This page contains the style guide for creating, editing, and maintaining content on IEEE sites. The following are style and usage guidelines for text, images, multimedia, and other page elements.
Using trademark symbols
Trademark symbols must be included along with a trademarked product name the first time it is mentioned on a web page.
Use the appropriate trademark symbols: unregistered (™) or registered (®) after the full name of the trademarked product. (Example: IEEE Xplore® Digital Library.)
The trademark symbol must only appear upon first usage on the page and need not appear every time the product name is mentioned on that page.
Provide the source of all content that is not original once permission for publishing has been obtained. Or instead, link directly to the source. It is mandatory to provide credit to the original source.
Do not use content from another site (including IEEE sites) without permission. For example, do not use Google images found through search without permission of the owner.
When "IEEE" is part of the name of a product, publication, service, Society, or other title, it should never be dropped. This applies to first and subsequent references. (Examples: IEEE Xplore®, IEEE Spectrum, IEEE Computer Society).
Note: The following styles are implemented on IEEE.org.
|Commonly used word list|| || |
|Comma in 3+ word series||Serial comma (e.g., "Red, yellow, and blue wires")||Regular comma (e.g., "Red, yellow and blue wires")|
|Dash vs. em dash usage||Colon or em dash where necessary (See Hyphens, en dashes, and em dashes guideline in Content writing strategies section below for usage.)||Regular dash (See Hyphens, en dashes, and em dashes guideline in Content writing strategies section below.)|
|Numbered lists||1., 2., etc.||1) or (1)|
|Spacing around slashes||Close up any spaces (e.g., and/or)||Use spaces (e.g., and / or)|
|Educational degrees ||Use periods for abbreviated degrees rather than spelling out in full. (e.g., M.S., Ph.D.). Capitalize fields of study when referring to degrees only (e.g., Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering)||BS, MS, PhD in electrical engineering|
|Tone||Third-person language for IEEE (also see References to IEEE for branding, tone, and voice section below)||First-person language (we, us, our) for IEEE (also see References to IEEE for branding, tone, and voice section below)|
|Dates||Months in dates spelled out to avoid ambiguity (4 September 2015); do not abbreviate month if possible||Numerals (4/9/15 US or 9/4/15 international)|
|Reference to people with disabilities||Use "people-first" language where the person is identified prior to the disability (examples: "user with visual disabilities" or "person who uses a wheelchair")||Disabled, handicapped, wheelchair user, etc.|
|Testimonials||Edit small grammatical mistakes||Testimonials with mistakes|
|Reference to names of people on second reference||Use last name only on second reference (add title if source prefers)||First names on second reference|
The page titles of all IEEE digital pages should be in title case. All words four letters or more get capitalized, as do any nouns, pronouns, verbs, or adjectives. Any hyphenated word will require a capital letter after the hyphen in titles (for instance, Pre-University).
Section headers, form fields, and all other page content should be written in sentence case. Only proper nouns and titles should be capitalized.
Punctuation of the following commonly-used IEEE terms is as follows:
| || |
International writing conventions
If you know your audience consists of people for whom English is not a first language, use international styles for dates, times, phone numbers, currency, language, etc.
Use the following formats:
|Phone numbers|| |
|Seasons||Use the month or quarter of the year to refer to dates, not the season. |
|Time zone|| |
Time zone: Use local and UTC (e.g., 2:00 p.m. ET/18:00 UTC-05). Use ET (Eastern time) all year instead of EST or EDT. Use the same for CT (Central time) and PT (Pacific time). Use periods and lowercase letters in a.m. and p.m. Use colons in both local time and UTC.
To easily convert local time to UTC, use a time conversion calculator. (Click MX if using worldtimebuddy.com.) Be sure to select the appropriate date, as daylight savings affects time conversion.
|Currency||When referencing to US currency, include a “US” in front of the dollar sign (e.g., US$25). Do not include decimal point and cents if the number of cents is 0. |
|Humor and colloquialism||Avoid using puns, clichés, popular expressions, and jargon in your writing.|
Amount of content
The primary measure for amount of content on a page should be based on the purpose it serves.
Use short pages (those containing one or two screens of text at most) for the first few levels of a site where users are scanning for link choices. Use longer pages (those that require more scrolling or reading) deeper within the site where the content can be printed and read later.
For very large sections of information, consider creating a supporting document (Excel, Word, PDF, etc.) and linking to it from the page rather than displaying all the information directly on the page.
Timeliness of content
Keeping accurate and timely content establishes credibility for IEEE as a trustworthy source of information.
