Underlining – When Not To Use It

It can be very hard to resist using punctuation marks throughout your written documents. You add a comma here, a semi-colon there. However, you need to be very careful when you decide to use certain formatting. For example, there are many instances when you should avoid underlining words or phrases in your written work. Although you may think it looks fine, it can lead to confusion and frustration for your readers.


Professional Typesetters

Almost all professional typesetters frown upon the use of underlining. The reason is that the line often runs right through the tails of some letters. This obscures parts of the letters, making them very difficult to read.

When people had to rely on trusty old typewriters to produce written documents, they had no choice but to use underlining as a way to emphasize certain text. Fortunately, many new options currently exist now that most writers use computers to complete their work. You can choose to highlight words, phrases or sentences by using italics, colour, a different size font, bold face or highlighted text.


Online Confusion

Many writers create online content that is designed to be read on a computer. Hyperlinks or hypertext links form an important part of written content that appears on the internet. The term refers to references that enable readers to click on the link for additional information.

Such links always contain underlined text to advise the reader that he/she must click on the relevant text to obtain more information. Readers will be transported to another website, another document or another part of the same document almost instantly.

Therefore, if you underline text that is not an actual link, you will most likely confuse everyone. Readers may think the text is actually a clickable link, and become frustrated when they discover it is regular text.