We are very happy to announce that the Microsoft Manual of Style, Fourth Edition (464 pages, ISBN 9780735648715), has shipped to the printer.
The Microsoft Manual of Style provides essential guidance to content creators, journalists, technical writers, editors, and everyone else who writes about computer technology. Direct from the Editorial Style Board at Microsoft—you get a comprehensive glossary of both general technology terms and those specific to Microsoft; clear, concise usage and style guidelines with helpful examples and alternatives; guidance on grammar, tone, and voice; and best practices for writing content for the web, optimizing for accessibility, and communicating to a worldwide audience. Fully updated and optimized for ease of use, the Microsoft Manual of Style is designed to help you communicate clearly, consistently, and accurately about technical topics—across a range of audiences and media.
This book will be available for purchase soon. For now, here is a list of the contents as well as an excerpt from the book’s Introduction.
Chapter 1: Microsoft style and voice Principles of Microsoft style Bias-free communication Anthropomorphism Parallelism Chapter 2: Content for the web Make the right content choices Text for the web Video content for the web Blogs Community-provided content Evaluate your content Help users find your content International considerations for web content Accessibility considerations for web content Legal considerations for web content
Chapter 3: Content for a worldwide audience Global English syntax Machine translation syntax Terminology and word choice Technical terms Jargon Latin and other non-English words Global art Examples and scenarios International currency Time and place Names and contact information Fonts Web, software, and HTML issues Legal issues with worldwide content Additional globalization resources
Chapter 4: Accessible content Accessibility guidelines and requirements Accessible webpages Accessible writing Accessible graphics and design Acceptable terminology
Chapter 5: The user interface Windows user interface Windows Phone user interface User interface elements Ribbons, menus, and toolbars Webpage controls, dialog boxes, and property sheets Backstage view Control Panel Messages Other user interface elements Modes of interaction Mouse terminology Key names Content for multiple platforms User interface text User interface formatting
Chapter 6: Procedures and technical content Procedures Document conventions Cloud computing style Reference documentation Code examples Security Command syntax File names and extensions Version identifiers Out-of-band release terminology Protocols XML tag, element, and attribute formatting HTML tag, element, and attribute formatting Readme fi les and release notes
Chapter 7: Practical issues of style Capitalization Titles and headings Microsoft in product and service names Lists Tables Cross-references Notes and tips Numbers Dates Phone numbers Time zones Measurements and units of measure URLs, addresses Names of special characters Art, captions, and callouts Bibliographies and citations Page layout
Chapter 8: Grammar Verbs and verb forms Agreement Voice Mood Nouns Words ending in -ing Prepositions Prefixes Dangling and misplaced modifiers
Chapter 9: Punctuation Periods Commas Apostrophes Colons Semicolons Quotation marks Parentheses Hyphens, hyphenation Dashes Ellipses Slash mark Formatting punctuation
Chapter 10: Indexes and keywords Indexes Keywords and online index entries
Chapter 11: Acronyms and other abbreviations How to use acronyms and other abbreviations Table of acronyms and other abbreviations How to use abbreviations of measurements Table of abbreviations of measurements Process for adopting new acronyms or abbreviations
At Microsoft, the guiding principles for how we communicate the ideas and concepts behind our technologies, software, hardware, and services have remained the same over the years: consistency, clarity, and accuracy, and our desire to inspire as well as inform. However, change occurs rapidly in the world of technology, and so do the ways we talk about technology. Even expert editors need a set of vetted guidelines that keep them up to date and protect them from making the same decisions repeatedly or in isolation. This edition of the Microsoft Manual of Style is about standardizing, clarifying, and simplifying the creation of content by providing the latest usage guidelines that apply across the genres of technical communication—1,000 decisions you don’t have to make again.
A style guide is by nature a work in progress. Despite the evolutionary nature of a reference project like this, the time is right to make this version of the Microsoft Manual of Style available outside Microsoft. This edition includes guidelines for the wired and global audience, cloud computing, publication on devices, social media, search engine optimization (SEO), and the natural user interface (NUI). It also provides guidance for the many ways Microsoft writers and editors communicate about technology today, including web content, blogging, video, and more.
