A style guide, or style manual, is a set of standards for the writing and design of documents, either for general use or for a specific publication, organization or field. The implementation of a style guide provides uniformity in style and formatting within a document and across multiple documents. A set of standards for a specific organization is often known as "house style". Style guides are common for general and specialized use, for the general reading and writing audience, and for students and scholars of various academic disciplines, medicine, journalism, the law, government, business, and industry.
Several basic style guides for technical and scientific communication have been defined by international standards organizations. These are often used as elements of and refined in more specialized style guides that are specific to a subject, region, or organization. Some examples are:
- EN 15038, Annex D – European Standard for Translation Services (withdrawn)
- ISO 8 – Presentation of periodicals
- ISO 18 – Contents lists of periodicals
- ISO 31 – Quantities & units
- ISO 214 – Abstracts for publication & documentation
- ISO 215 – Presentation of contributions to periodicals and other serials
- ISO 690 – Bibliographic references – Content, form & structure
- ISO 832 – Bibliographic references – Abbreviations of typical words
- ISO 999 – Index of a publication
- ISO 1086 – Title leaves of a book
- ISO 2145 – Numbering of divisions & subdivisions in written documents
- ISO 5966 – Presentation of scientific & technical reports (withdrawn)
- ISO 6357 – Spine titles on books & other publications
- ISO 7144 – Presentation of theses & similar documents
- ISO 9241 – Ergonomics of Human System Interaction
- ISO 17100 – Translation Services-Requirements for Translation Services
Other style guides that cover international usage:
- The Cambridge Guide to English Usage, by Cambridge University Press
- The Global English Style Guide, by SAS Institute
- Australian Government Style Manual by Digital Transformation Agency. 7th ed.
- Style Manual: For Authors, Editors and Printers by Snooks & Co for the Department of Finance and Administration. 6th ed. ISBN 0701636483.
- The Australian Handbook for Writers and Editors by Margaret McKenzie. 4th ed. ISBN 9781921606496.
- The Cambridge Guide to Australian English Usage by Pam Peters of Macquarie University. 2nd ed. ISBN 9780521702423.
- The Complete Guide to English Usage for Australian Students by Margaret Ramsay. 6th ed. ISBN 9780521702423.
- Australian Guide to Legal Citation published by University of Melbourne Law School. 4th ed. ISBN 9780521702423.
- Australian manual of scientific style (AMOSS) by Biotext; illustrated by Biotext. 1st ed. ISBN 9780994636904
- The Canadian Style: A Guide to Writing and Editing: by Dundurn Press in co-operation with Public Works and the Government Services Canada Translation Bureau. ISBN 1550022768.
- CP Stylebook: Guide to newspaper style in Canada maintained by the Canadian Press. ISBN 0920009387.
- The Globe and Mail Style Book: Originally created to help writers and editors at the Globe and Mail present clear, accurate and concise stories. ISBN 0771056850
- Council of Europe - English Style Guide, by the Council of Europe
- English Style Guide ("A handbook for authors and translators in the European Commission" – executive branch of the European Union.)
- Interinstitutional Style Guide.
In the United Kingdom, major publications, academic institutions and companies have their own style guides, otherwise they would normally rely on New Hart's Rules available in the New Oxford Style Manual.
For general writing
- The Complete Plain Words, by Sir Ernest Gowers.
- Copy-editing: The Cambridge Handbook for Editors, Authors and Publishers Judith Butcher. (2006 ed.) Cambridge: Cambridge University Press ISBN 9780521847131
- Fowler's Dictionary of Modern English Usage (2015 ed.) Oxford: Oxford University Press, (hardcover). Based on Modern English Usage, by Henry Watson Fowler. ISBN 9780199661350
- The King's English, by Henry Watson Fowler and Francis George Fowler.
- New Oxford Style Manual (2016 ed.) Oxford: Oxford University Press. It combines New Hart's Rules and The Oxford Dictionary for Writers and Editors, it is an authoritative handbook on how to prepare copy. ISBN 9780198767251
- Usage and Abusage, by Eric Partridge.
For legal documents
- Oxford Standard for Citation of Legal Authorities (OSCOLA), by the University of Oxford Faculty of Law
- The Lawyer's Style Guide (2021 ed.) by Bloomsbury Publishing
For academic papers
- MHRA Style Guide for the arts and humanities; published by the Modern Humanities Research Association
- The British Psychological Society Style Guide, published by The British Psychological Society
- The BBC News Style Guide: by the British Broadcasting Corporation.
- The Daily Telegraph Style Guide, by The Daily Telegraph
- The Economist Style Guide: by The Economist.
- The Financial Times Style Guide, by The Financial Times
- The Guardian Style Guide: by The Guardian
- The Times Style and Usage Guide, by The Times.
For electronic publishing
- GOV.UK Style Guide, by UK Government
- University of Cambridge Style Guide, by University of Cambridge
For the computer industry (software and hardware)
- Acorn Technical Publications Style Guide, by Acorn Computers. Provides editorial guidelines for text in RISC OS instructional publications, technical documentation, and reference information.
