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WRITING AND WRITERS: STYLE AND WRITING MANUALS :
UNITED STATES: GOVERNMENT: ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY:
United States Environmental Protection Agency.
EPA Communications Stylebook
EPA Communications Stylebook
Last revised 2009
EPA’s Office of Public Affairs (OPA) developed this Stylebook in 2008 and published it in early 2009.
OPA has no plans to update this Stylebook. All communications products must conform to the guidance
included in this edition. For topics or rules not addressed by this Stylebook, consult:
the AP Stylebook first
the U.S. Government Printing Office Style Manual second.
Checklist for Product Development
check list graphic
Nine steps to publication
A shorter URL for the above link:
EPA Communications Stylebook: Basic Checklist for Product Development
Last revised 2009
1. Develop Your Concept
Develop your communications product concept. Consult with your office’s communications staff,
your Product Review Officer and OPA. Early consultation leads to a better product every time.
Questions to consider: What are you trying to communicate? What are you trying to get your audience
to do? Identify your top messages. Through what means will you communicate your message and get
people to take action? The Web? A podcast? A brochure? A promotional item?
Determine if similar EPA products already exist and can simply be improved upon. For example,
if your product is intended for teachers or students, check the Environmental Education Resource Center
on the EPA Intranet.
View suggestions and helpful hints to help you avoid mistakes frequently corrected during product review.
2. Identify Your Audience
Determine the audience you wish to reach.
Are you targeting scientists, businesses, mothers, gas station owners or the general public?
Your product should suit your target audience.
How prepared is your audience to use your information? What do they need to learn in order to use the
information effectively? What do they already understand?
Learn more about structuring your communications for your audiences.
3. Develop a Distribution Plan
Develop a distribution plan that will best get your product to your target audience.
Distribution can be more complex and expensive than expected depending on the type of product you selected.
For example, a multi-page full color brochure mailed to multiple stakeholders will be more costly than a product
intended for the Web.
Find out more about distributing different types of communication materials
4. Get a Cost Estimate
Get approval from your manager and obtain funding for the development of the product, printing or production,
and for distribution. Consult with your manager and Contracting Officer/Contracting Officer’s Representative if
your product needs to be created by a contractor. Develop a cost estimate and get approval from your manager.
5. Concept Product Review
Continue working with your communications staff and Product Review Officer to enter your concept description
into PROTRAC. You must have OPA approval before proceeding further and/or incurring product development costs.
View a full explanation of the Product Review system
6. Use the Stylebook
Design and develop your communications product using the EPA Communications Product Standards Stylebook
and related guides.
View Appendix A: Bibliography and Sources for this Manual
7. Obtain a Publication Number
Contact the National Service Center for Environmental Publications (NSCEP) for a product number to identify the
originating office, the type of product, such as fact sheet or booklet, the date of publication and other factors.
Learn more about processes and forms for print publishing
8. Draft Product Review
Enter your final product into the PROTRAC for feedback. You must obtain OPA approval prior to moving forward
on production or publication.
View a full explanation of the Product Review system
This step will vary depending on your communications medium. For a Web product, consult your Web team
member and your Product Review Officer. For audiovisual products, you will likely shoot your video or record your
audio file at this time.
For print products, complete a printing request on EPA Form 2200-9 (available electronically on WebForms)
Work with the HQ or regional EPA printing offices where you will receive professional assistance to determine the
best printing practices and options for your product.
Tip: If you are planning a direct distribution from the printer to regional offices or other addresses, include a listing
of names and complete addresses and the number of copies going to each location.
More information on this topic is available in the Graphics Guide part of this Stylebook
Stacks of Printed Papers
Color vs. black and white, printing requirements, paper stocks, use of government bankcard, and more!
EPA Communications Stylebook: Graphics Guide
Last revised 2009
On this page:
Color Printing vs. Black and White
Requirements and Printing Regulations
EPA Policy Regarding Paper Stocks
Paper Savings and Standard Paper Sizes
Use of Government Bankcard for Printing/Photocopying
In-House Copy Center Duplication
Types of Communication Materials
Processes and Forms for Print Publishing
Technical Guidelines for Print Publishing
Key Printing Questions
Top 10 Things You Can Do to Create Better Printed Documents
This section of the EPA Stylebook describes standards for the creation and development of graphic elements of
most EPA public information materials. In covering most of the categories of graphic elements, we, in turn cover
a broad range of considerations and activities associated with producing those elements. Specifically, this section
Such basic aspects of graphics work as typography, layout and composition
More advanced levels of work, such as color scheme, appropriate uses of charts and graphs and effective
employment of illustration and photography
The relationship of design to overall message content and the message content of design, itself
On many levels, the general category of graphics work involving logos and related symbols, especially the use of
official EPA identifiers in our own communications and those done in cooperation with other governmental and
Design is, itself, communication and carries a message. While good graphic design is aesthetically pleasing its
function is to communicate, not simply decorate or attract attention to verbal content. In typography, graphic
considerations literally cannot be separated from text, but in all respects verbal and design elements should work
together. Variously they complement or supplement a message that might not be conveyed by either element alone.
