Style

Technical writing is highly functional. What is important is to let readers get what they want promptly.

Element of style

  • The words you choose
  • The way in which you put a sentence together
  • The length of your sentences
  • The way in which you connect sentences
  • The tone you convey

Here are a few tips of a clear writing style

  • Typeface:This must be clear and readable by older and younger people. Never distort text by making it curvy or giving it shadows. Twelve point Arial is a good font option.
  • Layout: Left align text. Don’t justify it.
  • Colour: Use black text on a white background. Don’t emphasise words by writing them in a different colour.
  • Images: Photographs and illustrations brighten up text. With a caption they also help readers understand what you are trying to say. But don’t use cartoon type images – they look unprofessional.
  • Spacing: Use one space after full stops and commas.
  • Line spacing: Leave two spaces between the title of your work and the text. Leave one space between each paragraph.
  • Paragraphs: Keep them short. Long chunks of text are off-putting and difficult to read.
  • Long printed documents: Break these up into sections. Use headings and page numbers. Always start the document with a short summary and include a contents page.

Style Guide

Different types of writing and audience may require different style. Some style guides are very helpful:

Harrop, P. 2010. North Lincolnshire Council Style Guide. North Lincolnshire: North Lincolnshire Council

European Commission Directorate-General for Translation. 2010. English Style Guide: A handbook for authors and translators in the European Commission(6th ed.).Available athttp://ec.europa.eu/translation/writing/style_guides/english/style_guide_en.pdf