Style Sheets

Spring is here! Thank you for your patience while I play with this new colour feature in WordPress.

What Is a Style Sheet?

The most basic tool for editing, and one of the most practical, is a style sheet. Most of the time the editor creates this and shares it with others. A style sheet is a table or document used to track our decisions, so it is an essential tool for consistency in spelling and style.

More Work?

Normally editors track the decisions that are not covered by the house style or ones that conflict with the house style, perhaps due to a specific discipline’s style conventions or a writer’s preferences.

It is good to be thorough, but not so thorough that the style sheet becomes it’s own editing project.

But Why?

In addition to clarifying the spelling of tricky words, the style sheet reminds us of the types of changes we made in earlier parts of the document.

  • Did the writer use italics or bold for key terms?
  • Which heading level did we use in the table in Module 1?
  • Which terms did we capitalize?

All these choices are recorded in one place, so we don’t have to look them up each time. It makes editing easier since we don’t have to remember everything to be consistent throughout the document. It is also helpful as a reporting tool, since writers or course developers can quickly review the changes we’ve made without scanning through the entire document.

Format your document in whatever style works for you. I usually make it an online document (e.g., Google Docs) to share it with others, but many editors build a style sheet on paper or in a Word doc.