- RISC OS Style Guide by RISC OS Open Limited. Provides design guidelines, help and dialogue box phrasing examples for the software user interface.
In the United States, most journalistic forms of mass communication rely on styles provided in the Associated Press Stylebook (AP). Corporate publications typically follow either the AP style guide or the equally respected Chicago Manual of Style, often with entries that are additions or exceptions to the chosen style guide.
A classic grammar style guide is The Elements of Style. Together, these two books are referenced more than any other general style book for US third-person writing used across most professions.
For general writing
- Bryson's Dictionary of Troublesome Words: A Writer's Guide to Getting It Right, by Bill Bryson.
- The Careful Writer, by Theodore Bernstein.
- Garner's Modern American Usage by Bryan A. Garner.
- The Elements of Style. By William Strunk, Jr. and E. B. White. (Often referred to as "Strunk and White".)
For legal documents
- ALWD Guide to Legal Citation, formerly ALWD Citation Manual, by the Association of Legal Writing Directors
- The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation. Jointly, by the Harvard Law Review, Yale Law Journal, Columbia Law Review, and Penn Law Review.
- The Indigo Book: An Open and Compatible Implementation of A Uniform System of Citation. Collaboratively by Professor Christopher Jon Sprigman and NYU law students, and published by Public.Resource.Org.
- New York Style Manual: The Tanbook, by the New York State Reporter
For academic papers
- The Chicago Manual of Style, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
- A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, Chicago Style for Students and Researchers, by Kate L. Turabian. Often referred to as "Turabian."
- MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, by Joseph Gibaldi. Often referred to as "MLA".
- Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, by the American Psychological Association (APA).
- The Associated Press Stylebook Basic Books ISBN 9780917360633.
- The BuzzFeed Style Guide: by Emmy Favilla and Megan Paolone.
- The New York Times Manual of Style and Usage. By Allan M. Siegal and William G. Connolly.
- The Wall Street Journal Guide to Business Style and Usage, by Ronald J. Alsop and the Staff of the Wall Street Journal.
For electronic publishing
- The Columbia Guide to Online Style, by Janice Walker and Todd Taylor.
- Web Style Guide: Basic Design Principles for Creating Web Sites, by Patrick J. Lynch and Sarah Horton.
- The Yahoo! Style Guide, 2010.
- The Business Style Handbook, An A-to-Z Guide for Effective Writing on the Job, by Helen Cunningham and Brenda Greene.
- The Gregg Reference Manual, by William A. Sabin.
For the computer industry (software and hardware)
- Apple Style Guide, published online by Apple Inc. Provides editorial guidelines for text in Apple instructional publications, technical documentation, reference information, training programs, and the software user interface.
An earlier version was the Apple Publications Style Guide.
- DigitalOcean documentation style guide, published online by DigitalOcean.
- GNOME documentation style guide, published online by GNOME.
- Google Developer Documentation Style Guide, published online by Google. Provides a set of editorial guidelines for anyone writing developer documentation for Google-related projects.
- The IBM Style Guide: Conventions for Writers and Editors, 2011, and Developing Quality Technical Information: A Handbook for Writers and Editors, 2014, from IBM Press.
- Mailchimp content style guide, published online by Mailchimp.
- Microsoft Writing Style Guide, published online by Microsoft Corporation. Provides a style standard for technical documentation including use of terminology, conventions, procedure, design treatments, and punctuation and grammar usage. Before 2018, Microsoft published a book, the Microsoft Manual of Style for Technical Publications.
- MongoDB documentation style guide, published by MongoDB.
- Mozilla Writing Style Guide, published online by Mozilla.
- Rackspace style guide for technical content, published online by Rackspace.
- Read Me First! A Style Guide for the Computer Industry, by Sun Technical Publications, 3rd ed., 2010.
- Red Hat style guide for technical documentation, published online by Red Hat.
- Salesforce style guide for documentation and user interface text, published online by Salesforce.
- The Splunk Style Guide, published online by Splunk. Provides a writing style reference for anyone writing or editing technical documentation.
- SUSE documentation style guide, published online by SUSE.
Editorial style guides on preparing a manuscript for publication
- The Chicago Manual of Style, by University of Chicago Press staff.
- Words into Type, by Marjorie E. Skillin, Roberta
- ACS Style Guide—for scientific papers published in journals of the American Chemical Society.
- American Medical Association Manual of Style—for medical papers published in journals of the American Medical Association.
- American Psychological Association Style Guide—for the behavioral and social sciences; published by the American Psychological Association.
- American Sociological Association Style Guide—for the social sciences; published by the American Sociological Association.
- The Chicago Manual of Style. The standard of the academic publishing industry including many journal publications.
- Geoscience Reporting Guidelines—for geoscience reports in industry, academia and other disciplines.
- Handbook of Technical Writing, by Gerald J. Alred, Charles T. Brusaw, and Walter E. Oliu.—for general technical writing.
- IEEE style—used in many technical research papers, especially those relating to computer science.
