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I am writing a pdf report. I have the following list.enter image description here

The problem I have is the underline to add extra emphasis. It seems out of fashion to underline for emphasis, though I admit there's not much more to it than that.

However, I'm struggling to devise a better alternative. (The following are just my opinions; if I'm merely imagining the deficiencies, I'm happy to be corrected.)

Boldface with italics lacks sufficient emphasis: enter image description here

Using the same orange colour as the numbers (and which is also used for all headings) appears too 'bright':

enter image description here

(Using a darker orange is better -- and the colour is present in charts within the report -- but makes the list inconsistent with others.)

enter image description here

Alternatively, I could drop the numbers in the list (they're not strictly necessary). However, I feel that this is less clear (and it's hard to defend the use of the indent). enter image description here

Dropping the boldface in ... income would be a last resort, as the effect of highlighting that text is more important than the additional emphases which are currently underlined. I cannot change the typeface (unless there's a very similar typeface).

How should one emphasize these parts of the text? Are there other methods to emphasize boldface in sans serif typefaces?

The palette I'd like to be restricted to is:

\definecolor{Orange}{HTML}{F68B33}
\definecolor{DarkOrange}{HTML}{D4582A}
\definecolor{OrangeBackground}{RGB}{254,240,222}  % for boxes
\definecolor{Color1}{RGB}{255,224,127}
\definecolor{Color2}{RGB}{255,195,90}
\definecolor{Color3}{RGB}{246,139,51}
\definecolor{Color4}{RGB}{212,88,42}
\definecolor{Color5}{RGB}{160,34,38}
\definecolor{Color6}{RGB}{98,18,20}
\definecolor{theGrey}{HTML}{6A737B}
\definecolor{AuthorPage}{RGB}{160,34,38}
\definecolor{AuthorGrey}{RGB}{174,174,174}
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    One minor point: so-called "Color Blind" people may not perceive orange nor red as having emphasis (beyond bold). Not being color blind myself, I cannot speak to how these colors would be perceived. I expect they would be black or some shade of grey/brown. I have seen an individual claim that they could not see an orange sitting in the grass in their yard. – Yorik May 11 '16 at 21:17
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Boldface with italics lacks sufficient emphasis

I don't think it does, actually. The italics make it feel like those words are specific terms that we've learned about previously in the document and should take note of when they appear.

APA Style would probably categorize these as "key terms", as discussed in this post.

A key term italicized in an APA Style paper signals to readers that they should pay close attention. This might be because you are defining a word or phrase in a unique manner or simply because the term is key to the understanding of your paper.

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Another option: Drop the bold and use color for the whole emphasised string, then bold or italic the extra-emphasised words.

Using color isn't a bad option but if the whole string being emphasised is more important than the specific words I would keep the whole emphasised string the same color (wether that is the same color as the full paragraph or not). The color change is a bigger contrast than regular/bold text, which has the effect of emphasising the colored words more than the bold.

Personally though, I would just go with either of the first options (I agree with you re the underlining, so just using bold/italic would be my choice). The emphasised string is a part of the larger paragraph and changing colors and adding too-much emphasis breaks the flow of reading and makes it all a bit awkward to read—In my opinion.

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Why not use bold for only the words that change?

  1. Compulsory contributions from pre-tax income do incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat.
  2. Voluntary contributions from pre-tax income do incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat.
  3. Voluntary contributions from post-tax income do incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat.

This draws the eye to the distinctive part and reduces the number of words that the the has brain must read and inrepret to determine which paragraph applies to the case the reader is interested in.

  • OP said "Dropping the boldface in ... income would be a last resort, as the effect of highlighting that text is more important than the additional emphases which are currently underlined." – Cai May 12 '16 at 10:16

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