Gesture guidelines for the natural user interface (NUI) introduce what have been non-technical words such as flick, pinch, and tap into the realm of technical documentation. Terms from gaming, such as achievement and badge, make their way into the general vocabulary of technical communicators who are exploring social and interactive media. Other changes directly reflect shifts in the technology we write about. For example, the first version of the manual included abbreviation guidelines for kilobyte (abbreviated simply as K) and for megabyte, but not for gigabyte. In the world of cloud computing, we now include terabyte (TB), petabyte (PB), and on up to yottabyte (YB), or 1024. Other entries reflect the way that rapid technological change has affected our everyday language. While the Third edition maintained the hyphen in e-mail and the status of Web as a proper noun in Web site, the ubiquity of these terms in our daily lives has accelerated the adoption of the more streamlined email and website. And of course many new terms and concepts have emerged since 2004, such as app, cloud, and sync, and many popular new acronyms too, such as IM, PC, NUI, and SEO.
Although this Fourth edition aims to include as many relevant neologisms as possible and to represent the most current thinking of senior editors at Microsoft about their usage, a printed manual is, by necessity, a snapshot. As always, style is a matter of convention and consensus; the guidance offered here does not describe the only correct way to write. Discerned through research and ongoing conversation within our company, these guidelines reflect the current state of our discussions about these concepts and terms.
You may notice that examples are labeled as “Microsoft style” and “Not Microsoft style” rather than as “Correct” and “Incorrect.” We don’t presume to say that the Microsoft way is the only correct way. It’s simply the guidance that we follow in our workplace. In sharing it with others, we hope that the decisions we have made for our content professionals will help you in your own efforts to promote consistency, clarity, and accuracy.
■ Microsoft style and voice This chapter highlights the shift toward a lighter, friendlier tone in Microsoft content, with succinct guidelines for writing in the Microsoft voice.
■ Content for the web This chapter can help you decide which type of web content best suits your intended audience. It offers guidance for the creation of effective text, video, and audio for the web and includes information about optimizing your content— including blogs and wikis—for readability, search engines, and social media.
■ Content for a worldwide audience This chapter refl ects the pervasive internationalization of information in the software industry. The Microsoft Manual of Style now includes substantial information about writing for a global audience. “ International considerations” sections throughout the manual call attention to issues of localization, global English, and machine translation.
■ Accessible content This chapter includes the latest guidance on accessibility for content, and how to describe accessibility features in software and hardware products and services. “Accessibility considerations” sections throughout the manual call attention to these concerns.
■ The user interface (UI) This chapter includes content for the NUI and Windows Phone UI, and features illustrations of touch and gesture guidelines. To help you write about the user interface in new ways, there are guidelines for writing content
■ Procedures and technical content This chapter includes topics on document conventions, cloud computing style, and other general technical issues. It also includes new guidance about reference documentation and code examples for software developers, making the manual a more relevant resource for all content that is created for this audience—from websites, to Help, to software development kits (SDKs).
■ Practical issues of style This chapter provides page layout guidelines and guidance for common style problems such as how to format titles and headings, lists, and numbers.
■ Acronyms and abbreviations This list contains acronyms and abbreviations that are commonly used in the software industry and a table of abbreviations of measurements.
■ Grammar, Punctuation, Indexes and keywords These chapters cover grammar and punctuation guidelines relevant to Microsoft style and provide resources for indexing content.
■ Usage Dictionary This section includes individual guidance for more than 1,000 technical terms.
The first part of the manual includes general topics that are organized by subject. The alphabetical usage dictionary follows with guidance about usage and spelling of general and computer-related terms. Topics provide information ranging from a simple note on the correct spelling of a term to a thorough review of what to do, why to do it, what to avoid, and what to do instead, with frequent examples.
Italic is used to call attention to words or phrases used as words rather than as a functional part of a sentence. For example: It is all right to use sync as an abbreviation for the verb synchronize. Examples of usage appear in quotation marks.
The Microsoft Manual of Style does not cover all terms or content issues that are specific to various Microsoft products and services. In addition, because legal guidelines change quickly and cannot be applied internationally, the Microsoft Manual of Style does not include content about legal issues.
Any chance of a Kindle version?
Yes, you'll see a Kindle version. RTM just means that we released to manufacturing. The ebook versions (PDF, ePub, Mobi/Kindle) and print version will be released in the next month.
Our department purchased the fourth edition and assumed that it would include a CD like previous editions did, but it did not. How can we get a hold of a CD version? We have multiple people in our department who need to access this manual, so we need an electronic version as well.
Hi Kathy - multi-seat licenses can be obtained at a reasonable price by contacting our distributor, O'Reilly Media. Here's the information you'll need:
Contact Leslie Crandell for more information.
Senior Corporate Account Manager
O'Reilly Media Print Books & CD Bookshelves
US Sales-Corporate, Academic, & Government
Phone: (800) 773-6450
Fax: (925) 673-8567