Text styles

Headings are important (this is "Heading 2")

Search engines use the headings to index the structure and content of your web pages.

Users often skim a page by its headings. It is important to use headings to show the document structure.

<h1> headings should be used for main headings, followed by <h2> headings, then the less important <h3>, and so on.


This page template makes the page title the Heading 1. You should not use the "Heading 1" option in the text editor.

Using headings

Ensure that there is a page structure to your content. The section "Using headings" is of the same importance and is not a sub heading of "Headings are important" so it is also a "Heading 2".

Creating hierarchy (this is "Heading 3")

This section is a subsection under the "Using headings" section so it receives a "Heading 3" style. It is important to note that headings are not primarily use to make thing look the way you want them to look. 

Making sibling content (this is "Heading 3")

Really this is just bogus content to show that you can have two sections with a "Heading 3" under a "Heading 2." In practice you would only do this as long as the hierarchy of you your content is followed. This section would be another point in the conversation under "Using headings.

Child of a child (this is "Heading 4")

Using a "Heading 4" is a pretty rare occurrence in the websites we are making. In practice to go to the 3rd level subheading on a page would only happen in a long document, like graduate field hand book.

Guidelines on bold and italics

Using bold

The <strong> element is for content that is of "strong importance," including things of great seriousness or urgency (such as warnings). This could be a sentence that is of great importance to the whole page, or you could merely try to point out that some words are of greater importance compared to nearby content.


Like other elements, bold/strong has semantic meaning and should only be used for creating a sense of urgency. Bold is not to be used for decoration.

Using italics

In alignment with the AP Style guide, lean toward not using italics. Exceptions would be specific citations in faculty publications listings, or latin words.

Special classes

There are  some special classes available to use in the "Styles" dropdown in the editor toolbar. 


Eyebrow is a special style only to be used as a subtitle on photo text blocks.


Introduction is used in the first introduction paragraph on landing pages. It can also be used as the first paragraph on basic pages.


"Notice" is a class added to a block of text to really make it stand out as important. 

Add-drop ends on October 1 for all classes


"Alert" is used for important, time critical announcements. The difference between "Notice" and "Alert" is somewhat subjective.

If you miss add-drop you will receive an F


"Arial" is a special use class to change the font family to Arial so it will properly display special characters, primarily in Native American words such as Gayogo̱hó:nǫɁ


Basic table usage

A table is theoretically a HTML spreadsheet. Basic tables should only have simple content in each cell. Each column should have a content field, and each row should be a collection of fields for a specific record.

First name Last name
Bob Marteal
Scott Haber
Mark Wilson
Jon Fishman

Layout tables

It is possible to use tables to layout blocks of content, as long as each row continues to be one record.

Person Location
Bob Marteal
Web designer
Richmond, VA
Scott Haber
Content coordinator
Ithaca, N.Y.
Mark Wilson
Drupal developer
Ithaca, N.Y.
Jon Fishman
Safety coordinator
Somewhere, ME

Things to avoid

Do not use tables to layout blocks of content in a column layout. Don't make a table with out a header row. 

  • Should be lowercase when they come before the word department, capitalized when Department is first:

  • Department of Classics
  • classics department
  • Only capitalize proper names in a department name when name comes first:

  • East Asian studies program
  • English department
  • history department
  • Here are general guidelines about EC wording:

  • Use specific grant names, when possible. When grant names are used, there’s no need to include “Engaged Cornell” or “Office of Engagement Initiatives.”

  • When you do need to use a unit name, use “Office of Engagement Initiatives.” This is the unit that gives grants and awards, holds workshops, sponsors events, etc.

  • “Engaged Cornell” is an ethos, a philosophy, a spirit. It can’t do things like make grants. 


Blockquotes are used to call out a quotation. Do not add italics, or bold, or eyebrow or any other styles to a blockquote. They are designed purposefully and if left alone they will be consistent across all of your quotes.

Yesterday I staked off the ground on the hill for an orchard. I want to get 1,000 apple trees agrowing.

—Ezra Cornell