Content style guide
Bold & italic text
Use bolded text to call attention to words or phrases that will help the Veteran understand the content on the page.
Use bold text only in these cases
- The explicit set-up line that comes before bullet points that states something like this: “Both of these must be true.” Review examples on Eligibility for Veterans Pension page
- The “and” or “or” that comes at the end of each line in a bulleted list.
- The first part of a sentence, for scanability, when there’s a need to clearly set apart, for instance Veterans who fall into different eligibility categories. Review examples on Eligibility for VA health care page
- Numerals, for scanability, that we know the Veteran is on the page to look for—like a dollar figure. Review examples on Disability housing grants for Veterans page
- The different types of accounts through which you can sign in to VA.gov: My HealtheVet, DS Logon, and ID.me. Review examples on View your VA lab and test results online page
- When there’s a “Note:” or “Example:” Review examples on VA pension rates for Veterans page
- The design element or text link we want the user to click on when we’re walking them through online instructions. Review examples on VA travel pay reimbursement page
- If you’re presenting a series of label and value pairs, such as the contact information (address, phone number, etc.) for a location. The label is always bold, not the value, and the label and value are separated by a line break as opposed to a colon. Review examples on H. John Heinz III Department of VA Medical Center page
Don’t use bold in these cases
- In any part of a text link, since the blue and underlining sets apart that text enough.
- For words used to emphasize a point being made in the text, like “only if.”
- When the label is serving as a subhead. Use an H3 or an H4 instead. Screen readers navigate around the page by headings. If the subhead text is bold, the screen reader will skip that section of the page.
- Don’t use italics. It doesn’t show up well on a screen, and sometimes it can be harder to read than normal text.