[Tex/LaTex] When is it appropriate to use \paragraph

best practicessectioningsections-paragraphs

LaTeX provides seven sectioning commands:

  1. \part
  2. \chapter
  3. \section
  4. \subsection
  5. \subsubsection
  6. \paragraph
  7. \subparagraph.

For most of the documents I write or come across, \subsubsection seems to be the deepest sectioning level used. Then there's the "rule" (by Tufte perhaps? I am unable to find the source right now) that suggests that the document outline should not be deeper than three levels, which would leave me somewhere between \subsection and \subsubsection depending on the document class being used. At any rate, I have not yet come across a use case for \paragraph and, thinking about it, I realize I don't know when it would be appropriate to use it. So, that's my question: when, if ever, should \paragraph be used?

Best Answer

I learned in elementary school that a document should not be divided more than the intellectual content deserves. The rule is often breached, especially by lawyers. One reason for numbering down to eight or nine levels is that it is easy for us lawyers to refer to item in a complicated legal text, making the text even harder to read and interpret. Then we lawyers are sure you have to visit a lawyer and pay him to help you with the interpretation.

Bringhurst (The Elements of Typographic Style) suggests three levels.

(And: I am a lawyer myself)