Style Guide for Internal Documentation

A Technical Style Guide
for Internal Documentation

Collaboration is key when putting together any Style Guide, but especially when creating a style guide for internal documentation projects.

When searching for sample projects I could add to my portfolio, I knew I didn’t want to create another how-to article. I write articles of every style and substance already, and most can be found on my websites or on Medium.

I wanted something different

I’ve created style guides for internal use before, and it bothered me that all the style guide examples I found to guide us were mainly for public-facing needs, like website style guides or brand style guides. Where was the internal documentation love?

So I decided my first project should be to put a template together for a style guide that teams could use for internal documentation projects.

How to Use This Style Guide

This Internal Documentation Style Guide Template provides internal teams with consistent rules, best practices, and guidelines for creating and managing internal documentation. In addition, it includes sections on tone and voice, formatting, language, grammar, spelling, images, and internal references/links.

You can use this with the [[Internal Teams Style Guide Questionnaire]] to create an MVP Style Guide for your internal teams with your company’s customized information.

About this Guide

This guide was born out of my need to show I know a few things about being a technical writer, organizing information, and completing projects. I decided instead of writing a how-to article or doing something simple, I wanted to do a proper project.

Then I decided to go one step further and make it helpful for others who might also need a Technical Style Guide. I’ll be updating this space with additional ways to use this project (and grab the raw files under a Creative Commons license).

Why a Special Technical Style Guide?

When putting together any Style Guide, copy-and-paste solutions alone don’t work. For externally focused style guides (like for marketing purposes), you have to consider the company’s brand voice; for internally focused style guides (like internal documentation), you also have to consider the company’s internal culture and voice.

Go through each section and determine whether it’s needed for your internal documentation efforts and whether you need to adapt or customize it further. Then, look for words or phrases wrapped in brackets ‘[ ]’ throughout, as those words and phrases need to be customized.

One final note:

It’s important to remember that each internal team’s needs are different. What works for one may not work for another. So you can use this guide as a starting point and adapt it to meet the needs of your internal teams.

Once you have a more specific style guide in place, remember to share it widely with everyone in the company. Using this as a starting point for your internal Style Guide, you can ensure that all of your internal content is consistent, accurate, and up-to-date.