Does your company prefer you to use “email” or “e-mail” when writing? How about capitalizing all the words in a title or using the Oxford comma?
All of these preferences denote your company’s editorial style. To help you and your colleagues stay consistent in your written communications, Bonnie Trenga Mills, author of The Curious Case of the Misplaced Modifier, shares tips on how to make a style sheet for everyone’s reference.
- Keep it consistent. Style sheets are used to track and keep specific style preferences for your company and its clients accessible and in order. The key here is to keep everything consistent in order to project a standard of professionalism.
- Compile the style. Start creating your style sheet by compiling a list of your company’s style preferences. These rules will include terms to use and avoid, how to format a bulleted list, particular spellings, what to capitalize and when to use bolding and italics.
- Don’t include grammar rules. Your style sheet is not a place to freshen up on grammar rules, so save those types of tips for another forum.
- Make it concise. Keep it short by putting in only the essential style requirements and formatting it alphabetically or using headlines. If your company does writing work for its clients, you may need a separate style sheet for each one.
- Personalize it. If your company’s sheet is lengthy or is missing some key style regulations that you want to keep documented, make a separate sheet tailored to your needs. Add stickers and page markers to help you easily access the pages you need to reference most often.
— Adapted from “How to Make a Style Sheet,” Bonnie Trenga Mills, QuickAndDirtyTips.com.