Quick Tip:
How to Format Titles

How can you format titles used in articles or promotions for maximum impact … and, ultimately, maximum profit?

Should you italicize? Underline? Bold? Put them in quotation marks? Here’s a quick reference list to help you remember.

Back in the days when manuscripts were handwritten or typewritten, underlining titles for long works (such as books, newspapers, newsletters, magazines, movies, and TV shows) was the correct thing to do. Underlined copy in a manuscript meant that the copy should be set in italics in printed work.

But with the Internet, underlines are now associated with links and may confuse readers. So the recommended method is to italicize titles, and use “upstyle” capitalization (capitalizing the first letter of all major words in the title).

For short works, such as book chapters, short stories, essays, or articles that are included in longer works, use quotation marks around the title with “upstyle” capitalization.

In sales copy, upstyle or downstyle (capitalizing only the first word of the headline) capitalization is mostly a matter of personal preference and readability. For the sake of consistency, use the same style for all heads and subheads throughout a piece.

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Published: January 17, 2008

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