Return to How to

Using style sheets

Style sheets supplement the style manual (if there is one). You might also use one to summarize vital information for your own reference or to give to an editor. Record on a style sheet any decisions made for a particular product or publication. For example:

  • What version of English spelling is used (US, UK, Australian)
  • How to capitalize headings (sentence style or headline style)
  • How to capitalize and punctuate lists
  • How a word is spelled, hyphenated or capitalized when several versions are common or correct (for example, online or on-line, email or e-mail or E-mail), or when the word is product-specific
  • Conventions for font usage: when to use bold, italics, or other font changes
  • Abbreviations used, including in measurements
  • The treatment of numbers (as words or numerals) in text and with measurements
  • The use of commas or spaces in numbers over 999
  • Whether heading numbering is used
  • How pages are numbered (sequentially or by chapter)
  • Any deviations from standard punctuation, spelling or usage
  • Whether the singular “they” is acceptable
  • Any terms to be avoided, such as non-English abbreviations or words, or terms that your audience might find confusing or unacceptable
  • Whether figures are centred or flush left, on the page or within the column
  • Whether all figures must have a caption, or the conditions under which some may have captions and some not
  • Whether figure captions must be unique (if a table of figures is included, this becomes more important)
  • Whether and when nonstandard bullet styles or more than one bullet style are to be used

Last updated 30 January 1999