Perhaps least interesting, but most important, is that good graphic design, generally following an appropriate style,
is a preeminent factor in the economics of communication. Good graphic design saves money in the direct costs of
production and the often much higher costs of time and labor.
As with most of this stylebook, the information in this section is helpful in itself, but also should be read in connection
with the EPA Communication Product Review process.
Sometimes applying general principles can be a bit of a balancing act, but there is no real conflict among any of the
general guidelines for actual production work in our communications. They are:
Effective communication the totality of this manual is about that
Efficiency / cost efficiency
Good quality / best professional practices
Ecological soundness including sustainable production practices
EPA Administrative Orders and Policies (detailed all throughout this manual)
Government Printing Office (GPO) rules and guidelines (NOTE: GPO Stylebook is being revised through 2008-2009.
EPA is not obliged to follow it in all cases, but as a matter of policy follows closely because it represents an
excellent compendium of good production practices.)
By federal government standards EPA does not have a large budget, so considerations of cost-efficiency and
cost-effectiveness must be relatively high on our scale of priorities.
In sheer numbers, most EPA communications products tend to be print materials. No medium is better than another
in any general way. The best medium and format is the one that is suitable and appropriate to convey its message to
its target audience in an effective and efficient way. Print is an important focus for our work.
Internally, the Office of Public Affairs and the Printing Management Office closely coordinate their work through the
Communications Product Review process and the EPA Printing Guidelines. As an EPA communicator, you should
know the procedures and processes of those offices before undertaking a public communication print project.
Other media have fewer broadly established requirements in federal agencies. Largely the requirements for EPA
communications are the same as the professional and commercially accepted standards of the various media from
promotional products to broadcasting to exhibits and displays.
Color Printing vs. Black and White
Many color considerations from a production standpoint are based on the assumption that materials are produced
on a printing press. Most large quantity printing jobs are must be done that way. Color considerations from a design
standpoint, or for small quantity jobs (e.g., color photocopying) might not apply, at least not as strictly, or in the
same way. A tricky element that is involved here is that work which begins in desktop publishing software, perhaps
intended as low-volume production, might become more involved, difficult and costly if you decide to take it to
large-scale production later.
Using color is an important consideration for large quantities that are to be run on a press. In those circumstances
the cost is usually much higher to produce in color. The simple addition of one or two colors will increase costs
noticeably. The use of full color (See glossary: process color, four color) will raise costs even more noticeably.
A principle that should apply from a design standpoint that can affect production significantly is that the use of color
should promote effective communication. Mere cosmetic or decorative qualities are among the very least important
reasons to employ color. Where they are the only reasons, to the extent that they increase costs, they are reasons
to choose a less colorful design.
Note that standard black (or blue) ink is a color, so, for example a two color job would be black plus one other color;
not two colors in addition to black or blue.
See Section 18-2 of GPO s Printing and Binding Regulations for categories of multi-color printing as having
demonstrable value to the government.
As a rule of thumb, if an audience is seeking the information contained within, and needs no further motivation to
read it all, nor direction to specific parts of the document, then one color probably will suffice. That is a simple
principle that applies mainly to instances in which color is used simply to guide the eye of the reader and does not
function in terms of content, as such. If color is needed for clarity, identification, or efficiency, or if the audience is
likely to want the information but unlikely to seek it out, or read it easily then two or more colors could be appropriate,
especially if the document concerns public health or consumer issues.
This rule-of-thumb guidance is not official policy and should not be relied on without confirmation
from EPA s Printing Management Office.
If more than two colors of ink are required on a page, a written justification is to be submitted to the Agency printing
officer citing the applicable GPO criteria described above.
Requirements and Printing Regulations
Use of Employee Photographs
Photographs of EPA staff should be reproduced when they:
Relate entirely to the transaction of public business, and are in the public interest
Relate directly to the subject matter and are necessary to explain the text
Do not serve to aggrandize any individual
Are in good taste and do not offend proper sensibilities
Are restricted to the minimum size necessary to accomplish their purpose
Illustrate employees actually engaged in an act or service related to their official duties
Unless a publication is specifically designed to highlight employees (such as an awards ceremony program),
mug shots of executives, managers or staff should not be included in publication. Employees may be photographed,
as appropriate to the message, in performance of their duties. In fact, that can be an excellent message in the right
Despite the restrictions cited above, the use of illustrations to enhance the communication of information in
publications is encouraged. The following guidance should prove beneficial.
