What is a style sheet? And why use one?
A style sheet is a document editors and authors use to record all the style decisions they make for a particular manuscript, often different from those found in a style manual or in-house style guide. They inform the author and editor about spelling choices, punctuation, numbers/dates, capitalization practices, abbreviations, and so on. You can also use it to list characters names, acceptable dialogue tags, formatting choices, hyphenated/unusual compound words, and foreign words, as well as anything unusual that should be noted.
For example, an author of a science fiction book may decide that the computer’s dialogue is always in Courier font and underlined. Another example might be the spelling of “okay”—perhaps the author wants “okay” to be always written as “OK.”
A style sheet is important because it:
- ensures consistency—in both text and design;
- maintains the author’s voice;
- provides a reference for anyone working on the manuscript; and
- can be used for all the books in a series.
Here is a sample of a style sheet that you are welcome to use: