Resources for Mines’ Policy Writers

Policy Guide Contents

1) Mini Stylebook
2) The Right Document Type
3) Mines’ Branding
4) Writing Tips
5) Resources
6) Mines’ Style-Guide (link to Mines’ location)

Mini Stylebook
Good policies are easy to read and understand. They outline expectations for workplace
or school setting. Plain language without legalese helps the reader/user:
1) find what they need;
2) understand what they find; and
3) use what they find to meet their needs
Using “Mines” as the reference for CSM, Colorado School of Mines, School, or
University is preferred. See the Mines’ Style Guide for acronyms, consistent style
information, and references. When referring to Mines as “school” or “university” do not
capitalize or use it generically in a policy document.
Correct: Colorado School of Mines is a world-class engineering and applied
science university. Mines is home to …
Incorrect: The Colorado School of Mines is a world-class engineering and applied
science university. CSM is home to…
Tips and recommendations are in the table on the next page.
The Right Document Type
• “Policy” is a strong statement of requirements and inflexible; change to policy
requires a formal review process through the Policy Office.
• “Procedures” provide the outline of workflow or process for a unit/person. They
are changeable by the Responsible Administrative Unit to stay current.
• “Guidelines” are suggestions of Mines’ best practices and should be strongly
Mines Branding
Use approved Mines’ logo in all documents. Look for the “R” in the circle to verify you
are using a current version. See Mines’ Logos link here.

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Resources for Mines’ Policy Writers

Writing Tips
Examples, Tools, or Reasoning
Documents should always have
Style function is helpful (H1, H2, H3).
Headers and Levels
Use templates provided.
Be clear about the main message:
Read your document aloud before you share
One idea per sentence and short
Long, wordy sentences or documents lose the
sentences are easier to understand.
reader. Break the sentence into separate
E.g., The policy applies to all employees.
Short, concise, language and is
Follow the procedure. Call the X office for
accessible to all users.
Avoid jargon and acronyms unless
See the Mines’ style guide for examples of
you define it well.
acronyms used on campus.
E.g., The human resources department (HR)
handles on-boarding employees.
Avoid turning verbs into nouns.
“That’s the take-away from today’s seminar.”
Use active voice rather than passive
Instead say, “The seminar take-away was…”
Avoid pictures or tables unless
Use “Alt. Text” for images or tables that are
created with accessibility tags
part of the document
Clean, organized lists are useful.
Use bullets or numbering to call out
Plain language is preferred over
E.g., Avoid “wheretofore” and “heretofore” in
the text.
Shorten prepositional phrases.
Rather than “In following the procedures…”
just say “Follow procedures…” or “Procedures
include: (list)”
Avoid excess words including those
Any and all students is not required,
that duplicate a thought.
Say “all students.”
Write in the “Active Voice” as the
Passive voice usually has a “be” verb.
person or unit performing an action.
Avoid “Shall”
use “must”, “may” , and/or “should”
Just say the information once.
Avoid restating information provided in the
background or policy statements.
Use the 12 pt. Arial font, one-inch
Cramming text together is difficult for persons
margins, and at least single spacing
with vision challenges.
in the document.
E.g., Use the template.

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Resources for Mines’ Policy Writers

Writing Tips
Examples, Tools, or Reasoning
Write for a web user looking for
a. Logical order/organization
answers to questions.
b. Informative Headers
c. Active Voice
d. Pronouns
e. Common, Plain Words (not unit specific)
f. Lists (bullets or numbered)
Consider everyone and make
Learn how to make documents or pages
documents accessible.
universally accessible for vision, hearing,
mobility, and cognitive brains.
Test text and Run Accessibility checkers
before publishing.
Run Spelling and Grammar check
Run and re-run the “Spelling and Grammar”
several times during writing process
checker. Set the preferences for “Readability”
to show grade-level.
Either 6th or 8th grade is the target readability.
Readability example:

Resources: Mines Style Guide (Communications & Administration Offices)
• (checklists)
• Dept. Energy Writing Style Guide
• Campus Writing Program LAIS
Thank you to the University of California Policy Office for permission to utilize portions
of their excellent style guide.
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Document Outline