When using one or two colors, photographs especially photographs of people look best if printed in black ink
When using multi-color printing, all colors must be specified as proportions of process inks
(Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Key or black) and not using numerous Pantone ink colors; specifying with Pantone
ink numbers could result in using more than four colors of ink
Keep illustrations as simple and uncluttered as possible
Electronic-Design Print Publishing
The goal of this section is to provide best practice guidance to originators who create publishing products via desktop
computers. No specific instructions are given for creating the perfect electronic file, but suggestions are provided to
simplify the process and minimize potential problems. The art and science of producing printed publications using
commercial offset lithography or the digital method requires different structured files. As an example, the colors
produced by these reproduction means are very different and often limited compared to desktop printing.
Understanding the requirements and limitations of commercial reproduction will definitely affect the final cost.
Platform: Electronic files should be created using either the Macintosh OS 10.2 system or later or Microsoft s
Windows OS 2000 or XP. The Macintosh is the primary platform used by the print publishing industry and thus using
this process often results in fewer problems and typically with lower overall costs. Either platform is acceptable, however.
File Submission: Files can be submitted on any commercially-established media, such as a CD or DVD. If submitting
a DVD, make sure that the format of the DVD drive used by the end user is the same format as the DVD drive used for
recording. Note: DVD-RW drives only record on R and RW discs, and DVD+RW drives only record on +R and +RW
discs. Make sure your blank DVD disks are compatible with your drive. The minus format is the most popular format
for Windows users and is almost universally accepted by Mac users as their standard DVD recordable format.
Commonly-Accepted Publishing Software: The following programs are the preferred programs of the commercial printing
industry. Files created using the following software output with fewer problems than files created in programs not
designed for print publishing (such as word-processing software, i.e., Microsoft Word ). Other programs could be used,
but unless they support prepress functions (e.g., CMYK and Pantone color, trapping, bleeds, crop marks and color
separation), problems will likely occur. Originators who use programs other than those listed below should supply
high-resolution, press optimized PDF files (press quality, CMYK, and embed all fonts when saving the files as a PDF)
and also include the native files on the CD.
Page Layout: Adobe InDesign, QuarkXPress, Adobe FrameMaker
Drawing/Illustration: Adobe Illustrator, Macromedia FreeHand
Image Manipulation: Adobe Photoshop
Page Layout: Adobe InDesign, QuarkXPress, Adobe FrameMaker, Adobe FrameMaker
Drawing/Illustration: Adobe Illustrator, Corel Draw, Macromedia Free Hand
Image Manipulation: Adobe Photoshop
File Formats for Print: Furnish files in native format. For example, using a Windows version of InDesign, the file will be
saved with an .indd extension. Using the save feature of most publishing software creates a native application file.
If the Adobe Acrobat Portable Document Format (PDF) file format is used, the submitted file must be created properly.
The PDF must contain embedded fonts, graphics, color data and layout structure. Also, design elements must contain
appropriate information, e.g., color space, fonts, resolution, in order to be output properly. PDF files created specifically
for web use might not output well for print publishing due to resolution, color and other issues. PDF files for press output
must be created using the appropriate settings in Acrobat Distiller, not through the PDFWriter. PDF files created using
the PDFWriter are not acceptable for print publishing. Information for instructions on creating high quality PDF files can
be found at many Web site, including Adobe, PDFZone and PlanetPDF. Information is also available from GPO s
Institute for Federal Printing and Electronic Publishing. Also, please note that bleeds cannot be obtained from a PDF file.
PostScript files, commonly referred to as print-to-file or print-to-disk, are similar to PDF files in that they are designed as
self-contained, platform independent, print-driver files, e.g., contain fonts, graphics and layout structure. The majority of
GPO s vendors prefer not to receive PostScript files because they often contain output limitations specific to the print
driver used to create the file. Also, if PostScript files are submitted, EPA will be responsible for any PostScript errors
encountered during output.
File Formats for Deliverables: Whenever a document has been printed through GPO, EPA can request that a digital
deliverable be furnished to the Agency. This deliverable can be formatted for online use or for future reprinting. It is up to
the originator to determine the desired format for the digital deliverable. Sample formats are listed below.
Hypertext Markup Language (HTML): This is the most common format for creating web pages. HTML can be exported
from most programs used for layout. HTML files are readily searchable and are best use for publications that do not
require a high degree of document structure (e.g., formatting, graphic fidelity and page structure) and are not required
to visually match the printed version. If links, formatting, graphics/animation, hand coding, etc., are required, these
features can be time consuming and costly.
