Style Guides

“In character, in manner, in style, in all things, the supreme excellence is simplicity.” —Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

One of my word-nerd editorial passions is style guides. I know the Chicago Manual of Style and the Microsoft Style Manual for Technical Publications (MSTP, now known as the Microsoft Manual of Style or MMS) back to front, and know the Associated Press Style Manual and the Modern Language Association Style Manual pretty well. I’ve also used the American Medical Association Manual of Style. I collect style guides, and love to create them for new teams and projects, or to create style sheets for particular publications or websites (I tend to follow Chicago for this website). I even created a widely used proprietary software tool, working with a software programmer, that automated the application of Chicago and MSTP style choices in Microsoft Word files. The following are a few favourite online style guide resources:

The following is a selection of printed style guides I own, not counting a bookcase full of books on English usage, grammar, and more:

  • The Associated Press Stylebook +

  • Browns Index, Bruce Brown (chiefly for typography)

  • The Careful Writer, Theodore Bernstein

  • The Chicago Manual of Style (it celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2006)

  • The Desktop Style Guide, James Felici (chiefly for typography)

  • The Elements of Style, Williams Strunk, Jr. and E. B. White +

  • The HP Editorial Design System: An Introduction

  • Modern Language Association Handbook for Writers of Research Papers +

  • Modern Language Association Style Manual + +

  • Shipley Associates Style Guide, Lawrence H. Freeman and Terry R. Bacon

  • Wired Style: Principles of English Usage in the Digital Age +

  • Xerox Publishing Standards: A Manual of Style and Design

But wait, there’s more! Have a look at the late Bill Walsh’s “The Slot” and have some fun on Twitter with the Fake AP Stylebook.