15 golden rules
Here are 15 of the most useful points to remember from our Style guide.
1. Borders and boxed text
Avoid using boxes, especially with tints as this makes the page hard to read. Use borders in moderation to avoid the page looking cluttered.
2. Bullet points
Bullets are very useful for displaying lists and breaking up large sections of text.
3. Capital letters
Only put the first letter of titles into capitals, not the first letter of every word to avoid pomposity and make it easier to read. Therefore use "When to use capital letters" rather than "When To Use Capital Letters."
4. Corporate identity
Remember to use our corporate logo and Hantweb address (www.hants.gov.uk) on all covers and title pages. See our corporate identity website for more information.
Dates should be written with the number only and not with any additional letters, eg 28 February rather than 28th February.
All emails, including internal, should be in Arial 12 point and show the person's name, job title, department, telephone and fax number, and email address in the same way as other communications. If you are on the Hampshire Public Services Network, please also include your HPSN number.
7. Emphasising text
Underlining looks untidy and is difficult to read. Use bold to highlight a particular word or phrase.
8. Fonts and type sizes
We recommend that you use Arial for body text and headings when producing documents in Microsoft Word. Documents should use a minimum of 12 point type size to comply with the Equality Act and 16 point for large print.
9. Internet addresses
In printed documents, internet addresses should be expressed in bold only, and not be coloured and underlined as is the standard in the web environment.
10. Letters (and other stationery)
A set of corporate templates - for letters, memos, fax cover sheets, agenda, reports and minutes - is available in Word and Hantsfile, see Learn.IT for more information. Different departments may use slightly different templates, however, they should all comply with the corporate house style.
Single numbers from one to nine are usually spelt out in full, while figures are used for 10 upwards. Always use figures with commas and decimal points. Spell out large numbers if necessary, eg one million instead of 1,000,000.
12. Our name
Hampshire County Council should always be quoted in full on any external literature, including addresses. We are a single organisation so sentences should say "Hampshire County Council is ..." rather than "Hampshire County Council are ..." It should not be abbreviated to HCC.
13. Plain English
This is writing that conveys its meaning clearly and concisely to its intended audience with the necessary impact and appropriate tone of voice. It uses everyday words that the audience will understand wherever possible. Messages are planned carefully to avoid long-winded language and implied criticism of the reader.
We all have our own style of punctuation but the general rule is to use just enough for clarity. The most straightforward approach is to read a sentence aloud to yourself and add punctuation to explain the pauses you would make if you were speaking.
15. Text alignment
Our corporate style uses left-aligned text, ie it is aligned to the left margin but has a ragged right margin. This is less formal than fully justified text and avoids the need for hyphenation.