Acrobat PDF: This is the most common format for presenting documents online or subsequent reprinting. PDF files
are relatively easy to create and when printed to an office printer, product design and page formatting are maintained.
However, the type of digital deliverable PDF that is requested is determined by the desired use press or online.
Press PDF: A press-optimized PDF should be requested for subsequent printing. These PDF s contain embedded
fonts, graphics, color data, and layout structure.
Online PDF: A screen/web optimized PDF is used for online viewing or printing from an office printer,
NOT FOR PRESS.
Fonts: PostScript Type 1 fonts is the printing industry standard. The entire font set (Macintosh printer and screen
fonts; Windows .pfm and pfb files) should be provided. Only include the font sets used in the job and not your
entire font collection. Font files that contain features such as kerning and tracking MUST be provided. Fonts such
as True Type and OpenType fonts may be used, but most commercial print vendors prefer files using PostScript
fonts. Do not mix font types.
One way to avoid font problems with graphic files is to convert all type matter in the graphic to either outlines,
paths or curves, depending on the software. Keep in mind, however, that once converted to outline/path/curve,
text is very difficult to edit.
Printing in Color: Any file requiring four-color process separations must be submitted in CMYK only. Do not submit
color files in RGB. Any file requiring spot-color separations should be defined by the proper spot-color Pantone
number and identified as spot colors for output. When printing in grayscale black ink, any color information should
Note: When RGB (red, green, and blue pixels) is converted to CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow and black) for process
printing, a color shift will occur. RGB colors are used for electronic display (computer monitor, TV, projector screen, etc.),
NOT FOR COMMERCIAL PRINTING. Word processing software such as Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and Corel
WordPerfect use RGB and are not designed for CMYK output.
Note: When specifying Pantone spot colors, be aware that coated Pantone colors are not the same as uncoated
Pantone colors. Since EPA only uses uncoated paper, be sure that all specified Pantone numbers are uncoated,
i.e., Pantone 462U and not Pantone 462C.
Color visuals that are furnished with the electronic files which have been output from office printers are not a good
representation of the final printed product due to the physical differences between ink in traditional printing; inks,
toners, and dyes in digital printing; and the colorants used in desktop color printers and their calibration. Also,
printing proof colors might not be a good representation of the actual colors on the printed product due to the final
product being printed on recycled paper.
Scanning Images for Digital Printing: Scan all images (color and grayscale photographs) at a resolution of 300 pixels
per inch at an input-to-output size ratio of 1 to 1. For example, a 3 x 5 inch original photograph that is to be printed
at 3 x 5 inches should be scanned at 300 pixels per inch, where the same photograph to be printed at 6 x 10 inches
should be scanned at 600 pixels per inch. All other enlargements and reductions are similarly proportional. Scan all
line art as bitmap images with a resolution between 800 and 1200 pixels per inch, based on the same 1 to 1 ratio.
Scanned images should be saved as uncompressed TIFF or EPS files. Images should be cropped, rotated, and
scaled prior to placement into the page layout file, which is best accomplished in the image manipulation program,
not in the page layout program. Also, working in layers whenever possible with raster images makes corrections
much easier to achieve.
If using a digital camera to capture images for print publishing, avoid using the compression schemes built into
digital cameras. If compression is necessary, use the lowest possible (highest quality) compression option available.
Always save images from digital cameras as TIFF files before editing and submitting for printing. Also be aware of color
shifts with images from digital cameras. The RGB color data (JPEG) could cause the on-screen view and color printer
appearance to differ from the printed output. Requesting contract color proofs should show any color shift problems.
Linking Files: All files must be linked properly. If using Adobe InDesign, use Place to establish external links.
Using the Edit menu to cut and paste graphic files between programs could yield unacceptable results cutting and
pasting color images from Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel, can cause output problems such as color shift and
system crashes. If graphic files have been modified in an originating program after placement in the page layout file,
they MUST be updated (relinked).
Proofing: The furnished visual (output from desktop/office printer) is used as a general guide, not as a proof. It is not
a suitable proofing medium due to the physical differences between: (1) ink in traditional printing; (2) inks, toners,
and dyes used in digital printing; (3) colorants used in desktop color printers; and (4) calibration of the color printer.
If the furnished files contain any errors, print vendors are not obligated to verify that their output will match the
supplied visual. For this reason, it is wise to get proofs for all jobs supplied on electronic media.
Extraneous Images: Do not include non-imaging files or files that are for position only on the production disk.
If they have been included, be sure to indicate that they DO NOT PRINT. Non-printing images can cause confusion
and might cause the file to fail.
