This article is for designing forms but I think it translates fairly well to documents as well. This site is also a great source for design ideas and tutorials.

Some of the problems with forms and I’d say documents as well, include:

  1. a lack of emphasis on anything. (Note: if you emphasize everything that means that NOTHING is emphasized)
  2. wasted space (Note: White space in documents is GOOD. This one may not translate as well from forms to docs.)
  3. not easily scannable
  4. not organized logically

Here is a before & after look at the example form. Some simple changes make it more readable/useful.
before and after of form design Tutorials | How to design a smart, functional form