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Content folks submitted a document for publishing containing outline sections having mixed roman and natural numbers.

II Favorite Ice Cream Flavor

1. frozen yogurts
1.1 vanilla
1.2 chocolate

2 shaved ice
2.1 vanilla
2.2 mango

Things came to a head when the content writer wanted me to show section numbers like II.1.2.

Is this a thing? Or am I right in feeling like this is a really bad idea for presentation? If a bad idea are there standards I can point to to show them that it's not just one developer's opinion?

2 Answers 2

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I would agree with you. It is utterly confusing. I think mixing letters and numbers would work better. Because in your example II.1.2 could be misinterpreted as 1. frozen yogurts and 2. shaved ice and not chocolate. I have never seen such organizational hierarchy in place. Try: 1. Favorite flavor -a -b -c etc...

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You have three levels in the hierarchy, but the formats of the lowest two don't differ except in their indices, e.g. 1 and 1.1.

I would set them out something like this:

II Favorite Ice Cream Flavour

  1. Frozen Yogurts
    1.1 vanilla
    1.2 chocolate

  2. Shaved Ice
    2.1 vanilla
    2.2 mango

This is straightforward enough for someone who hasn't previously encountered an index such as "II.1.2" to work out for themselves what it means.

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