Gradients: To avoid problems with banding, gradients should be properly created. Gradients should generally range
from 3 to 97 percent for offset printing (avoid using 0 and 100 percent), where digital printing requires a higher
percentage in the highlight.
Tint Screens: Never use fine-detail tint screens (under 5 percent). Fine-detail screens appear acceptable when
imaged to desktop printers (300-600 dpi) but virtually disappear when imaged at higher resolutions. As a general
rule, start with 10 percent and increase in increments of 10 percent. If possible, avoid any screen higher than 90
Rules: Never use rules that are less than .5 point. Hairline rules appear acceptable when imaged to desktop printers
(300-600 dpi) but virtually disappear when imaged at greater resolutions.
Bleeds: Bleeds are to be provided by the originator and must be included in all files that image off the final printed
page. As a general rule, allow 1/8 inch minimum for any bleed.
EPA Policy Regarding Paper Stocks
All printing paper products used by EPA are to meet the standards of the New Environmental Standards for EPA
Paper and Publications, which was set forth by the Deputy Administrator in his memorandum of January 2001.
This standard for paper requires the use of 100 percent recycled paper with a minimum 50 percent post consumer
fiber content. Printing will be done using vegetable-based inks and process chlorine free paper. The Deputy
Administrator also directed that all EPA internal and external publications prominently display the recycled logo
with a statement indicating the recycled paper content, processed chlorine free, and using vegetable-based ink.
EPA documents and publications must be printed on paper stocks that can easily be recycled. Therefore,
litho-coated, matte-coated, and dull-coated paper stocks are not acceptable for use in EPA documents.
Paper Savings and Standard Paper Sizes
Because of the costs of paper, shipping, mailing and printing, in most cases copy should be single-spaced.
All publications should be printed front and back. Consider appropriate paper-saving techniques, such as combining
tables and figures with text on one page and reduce and crop figures and photographs to a smaller size consistent
with clarity. The Joint Committee on Printing established standard paper sizes for government printing. A few sample
sizes mandatory for EPA publications include: 17 by 11 inches, 8-1/2 by 11 inches, 5-1/2 by 8-1/2 inches, and 8
by 3-5/8 inches. These sizes can be cut from larger sheets with a minimum of waste resulting in cost-savings
Grammar, Punctuation, Spelling, Vocabulary, Syntax and Usage
On this page:
Introduction – Writing Style in General
What is the EPA Writing Style?
Abbreviations, acronyms, ampersands, bylines, credits, capitalization, disclaimers, numbers, spelling –
one word or two, and more.
Structure and Style Recommendations
How to Structure Communications
More Elements of Style
The Substance of Style
Introduction – Writing Style in General
This section of the stylebook outlines EPA’s writing style. Generally, writing style comprises grammar, punctuation,
vocabulary, syntax and usage. Stylebooks can go beyond that, into narrative style, even identifying organizational
and human values to be reflected in communication.
In our basic style, EPA employs the significant work that has been done for us and for millions of other readers
and writers by the Associated Press (AP), one of the largest communication services in the world. In the great
majority of cases regarding grammar and usage, EPA follows the AP Stylebook, which you can view online in
HTML or PDF format.
Our rights agreement with AP strictly prohibits EPA staff from downloading hard copies or individual pages of our
on-line AP Stylebook. It is a large volume with over 700 pages, and you can purchase hard copies from the AP
on-line shop or at a local bookstore. Since it is a relatively low-cost item, the AP Stylebook can be obtained
through the small purchase authority of most EPA offices. You are of course free to peruse the manual online;
you simply cannot download or print the book. We hope that this much shorter and free EPA stylebook can
act as a “cheat sheet” for you.
In our academic courses, many of us learned writing styles from such widely used manuals as Strunk and White,
Turabian and the Modern Language Association. These are the manuals that taught us the style commonly called
Others of us were guided in academic and professional careers by respected styles such as those of the American
Psychological Association, American Bar Association, American Nurses’ Association and a number of others.
Those styles convey useful ideas and are employed well beyond the immediate membership of their groups, but are
not broadly oriented to the wide variety of public interests and audiences that EPA must reach.
A final point about style in general: It is not a restriction on creativity. The most creative organizations in the world
have style manuals. Many of them run hundreds or thousands of pages. The most successful book publishers in
New York, animation studios in California, and package designers in Chicago have style manuals. They are designed
to help organizations communicate in a clear and consistent way. Staying on the road, after all, does not keep you
from arriving at the destination.
What is the EPA Writing Style?
Short answer: Associated Press (AP)
Longer answer: Keep reading
This section of the EPA Stylebook will help you uphold the general and distinctive qualities that define EPA’s writing
style. At its core, EPA style is simply the AP Stylebook.
