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Some common technical writing style guides

An important tool for technical communicators in all stages of the writing process is a style guide. A Style Guide is a reference guide that standardizes the writing and editing of publications. Editorial teams use them to create consistent and well-written documents.

There are many style guides available, with some being more general and other being written to fit a specific niche.  This list names some of the most important guides available, along with its common users and usage, and a link to the website or a citation for the book. It follows some of the recommendations from the following lists:

  • Style Guide Overview from the Purdue Online Writing Lab (Purdue Writing Lab, 2021).
  • List of Style Guides from Wikipedia (“List of Style Guides,” 2021).
NameCommon UsersTypical UsageLinks and Refences
The Associated Press StylebookUS journalistsNews articlesAP Style Book, (Froke et al., 2020)  
CP StylebookCanadian journalistsNews articles(McCarten & Canadian Press, 2017)
The Chicago Manual of StyleHumanities academicsAcademic papers and booksChicago Manual of Style,  
Publication Manual of the American Psychological AssociationSocial science academicsAcademic papers and booksAPA Style Book, (American Psychological Association, 2020)
IEEE Editorial Style ManualComputer science and engineering academicsAcademic papers(Lane, 2021)
Microsoft Writing Style GuideTechnical writersDocumentation for all usersMicrosoft Writing Style Guide
IBM Style Guide: Conventions for Writers and EditorsTechnical writersDocumentation for all users(DeRespinis et al., 2012)
Google Developer Documentation Style GuideTechnical writersDocumentation for developersGoogle Developer Documentation Style Guide

American Medical Association (Ed.). (2020). AMA manual of style: A guide for authors and editors (11th edition). Oxford University Press.

American Psychological Association (Ed.). (2020). Publication manual of the American psychological association (Seventh edition). American Psychological Association.

DeRespinis, F., Hayward, P., Jenkins, J., Laird, A., McDonald, L., & Radzinski, E. (Eds.). (2012). The IBM style guide: Conventions for writers and editors. IBM Press/Pearson.

Froke, P., Bratton, A. J., McMillan, J., Sarkar, P., Schwartz, J., Vadarevu, R., & Associated Press. (2020). The Associated Press stylebook 2020-2022.

List of style guides. (2021). In Wikipedia.

McCarten, J. & Canadian Press. (2017). The Canadian Press stylebook: A guide for writers and editors.

Purdue Writing Lab. (2021). Style Guide Overview // Purdue Writing Lab. Purdue Writing Lab. .html

The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th Edition. (n.d.). The Chicago Manual of Style Online. Retrieved December 11, 2021, from

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