Writing Style – To Justify or Not to Justify

I recently received an email from someone curious about the rules for justifying reports.

Justification relates to the alignment of text. When the text is aligned at both margins of a document, it is called “fully justified.” When it is aligned only on the left margin, it is said to have a “ragged right” margin. (This is the way this message is written.)

It is surprising how people and organizations differ as to what is considered acceptable. There is really no right or wrong answer. My own preference is to use the ragged right margin style if the text runs more than four inches across. Most readers seem to prefer it. It provides readers who skim with a place for their eyes to hook before moving onto the next line. They don’t tend to skip as many lines.

On the other hand, some writers feel that a fully justified report appears more attractive and looks highly professional.

By the way, whether you are using either style, I recommend using 1-inch margins on both sides if the report is unbound or stapled at the top right. If the report is bound, use a 1.5-inch left margin and a 1-inch margin on the right.

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