What is a style sheet? (And why do you need one?)


(Find your free style sheet templates at the bottom of this page)

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 sheet. Also referred to as a house style or a style guide, a style sheet can be just one page or multiple pages long.

If you don’t follow a style sheet, 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 sheet will 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 sheet will also be useful if you're writing a series of books, or documents for your business.

Contents of a style sheet

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

Whether you're an author, an academic, a writer or a business owner, a style sheet can ensure your text is consistent.

Free style sheet templates

Please find your free style sheet templates to download below (Microsoft Word format). These style sheets have been designed so you can edit them to your individual requirements.

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