Style guide: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Style guides

A style guide or style manual is a set of standards for the writing and design of documents, either for general use or for a specific publication, organization or field. The implementation of a style guide provides uniformity in style and formatting of a document.

A set of standards for a specific organization is often known as "house style". Style guides are common for general and specialized use, for the general reading and writing audience, and for students and scholars of various academic disciplines, medicine, journalism, the law, government, business, and industry.

Organizations advocating for social minorities sometimes establish what they believe to be fair and correct language treatment of their audiences.

Some style guides focus on graphic design, focusing on such topics as typography and white space. Web site style guides cover a publication's visual and technical aspects, along with text.

Many style guides are revised periodically to accommodate changes in conventions and usage. For example, the stylebook of the Associated Press is updated annually.


Types of style guides

Publishers' style guides establish house rules for language use, such as spelling, italics and punctuation; their major purpose is consistency. They are rulebooks for writers, ensuring consistent language. Authors are asked or required to use a style guide in preparing their work for publication; copy editors are charged with enforcing the publishing house's style.

Academic organization and university style guides are rigorous about documentation formatting style for citations and bibliographies used for preparing term papers for course credit and manuscripts for publication. Professional scholars are advised to follow the style guides of organizations in their disciplines when they submit articles and books to academic journals and academic book publishers in those disciplines for consideration of publication. Once they have accepted work for publication, publishers provide authors with their own guidelines and specifications, which may differ from those required for submission, and editors may assist authors in preparing their work for press.

Indexing of the published work, which can be a tedious task, can be done by the author, by a professional editorial indexer, or by computer software. If done by the author or close collaborators of the author who are not professional indexers, the work is called "self-indexed".

A page from an "identity standards manual"—so named for the field of graphic design that focuses on corporate identity design and branding—that identifies color standards to be used.

Some organizations, other than the aforementioned ones, produce style guides for either internal or external use. For example, communications and public relations departments of business and nonprofit organizations have style guides for their publications (newsletters, news releases, web sites). Organizations advocating for social minorities sometimes establish what they believe to be fair and correct language treatment of their audiences.

Many publications (notably newspapers) use graphic design style guides to demonstrate the preferred layout and formatting of a published page. They often are extremely detailed in specifying, for example, which fonts and colors to use. Such guides allow a large design team to produce visually consistent work for the organization.




Several basic style guides for technical and scientific communication have been defined by international standards organizations. These are often used as elements of and refined in more specialized style guides that are specific to a subject, region or organization. One example is ISO 215 — Presentation of contributions to periodicals & other serials.



  • The Canadian Style: A Guide to Writing and Editing: by Dundurn Press in co-operation with Public Works and the Government Services Canada Translation Bureau. ISBN 1550022768.
  • CP Stylebook: Guide to newspaper style in Canada maintained by the Canadian Press. ISBN 0920009387.

United Kingdom

United States

In the United States, most nonjournalism writing follows the Chicago Manual of Style,[1] while most newspapers base their style on the Associated Press Stylebook. A classic style guide for the general public is The Elements of Style.

See also


  1. ^ Casagrande, June. Grammar Snobs Are Great Big Meanies: A Guide to Language for Fun and Spite. Penguin, 2006.

External links

Simple English

For the Wikipedia style guide, see Wikipedia:Manual of Style.

Style guides give help on language usage when writing. Some style guides are about things related to graphic design, such as arranging words and white space on a page. Website style guides often help with visual or technical things. Literary style guides help with choosing the best words, common errors in grammar, punctuation and spelling; and help for how to express ideas in a precise, fair and forceful way.

Some modern style guides are for use by all people. These are usually more about language than about how it should look.

Style guides do not stop a writer from using his own unique style, but some writers believe style guides are too restrictive.

Like language itself, many style guides change as time passes. For example, the Associated Press stylebook is updated every year.


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