic font, such as Times New Roman, whereas a more interesting and eye-catching font would be required in an advertisement.

7. Textboxes

Text boxes are a tool that allows you to add text or pictures anywhere in the document. This allows you to draw attention to a specific area of the file, by being able to design a particular text box for instance (by way of colours, borders, etc.).

Layout, screenshot of textbox in Word, StudySmarterWe are able to design textboxes and add text to a document (Microsoft Word screenshot)

The above picture shows you an example of a text box in Microsoft Word and the various options on the left-hand side you can use to design it. This can be decided based on the theme and the other colours you are using in the articles. An advantage of using a text box is that you can easily move around text when required.

Tip: Have a look at the article on font colour if you are confused about how many colours to use in your work.

8. Graphs, Charts, Tables, Pictures

Graphs, charts, tables, and pictures are important tools that help organise and visualise the content. Depending on the kind of text, they each serve a different purpose. For instance, if it was a book aimed at kids aged 3-4, the pictures would be very different from that in a business presentation, as can be seen below.

Layout, child reading book with pictures, StudySmarterA children's book usually has big, bright pictures that entertain and educate the child (Pixabay)

Layout, business presentation charts, StudySmarterA business presentation will have specific images, graphs, charts, and tables (Pixabay)

9. Captions

A caption is a small statement contextualising the image, helping the reader to understand the relevance of the image in relation to the text.

Layout, man on bench, caption, StudySmarterCaptions help the reader to interpret and understand the image (Pixabay)

What do you think of the image above? One could come to multiple conclusions:

  • He could be a new guy in the city, lost? Mourning? Waiting for somebody?

There are multiple ways to interpret an image, right? Image captions help the reader understand the image in relation to the text. It is important to always have captions for your images to help the reader focus on the text.

Why is layout important?

The layout and structure of written information are important as it affects how the content is interpreted by the reader. A poor layout can lead to disengaged and uninterested readers. On the other hand, a good layout allows for easy navigation of the text. In addition, a well-organised layout can help maintain the reader's attention, which is what you want as a writer!

Layout - key takeaways


  • Layout describes the way something is designed or arranged on the page.

  • The three main parts of any written text are: introduction, main body, and conclusion.

  • Some of the features to keep in mind while designing the layout of your written material are - headings, subheadings, paragraphs, spacing, colour, text size, font, text boxes, graphs, pictures, and captions.

  • A poorly designed layout makes a text more difficult to read and causes readers to disengage from the text.

  • A good layout is beneficial to both the reader and the writer as it allows for easy navigation and maintains the reader.

Frequently Asked Questions about Layout

Layout can be defined as the way something is designed or arranged.

An example of a layout would include a rough plan of what you would write in each section of your text. This may include bullet points or just words.

Another word or synonyms of layout are - blueprint, design, structure, outline, format and plan.

Final Layout Quiz

Question

What is meant by layout?

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Answer

A layout can be defined as the way something is designed or arranged.

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Question

Which of the following is a synonym for layout?

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Answer

Arrangement

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 What are the three main divisions of any kind of text?

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Answer

The three parts of any text are - introduction, main body, and conclusion.

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Question

Which of the following are elements of layout?

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Answer

Paragraphs

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Question

Which of the following is generally the first point of contact the reader has with the text?

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Answer

Heading

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Question

A paragraph generally focuses and expands on one main idea. True or false?

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Answer

True

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Question

 How are paragraphs structured? 


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Paragraphs generally revolve around a single idea and they start with a topic sentence introducing this idea. The rest of the paragraph supports this idea and ends with a conclusion sentence with a transition into the next paragraph.

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Question

True or False. In order to have a powerful impact on the reader, you must use as many words as possible.


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Answer

False. Short statements can also be powerful in conveying meaning.

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Question

Why do we use font colour?


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Answer

To convey deeper meaning

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What are the advantages of using text boxes? 


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Answer

Easily move the text 

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We use graphs, tables and pictures because:

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Answer

They help us visualize the information

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Why should we use captions for images?

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Answer

It is important to use captions to ensure that there is no misunderstanding between what the writer is trying to convey and what the reader interprets.

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What can be the effect of a bad layout?


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Answer

A poor layout can make it difficult for the audience to read, and this will make it difficult for the writer to reach out to a larger audience.

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True or false. A good layout is beneficial only for the reader. 


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Answer

 False. A good layout benefits both the reader and the writer as it makes it easier to navigate through the text and understand the written content.

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What are some of the positive effects of a good layout? 


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A well-structured layout helps maintain the attention of the readers, at the same time it also helps both the readers and the writers in navigation.

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Question

Layout is how ________ elements are presented.

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Answer

Visual

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Question

Which of the following are elements of layout?

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Answer

Headings

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Question

A menu is usually split into sections with menu items underneath and prices alongside. This is an example of layout. True or false?

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Answer

True

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Question

Put the following into the correct order: 

  • Main Body
  • Conclusion
  • Introduction

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Answer

  • Introduction
  • Main Body
  • Conclusion

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Headings come in the middle of a text. True or false?

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Answer

False

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Spacing helps the reader process information and prevents eye strain. True or false?

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Answer

True

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Font size isn’t important as everyone can read all sizes of text. True or false?

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Answer

False

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Question

Times New Roman is an example of what?


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Answer

Font type

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A children’s book is likely to have small, complicated graphs and charts showing the latest economic trends. True or false?

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Answer

False

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A children’s book is likely to have big, well-spaced images and large text simply laid out on the page. True or false?

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Answer

True

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