What is a style guide?

It’s helpful to have somewhere to record all of your decisions about your text – things like your preferences of spelling and punctuation. This is called a style guide. Also referred to as a house style or a style sheet, a style guide can be just one page or multiple pages long.

If you don’t follow a style guide, inconsistencies can creep into your text. Your reader will notice and will lose confidence in the content of your work. If your document is being written, edited or reviewed by more than one person, a style guide can provide clear instructions to everyone involved in the editing process. In practice, this means that your text stays consistent and needs fewer revisions. A style guide will also be useful if you're writing a series of books, or documents for your business.

Contents of a style guide

A style guide will give guidance on all words and phrases that can be expressed in different ways. Common things found in a style guide are:

  • abbreviations, acronyms and contractions

  • capitalisation

  • punctuation

  • spellings (especially ‘ise’ and ‘ize’ words)

  • numbers, units and symbols

  • date and time

  • quotations (single or double quotation marks)

Please find your free style guide template to download below (Microsoft Word format). This style guide has been designed so you can edit it to your individual requirements.

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