one-shot style guide

Subject: one-shot style guide
From: Miki Magyar <MDM0857 -at- MCDATA -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 28 May 1998 08:42:16 -0600

Richard Feldman asks for suggestions on developing a style guide for a one-time project. Great idea! I've found it well worth the small effort it takes, and a generous gift to the next person who has to deal with that document.

A style guide is a formal set of editorial decisions. It does not have to cover everything, and it can be as long or short as needed. Refer to a standard dictionary or style guide for most things, then just specify the stuff that's unique to your document.

Here's what I suggest - Set up a separate document (widget.sty) as a template that specifies each component and describes it. For example, the body content might say "body is Helvetica 11 pt, no indent, tabs every .5 in." Depending on your software, use styles as much as possible. Describe any other formatting or page layout decisions (margins, footers, etc.). Add a list of words if you need to, to specify spelling, capitalization, acronyms, or special usage. That's all. A style guide is usually a work in progress, so just fill it in as you go along.

This should not require a lot of extra effort, provides a quick reference as you work, and is easy to maintain. Let me know if you want more details on any of this.

Good luck with your project,
mikim -at- mcdata -dot- com

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