AP style is what the general public is accustomed to seeing because it is the official stylebook of the newspaper
industry. As noted earlier, EPA has an online subscription to the AP book on our Intranet. AP updates its stylebook
to accommodate changes in conventions and usage.
View the AP Stylebook online.
View a guide to frequently asked questions about AP style Exit
This section of the EPA stylebook covers basic issues of grammar, punctuation and usage. This is the core of our
style and mostly dictates requirements and rules. Think of this section as the bricks and lumber to build your house.
This might not be the actual house, but without good materials and the proper structure, your house will fall apart.
Style Notes to Remember
The following are requirements of basic punctuation, grammar and usage of EPA writing which modify, supplement,
or in some cases reiterate AP style. They are important points that we want you to remember. These areas include:
Spelling – one word or two?
Words and structure – fixing some common mistakes
Writing for kids
Abbreviations – Always spell out “United States” when it appears as a noun. “Southwest” is one word; it is abbreviated
“SW” like all other compass points. As an adjective, “U.S.” is acceptable. State abbreviations: Abbreviation is only
appropriate in long lists, addresses, and when used in conjunction with the name of a city, town, village or military base
in that state. Per the AP Stylebook, use non-Postal Service abbreviations like “Ala.,” “Ariz.,” “Ga.” and “N.M.” in
conjunction with the name of a city, town, village or military base. Eight states are not abbreviated in text: Alaska, Hawaii,
Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Ohio, Texas and Utah. Use the two-letter Postal Service abbreviations only with full addresses,
including the ZIP code.
Acronyms – Acronyms are acceptable as long as they were spelled out the first time they appeared.
In addition, the acronym “EPA” is a proper noun; it should be used by itself without “the” in front. For example,
a sentence should begin “EPA will …” instead of “The EPA will …”
Ampersands (&) – Use ampersands only when they are part of a formal name (e.g., C & O Railroad)
or when space is at a premium.
Bylines and Staff Credits (see also later section: Self-aggrandizement ) – GPO printing and binding regulations state:
“The printing of government employee bylines in government publications shall be confined to the authors of articles
appearing therein, and to the photographers who have originated the pictures contained therein.”
In this connection:
Byline refers to any name listed for credits as opposed to employee names integral to the text itself.
Author applies to an individual who has conceived of, created, or is responsible for a text or section thereof.
Author cannot be extended to cover supervisors, managers, advisors, staff committee or workgroup members and
other such contributors, who may, however, be listed under “acknowledgments.”
You can acknowledge other non-contractor organizations or individuals representing them, although acknowledging
an organization alone typically suffices. Contract numbers can be listed, but not the names of contractor staff members.
Using the name of the contractor firm is discouraged and should only be used for a specific reason. EPA is solely and
entirely responsible for the work of its contractors. Once published, all contractor work is officially ours.
A page for acknowledgements is permitted; as appropriate encouraged, but only acknowledgements – not thanks,
not dedications, gratitude, nor congratulations. The work belongs to EPA and EPA does not use the resources of
American taxpayers to publish thanks or congratulations to our employees for doing their work. Acknowledgements
can and in some cases should indicate which EPA staff offices or staff members produced the work.
Acknowledgements are especially helpful in indicating particular reliability of authors and their credentials and providing
resources the audience may contact for supplemental information.
Capitalization – Do not capitalize terms such as waste management, disposal, pollution prevention, non-governmental
organization, legislation, project, offices, endnote, and sector, and do not capitalize chemical names like lead,
mercury, or dioxins. In titles and lists, capitalize only the first word, proper nouns, and other words that would normally
be capitalized. Do not capitalize the first letter of each word or all letters.
Agency/agency – capitalized when the Agency refers specifically to EPA, as opposed to a generic organization.
Federal, local, native, natives, state, states, tribal, tribes – lowercase unless they begin a sentence or form part of
an official title: Cherokee Indian Tribe. Lowercase when used alone and in plural form: U.S. states, the Sioux and
Navajo tribes. Lowercase the adjectives tribal and native unless they are parts of a proper name: tribal art, Hopi tribal
leaders, Ojibway Tribal Council, Virginia native. Note that Native Americans, American Indians, Indian Country and
Alaskan Native Villages should be capitalized.
Internet – a proper noun; capitalize it.
Region, regional – capitalize it when referring to a specific EPA regional office: “EPA Region 10 is responsible for…” or
“EPA Regions are responsible for…”. Do not capitalize it if you are referring to a geographic region: “The New England
region was hit with heavy snow…”
Section, article – not capitalized, even when referring to one part of a law or regulation: “OGC interprets section
1502(b) to mean…”
Title – capitalized when referring to a part of a law or regulation; not capitalized otherwise: “OGC interprets
Title 41 to include…” but “The brochure’s title should be revised.”
