Style guide

Style guide

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.[citation needed]

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

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. The Associated Press Stylebook, for example, is revised annually.



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.[citation needed] 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.

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 those previously mentioned, 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.[citation needed]



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 European Union publishes an Interinstitutional Style Guide—encompassing 23 languages across the European Union. This manual is "obligatory" for all those employed by the institutions of the EU who are involved in preparing EU documents and works.[1]

The Directorate-General for Translation of the European Commission publishes its own English Style Guide, intended primarily for English-language authors and translators, but aiming to serve a wider readership as well.[2]



  • 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.
  • Lexicographical Centre for Canadian English A Dictionary of Canadianisms on historical principles: dictionary of Canadian English Walter Spencer Avis (ed.) Toronto: W.J. Gage (1967) OCLC 301088035

United Kingdom



  • The BBC News Style Guide: by the British Broadcasting Corporation.[3]
  • The Economist Style Guide: by The Economist (UK).[4]
  • The Guardian Style Guide: by The Guardian (United Kingdom)[5]
  • The Times Style and Usage Guide, by The Times.[6]
  • The Associated Press Stylebook, by The Associated Press.[7]

United States

In the United States, most non-journalistic professional writing follows The Chicago Manual of Style,[8] "one of the most widely used and respected style guides in the United States".[9] Scholarly writing may follow the MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing.[10] A classic style guide for the general public is The Elements of Style.

Journalism generally follows the Associated Press Stylebook.


Academic papers


  • The Gregg Reference Manual, by William A. Sabin.


General publishing

Web publishing

  • Yahoo! Style Guide: The Ultimate Sourcebook for Writing, Editing and Creating Content for the Web, by Chris Barr and the Yahoo! Editorial Staff, ISBN-10 031256984X

See also


  1. ^ Publications Office of the European Union (24 July 2008). "Interinstitutional Style Guide". Europa. European Union12 May 2010. 
  2. ^ Directorate-General for Translation (European Commission). "English Style Guide". European Union. 
  3. ^ The BBC News Style Guide,, retrieved 2011-04-13 
  4. ^ The Economist Style Guide, 10th edition (2010), ISBN 1846681758. Online version as of July 2011 via (Temporarily offline at The Economist's own site).
  5. ^ The Guardian Style Guide, London, 19 December 2008,, retrieved 2011-04-13 
  6. ^ The Times Style and Usage Guide (2003) ISBN 0007145055. Online version as of May 2011 via
  7. ^ The Associated Press Stylebook,, retrieved 2011-04-13 
  8. ^ June Casagrande, Grammar Snobs Are Great Big Meanies: A Guide to Language for Fun and Spite (New York: Penguin, 2006).
  9. ^ David Spencer (15 February 2011). "Chicago Manual of Style, 16th Edition". Type Desk. Matador. Retrieved 16 March 2011. 
  10. ^ "What Is MLA Style?",, Modern Language Association, 2011, Web, 31 January 2011.

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Style guide — Ein Styleguide (auf deutsch: Gestaltungsrichtlinie) ist eine Anleitung für die einheitliche Erstellung und Gestaltung von verschiedensten Kommunikationsmitteln wie Werbematerial, Internetauftritte und Geschäftsbriefe. Mit einem Styleguide können… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • style guide — noun A set of standards for design and writing of documents, either for general use or for a specific publication or organization, including standards on typography, grammar, or punctuation. Syn: style manual …   Wiktionary

  • MHRA Style Guide — Style Guides ACS Style Guide AMA Manual of Style The Associated Press Stylebook The Chicago Manual of Style Turabian The Elements of Style The Elements of …   Wikipedia

  • Wikipedia:WikiProject Pharmacology/Style guide — The following is a proposed Wikipedia policy, guideline, or process. The proposal may still be in development, under discussion, or in the process of gathering consensus for adoption. For the parent guideline, see Wikipedia:Manual of Style… …   Wikipedia

  • MHRA Style Guide — Le MHRA Style Guide (officiellement appelé MHRA Style Book) est un guide publié par l’association Modern Humanities Research Association utilisé pour la rédaction des essais et des publications académiques portant sur les arts ou les sciences… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Style — may refer to:* Genre, a loose set of criteria for a category or composition * Design, the process of creating something * Format, various terms that refer to the style of different things * Human physical appearance * Fashion, a prevailing mode… …   Wikipedia

  • Style APA — APA style Le style APA est un format éditorial définit par l American Psychological Association pour les publications et écrits scientifiques, dans le domaines des sciences humaines et des sciences du comportement. Il s agit d un ensemble de… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • guide — 1. noun /ɡaɪd/ a) Someone who guides, especially someone hired to show people around a place or an institution and offer information and explanation. b) A document or book that offers information or instruction; guidebook …   Wiktionary

  • Style Reine Anne — Style Queen Anne Une maison américaine de style Queen Anne style home à Lebanon dans l Illinois. Le style Queen Anne est un style architectural anglo saxon qui atteignit son apogée dans le dernier quart du XIX …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Guide to Reference — Guide to Reference, to be published in 2008 as the online successor to Guide to Reference Books , will be a guide to the key reference sources in print and on the Internet. Organized by subject, it lists and gives brief annotations to a variety… …   Wikipedia