RE: Style Guides

Subject: RE: Style Guides
From: "Handy, David" <dhandy -at- Informatica -dot- com>
To: "Heather Anderson" <Heather -dot- Anderson -at- cubrc -dot- org>, "Techwr-l" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 16 Feb 2010 18:52:01 -0000

Hi Heather -
I think it depends on whether you have company- or industry-specific
style considerations that you need to capture, and whether an off the
shelf guide can capture those for you.

If you just want "a simple, quick style guide that covered fonts,
formats, and template usage," Chicago is probably not the book for you
(though it is IMHO an awesome book). That raises some interesting
questions though. Do you have templates designed already? Do you or your
employer have strong preferences for fonts or formats? You might have
fun writing your own guide to corral that information.

Otherwise the sky is the limit concerning what you can add to the style
guide, and maybe Chicago will work fine. I don't know where you're
working, but if you choose or compile the style guide, you are setting
the editoral rules. What are your needs? Will you formally edit other
writers? Do you need copy that is clean or standardized to a particular
degree? Do you need writers to do a lot of self-editing before they pass
on copy? Or do you simply need an arbiter of the house style?

In any case, consider the everyday problems that your writers are likely
to encounter. Are they likely to commit grammar crimes, or mis-spell
words, or do you not need to worry about that - are you more concerned
with the correct use of technical terminology, or writing for a
particular delivery medium? You can start with the priority issues and
build over time.

As for misused words - I don't know your writers or your audience, but
if you have editorial concerns like this, consider instead a list of 'Do
Not Use' words. It may be easier to consult and easier to police. (If
you don't mind being the word cop.)

Personally I can think if no job more fun than compiling a style guide.
May explain why I'm in the tech writing racket...

Hope this helps,

-----Original Message-----
From: techwr-l-bounces+dhandy=informatica -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
[mailto:techwr-l-bounces+dhandy=informatica -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On
Behalf Of Heather Anderson
Sent: 16 February 2010 16:43
To: Techwr-l
Subject: Style Guides

Good morning everyone!

I have been tasked to create a style guide for my company.

I was curious if people used them or if they simply used the Chicago
Manual of Style for their documentation?

I was hoping to make a simple, quick style guide that covered fonts,
formats, and template usage.

Does anyone have any examples or any other information I should include?
I am not sure if I should create a usage section with frequently misused

I've used style guides in the past, but this is my first time creating


~ Heather Anderson

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Style Guides: From: Heather Anderson

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