Content for the digital platform versus for print
Do not simply move print content onto your digital pages. Instead, write concise content that the user can read quickly and efficiently.
Print versus online
If your content is likely to be read online, create shorter pages that are cross-linked. If your content is likely to be printed, create one long page.
Determine your page’s potential audience members. If your audience is international, follow international style rules for greater understanding. All content for IEEE.org must be written in English.
Context and orientation
Let the user know where he or she is on every page. Establish the topic by using a unique page heading.
Include a clear and concise introduction where possible.
Link to background information where necessary.
Use the following methods to increase scannability:
• Use shorter (50–80 characters per line) rather than longer line lengths (100 characters per line)
• Use left alignment for headings, subheadings, and text
• Link where appropriate
• Use lists rather than paragraphs wherever possible
• Include only one main idea in each paragraph
• Put the most important information at the top
• Start the page with the conclusion as well as a short summary of the remaining content
• Use headings where applicable
• Never use capitalization (CAPS) for emphasis
• Use short, simple words that are to the point
• Be concise and focused
For longer pages, use the following tools to make the page easily scannable:
• Anchor links
• Subheadings and relevant links
• Bulleted copy; view how to format a bulleted list on IEEE.org (PDF, 70 KB)
• Meaningful graphics, or pull quotes, to break up larger blocks of text
• End links
Effective use of lists
When presenting your content in a list format:
• Use numbered lists when the order of entries is important.
• Use bulleted lists whenever the order of the entries is not important.
• Generally, limit the number of items in a single list to no more than nine.
• Generally, limit lists to no more than two levels: primary and secondary.
When using a number between zero and ten, spell out the number (e.g., "three" or "ten").
When using any number higher than ten, use the numeric version (e.g., "12" or “300”).
British spellings and terminology
Change all British spellings to American spellings where applicable. This includes "toward" (US) vs. "towards" (UK), "among" (US) vs. "amongst" (UK), etc.
Adhere to standard grammar and punctuation rules when it comes to pluralization of typical words.
The plural of calendar years does not take the apostrophe before the “s.” For example, the plural form of 1990 is 1990s.
Hyphens, en dashes, and em dashes
Use the hyphen to combine words and to separate numbers that are not inclusive.
Use the en dash to represent the words “to,” “through,” or “and.” Use it between page numbers, years, names, a range of values, or for opposites. When using the en dash to represent a range, if the word “from” occurs, the word “to” must be used rather than the en dash (e.g., “ranges from 11 to 50 times”).
Use the em dash to mark a suspension of the sentence, or like a parenthesis, to mark a subordinate thought within a sentence.
The following guidelines should be used:
To ensure content is recognized and indexed correctly by online search engines, all sites should include the following metadata elements at minimum:
Metadata descriptions (meta name=”description” field)
Page titles (TITLE tag)
A web form is a web area where users can enter data that is sent to a server for processing. A web form resembles paper forms because users fill out the forms using check boxes, radio buttons, or text fields. A form could be used to collect many different types of data such as member, personal, and/or financial information.
Tables can be used to present a large amount of data in an easy to understand format.
Tables should only be used to present tabular data / information and not for layout purposes.
Title / caption:
This is brief descriptive text that is placed before or after the table to explain the contents of that table. Example: Comparison of membership benefits When tables are placed along with other copy (Example: Between two paragraphs of text), they should have a clear and concise title or caption to explain the purpose and context of the table. Captions should not duplicate existing copy such as section headers or page titles when placed directly below such page elements. However, captions are required for data tables regardless of placement. Headers: Each row/column must have a self-explanatory and brief header to aid understanding of content.
Copy within the table:
Text copy must be left aligned. Numeric content should be right aligned. All other content guidelines apply to copy used in tables to aid scanning and readability as much as possible.
References to sourced tables:
If tables from other sources are used, sources should be cited below the table.
Content and pages can be formatted in several ways to ensure ease of use and readability for users. For this, think through your material and create logical divisions and subdivisions based on the structure of your information. You should not arbitrarily divide your information simply to conform to acceptable page length. The following guidelines can aid in structuring your content.
Show importance or priority by:
Show relationships between content by:
For more tips on making content more scannable, see the Scannability section below.
Advertising on IEEE digital pages should be contextual to the site's purpose and should be used sparingly.
Advertising on IEEE.org is restricted, but it is allowed on other IEEE sites.
Contact the Digital & Creative Innovations team, firstname.lastname@example.org, with any questions regarding advertising issues on IEEE sites or advertising on IEEE.org.