Web – according to the AP Stylebook, capitalize web when it refers to the World Wide Web, as in “the Web”
or “Web page.” Note, however, that per the AP Stylebook website, webcam, webcast, and webmaster are single,
Disclaimers – Documents that include articles by non-EPA employees expressing their own opinions require the
following disclaimer: The material in this document has been subject to Agency technical and policy review, and
approved for publication as an EPA report. The views expressed by individual authors, however, are their own, and
do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Draft documents require the following disclaimer: This text is a draft that has not been reviewed for technical
accuracy or adherence to EPA policy; do not quote or cite
Documents that refer to particular companies, trade or service names, product names, or other commercial
references require the following disclaimer: Mention of trade names, products, or services does not convey
official EPA approval, endorsement, or recommendation.
Diversity – Diversity is an important issue that should be considered in the development of every communication.
Gender Bias – Use gender-neutral words. Consult sources like the U.S. Department of Labor’s Dictionary of
Occupational Titles or Rosalie Maggio’s book The Nonsexist Word Finder. View Web-based guidance
on plain language writing .
Numbers – Per the AP Stylebook, spell whole numbers below the number 10, but use figures for numbers
10 and above. Common exceptions to this rule include a 5-year-old girl, 3 percent, 6 cents; another common
exception is that a number at the beginning of a sentence should be spelled: Twelve program offices and all
10 regional offices think OPA is a pain in the wazoo.
Passive/Active Voice – Use active voice as much as possible. Writing is much more lively and interesting to
read in active voice. Passive sentences are often, although not always, written in past tense, and the actors
are obscured. For example, “mistakes were made.” By whom? Active sentences are strong, clear, simple and
Passive: “A cleanup plan will be issued this summer.”
Active: “EPA will issue a proposed cleanup plan this summer.”
Plain Language – Along with all federal agencies and departments, EPA must use plain language in our
communications with the general public and those specialized groups to which Agency communications
are often directed. Plain language is communication your audience can understand the first time they read
or hear it. Plain language is defined by results-it is easy to read, understand, and use. Additional guidance
is available from the General Services Administration’s Language Network on the Internet at
(See also below in Key Elements of Structure.)
EPA logo usage and policies
Using the EPA seal and logo
View the entire Stylebook
Abbreviations 18, 65
Acrobat PDF 60
Acronyms 18 65
Action Orientation 22, 33
Active Voice 20,29
Agency Printing Officer 82
Anchor Elements 63-64
Articles Published in Referenced Journals
Assistance Agreement 95
Associated Press (AP) Stylebook 17, 32
Audiovisuals 73, 74
Authorities and Legal Information Guide 89, 100
Authors Under Contract 94
Available Colors 84
Back Matter 67
Bankcard Usage 63, 84
Bitmapped Graphics 85
Black & White Printing 58
Body of Report 66
Book Chapters 70
Borrowed Ideas 30
Business Cards 71, 72
Bylines and Staff Credits 18
Camera Backdrops 74, 75
Camera Copy Printing 80
CD Duplication 70
Checklist for Product Development 10-11
Children’s Documents/Sites 21
Chronological Structure 28-29
Clear Space for Logo 41
Color Film Separation 86
Color Ink Approval 84
Color of Logo 42
Color Page Charge 83
Color Printing 58, 61
Color Requirements 84
Color Splits 86
Commercial Products 98
Communication Materials 68
Communications 105, 106, 111
Comptroller General Opinion 82
Computer Software and Data Copyright 97
Conference Proceedings 98
Contractors Works 94
Cooperative Agreements 94
Copy Center Job 84
Copyright Announcement 99
Copyright Contractor 95
Copyright Materials 95
Copyright Notices 99
Copyright Protection 93
Copyright Trademark Laws 93, 95
Copyrights of Grantees 94
Cost Estimates for Print Jobs 82
Depth for Children 21
Disclaimer of Endorsement 19, 100
Disclaimer of Liability 100
Document Preparation for Printing 81
Document Typing 85
Draft Product 97
Dramatic Structure 29
Electronic Design and Prepress (EDPP) files 81
Electronic Document Making 81
Electronic File Printing 80
