The University of Oxford Style Guide aims to provide a guide to writing and formatting documents written by staff on behalf of the University (or one of its constituent departments etc). It is part of the University’s branding toolkit, which enables the University’s formal documentation to be presented consistently across all communications.

Objectives of the Style Guide

We have three main objectives in writing this style guide:

  • to provide an all-purpose guide to consistent presentation for the University in written communications
  • to review the guide termly, ensuring that it properly reflects modern usage and is fit for purpose, and to update it as required
  • as part of the review process, to invite proposals from members of the University who disagree with any existing guidance, and to act as an arbiter on those cases.

How the guide is arranged

The Style Guide is intended to be read online, where it can be cross-referenced.

Each term, we will update the Style Guide and highlight on the main webpage what has changed that term (or that nothing has changed – we are not anticipating changes every term).

We also provide a pdf version for download, which can be printed out if a hard copy is required; please check the term on the pdf’s footnote to be sure you have the latest version (the guide is updated at the end of each term so your copy should always be dated the previous term).

What is/is not included in the Style Guide

  1. How to use the guide
    • You can search for a specific term (such as semicolon) – note that the search function is only currently available in the PDF version.
    • You can browse through a section (such as Punctuation).
    • You can link to sections of the guide from your own webpages or bookmark sections to return to.
  2. The guide does not tell you how to write – just how to be grammatically correct and how to ensure consistency across your own writing as well as that of others who are writing on behalf of the University.

Changes to the Style Guide pages for Michaelmas term 2012

There have been updates and changes to every section of the Style Guide this term. We have also added the following sections: