A style guide is a set of standards for the writing, Typesetting, and design of documents. A book-length style guide is often called a style manual or manual of style ( MoS or MOS). (Typical examples include The Chicago Manual of Style and the AMA Manual of Style.) A short style guide, of several pages or several dozen pages, is often called a style sheet, although that term also has multiple other meanings. The standards documented in a style guide can be applied either for general use, or be required usage for an individual publication, a particular organization, or a specific field.
A style guide establishes standard requirements to improve communication by ensuring both within a document, and across multiple documents. Because practices vary, a style guide may set out standards to be used in areas such as punctuation, capitalization, citing sources, formatting of numbers and dates, table appearance and other areas. The style guide may require certain in writing style, usage, language composition, visual composition, orthography, and typography. For academic and technical documents, a guide may also enforce the best practice in ethics (such as authorship, research ethics, and disclosure) and compliance (technical and regulatory). For translations, a style guide may be used to enforce consistent grammar choices such as tenses, formality levels in tones, and localization decisions such as units of measurements.
Style guides are specialized in a variety of ways, from the general use of a broad public audience, to a wide variety of specialized uses, such as for students and scholars of various academic disciplines, medicine, journalism, the law, government, business in general, and specific industries. The term house style refers to the styling defined by the style guide of a particular publisher or other organization.
Professional reference style guides from different countries give authoritative advice on their language and how to use it, such as the New Oxford Style Manual from Oxford University Press, UK and The Chicago Manual of Style from the University of Chicago Press, US; Australia and Canada both have style guides created by their governments which are available online.
A short style guide is often called a style sheet. A comprehensive guide tends to be long and is often called a style manual or manual of style ( MOS or MoS). In many cases, a project such as one book, academic journal, or monograph series typically has a short style sheet that cascades over the somewhat larger style guide of an organization such as a publishing company, whose content is usually called house style. Most house styles, in turn, cascade over an industry-wide or profession-wide style manual that is even more comprehensive. Some examples of these industry style guides include the following:
Finally, these reference works cascade over the orthography norms of the language in use (for example, English orthography for English-language publications). This, of course, may be subject to national variety, such as the different varieties of British English, American English, Canadian English and Australian English.
Style guides that cover usage may suggest ways of describing people that avoid racism, sexism, and homophobia. Guides in specific scientific and technical fields cover nomenclature, which specifies names or classifying labels that are preferred because they are clear, standardized, and ontology sound (e.g., taxonomy, chemical nomenclature, and gene nomenclature).