Electronic-Design Print Publishing 59
Elliptical Sentences 26
Emphasis on Skills Building 22
Employee Photographs 59
Endorsements 19, 39
Energy Star 93
EPA Assistance Agreements 94
EPA Contracts 94
EPA Form 1900-8 82
EPA Form 2200-9 82
EPA Graphic Standards System 40
EPA Printing Manual 82
EPA Publication Number 64
EPA Publication Numbering System 77-80
EPA Writing Style 17
Ethical Conduct 39
Exclamation Marks 24
Exhibits and Displays 75
Extraneous Images 61
Fact Sheets 69
Factors of Fair Use 96
Fair Use Doctrine 96
Federal Acquisition Regulation 94
File Formats for Deliverables 60
File Formats for Print 60
File Submission 59
Finance and Operations law office 97
Fonts 60, 61
Foreign Government Copyright Notices 99
Four-Color Process 84
Front Matter of a Book 65
Gender Bias 20
Government Printing Office (GPO) 81
Government Works 94
Governmental Sanction 39
GPO Form 82
Grantees Works 94
Graphic Elements 57
Graphic Standards System 40, 45
Hierarchy of Interest 28
Hip Language 30
In House Printing 63, 81
Incomplete Sentences 26
Incorrect Logo Usage 43
Individual Authors 94
Ink Color Guide 84
Instructional Soundness 22
Jewel Case Inserts 70, 71
Joint Committee on Printing 82
Journal Articles 70, 82, 98
Journal Copyright 82
Key Points 28
Key Selling Point 28
Linking Files 61
Logical Structure 29
Logo Policies 39-45, 84
Logo Usage 41-43, 84
Logos for Partnerships 48-50
Macintosh Platform 60
Main Theme 28
National Technical Information Service 95
Non-EPA Related Logos 84
Notice 97, 99
Novelty Items/Giveaways 71, see web page
http://www.epa.gov/stylebook (Section on Novelty Items)
Office Identification Codes 78
Office of Public Affairs 84, 111
Page Charges 82
Pantone Matching System 84
Paper Savings 62
Paper Sizes 62
Paper Stock 62
Parallel Construction 27
Passive Voice 20
Paying for Journal Article Page Reprints 84
PDF Files 81
Peer Review 63, 76
Permission Letter 95
Personal Graphics Logos 84
Photographs of Employees 59
Pictures of Children 97
Plain Language 20,28
Podium Signage 74, 75
Positive Statements 29
Post Doctoral Program Employees Notices 99
Poster Presentations 72, 73
Price Estimates for Printing 84
Print and Web Publishing 100
Print Collateral Materials 70
Print Examples for Partnerships and Programs 50
Print Promotional Materials 70
Printing and Binding Regulations 82
Printing Control Officer 82
Printing Electronic Files 84
Printing Job Guidelines 80-86
Printing Management Office 82
Printing Q & As 84
Printing through outside Printing Company 84
Printing Top Tips 85
Process Suggestions 31-32
Processes and Forms for Print Publishing, 76
Procurement Request form 84
Procurement Request/Order 82
Product Review 76, 84
Product Review Checklist 10-11
Professional Page Layout 85
Project Reports 69
Promotional Products/Giveaways 71, see webpage
http://www.epa.gov/stylebook (Section on
Public Communication Documents 93
Publication Numbering 11, 77-80
Published Papers 70
Publishing Software 59
Punctuation Pointers 24-25
Purchasing Reprints from Journal 83
Questions and Answers for Printing 84-85
Quotation Marks 25
Regional Offices 19,20
Reports 31, 69
Reports Notices 99
Reproducing Colors 84
Required forms for Camera Copy Printing 82
Research Reports 68
Rhetorical Structure 29
Samples of Publications with EPA Logo 51
Scanning Images 61
Seal Usage 44
Second Person 29
Self-Aggrandizement 30, 59
Selling Point 28
Sentence Length 28
Service Mark (SM) 93
Smart Way 93
Split Infinitives 27
Standard Paper Sizes 62
Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the
Executive Branch 39
Structure of the Publication Number 77
Style Notes 18
Submit Document for Printing 81
Summary of Communications Structure 28
Tint Screens 62
Title 19, 21-22, 27-29
Title Page 65
Top Ten Printing Tips 85
Trade Names 98
Trademarks (TM) 93, 95
Two-color Printing 82
Type Codes 79
Use of Copyright Materials 95
User’s Guides 69
Vector Graphics 85
Web 19, 21
Web Forms 82
Web Server and Multimedia Copyright 100
Windows Platform 60
Words and Structure 22-24
Works for Hire 94
Writing Basics 105
Writing for Kids 21
Writing Style 17-20
Other Sections of the Stylebook
Authorities and Legal Information
Training and Education
Who’s Who and Networking Through EPA Communications
Appendix A – Bibliography and Sources for this Manual
Appendix B – Glossary
(215) 204 – 4584
RESEARCH PAPER WRITING
DISABILITIES AND EMPLOYMENT
PUBLIC HEALTH RESOURCES INCLUDING EBOLA
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