- The Little Style Guide by Leonard G. Goss and Carolyn Stanford Goss—provides a distinctively religious examination of style and language for writers and editors in religion, philosophy of religion, and theology—ISBN 9780805427875.
- A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations (frequently called "Turabian style")—Published by Kate L. Turabian, the graduate school dissertation secretary at the University of Chicago from 1930 to 1958. The school required her approval for every master's thesis and doctoral dissertation. Her stylistic rules closely follow The Chicago Manual of Style, although there are some differences.
- MHRA Style Guide—for the arts and humanities; published by the Modern Humanities Research Association. Available as a free download (see article).
- MLA Style Manual, and the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers—for subjects in the arts and the humanities; published by the Modern Language Association of America (MLA).
- Scientific Style and Format: The CSE Manual for Authors, Editors, and Publishers—for scientific papers published by the Council of Science Editors (CSE), a group formerly known as the Council of Biology Editors (CBE).
- SBL Handbook of Style—Society of Biblical Literature style manual specifically for the field of ancient Near Eastern, biblical, and early Christian studies. The SBL Handbook of Style includes a recommended standard format for abbreviation of Primary Sources in Ancient Near Eastern, biblical, and early Christian Studies.
- The Style Manual for Political Science—used by many American political science journals; published by the American Political Science Association.
- Conscious Style Guide -- A website "devoted to conscious language. My mission is to help writers and editors think critically about using language—including words, portrayals, framing, and representation—to empower instead of limit." Created by author and Robinson Prize winner Karen Yin.
- GLAAD Media Reference Guide, 8th ed., GLAAD College Media Reference Guide, 1st ed., GLAAD Chinese Media Reference Guide, 1st ed. - published by GLAAD to encourage media outlets to use language and practices inclusive of LGBT people. Available as a free download.
- Association of Art Editors Style Guide
- "ISO 215:1986 – Documentation – Presentation of contributions to periodicals and other serials". ISO.org }publisher=International Organization for Standardization.
- "Council of Europe English Style Guide PDF" (PDF). European Centre for Modern Languages of the Council of Europe. 20 October 2023. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 October 2023.
- "English resources: English Style Guide". European Commission. April 2023. Archived from the original on 22 December 2016.
- "Publications Office — Interinstitutional style guide — Home". Publications.Europa.eu.
- "BBC News style guide". BBC Academy.
- "Style Guide | the Economist". The Economist. Archived from the original on 7 February 2013. Retrieved 5 January 2017.
- "Guardian and Observer style guide: A". Theguardian.com. 23 December 2015.
- "Acorn Publications Open Style Guide" (PDF). RISC OS Open. Retrieved 30 April 2021.
- "RISC OS Open: Style Guide". RISC OS Open.
- Favilla, Emmy; Paolone, Megan (8 March 2023). "BuzzFeed Style Guide". BuzzFeed.com.
- Barr, Chris (2010). The Yahoo! Style Guide. Yahoo! Inc. ISBN 9780312569846.
- Cunningham, Helen; Greene, Brenda (2013). The Business Style Handbook: An A-to-Z Guide for Effective Writing on the Job (2nd ed.). McGraw-Hill. ISBN 9780071800105.
- Apple Inc. (July 2020). "Apple Style Guide".
- "Apple Style Guide" (PDF). April 2013. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 February 2015.
- Digital Ocean. "DigitalOcean documentation style guide". Docs.DigitalOcean.com.
- GNOME. "GNOME documentation style guide".
- "Google developer documentation style guide". Google.
- DeRespinis, Francis (2011). The IBM Style Guide: Conventions for Writers and Editors. IBM Press. ISBN 9780132101301.
- Carey, Michelle (2014). Developing Quality Technical Information: A Handbook for Writers and Editors (3rd ed.). IBM Press. ISBN 9780133119008.
- Mailchimp. "Mailchimp content style guide".
- "Microsoft Writing Style Guide". Microsoft.
- MongoDB. "MongoDB documentation style guide".
- Mozilla. "Mozilla Writing Style Guide".
- Rackspace. "Rackspace style guide for technical content".
- Sun Technical Publications (2010). Read me first!: A style guide for the computer industry (3rd ed.). Prentice Hall. ISBN 9780137058266.
- "Red Hat Style Guide". Stylepedia.net. Red Hat.
- "Salesforce style guide for documentation and user interface text". Salesforce.
- "Welcome to the Splunk Style Guide - Splunk Documentation". Docs.Splunk.com. Retrieved 3 December 2019.
- SUSE. "SUSE documentation style guide".
- "Shaw Communications". Members.Shaw.ca.
- "Scientific Style and Format Online". Scientific Style and Format Online. Council of Science Editors / Chicago University Press.
- Yin, Karen. "Conscious Language + Design". Conscious Style Guide. Retrieved 2 September 2023.
- "GLAAD Media Reference Guide". GLAAD.org (10th ed.). 25 August 2011.
- "AAE Style Guide NEW". 7 March 2015. Archived from the original on 7 March 2015.