Centre for Continuing Education

A Course in Creating Editorial Style Guides

English. Develop your command of the English language with us.

COVID-19 update: arrangement of our courses

We are now delivering courses online and in-person. Please check the delivery format of each class before enrolling.

Please note that course materials (excluding prescribed texts) are shared electronically within 48 hours of course commencement. Printing is not available.

Learn to create your own editorial style guide in this one-day workshop. The first rule of copy editing is ‘Be Consistent!’. Whether we are editing our own copy or someone else’s, we must keep our editorial style points consistent, whether we follow ‘house style’ or create our own editorial style.

The main elements of editorial style are spelling; upper and lower casing; types of abbreviation; number style; units of measurement; uses of italics and quotation marks; bulleted, numbered and complex lists; punctuation; register (tone, voice); and avoidance of discriminatory language and graphics.

The skill of being able to compose both a simple editorial style sheet and a complex editorial style guide is invaluable for any practising or aspiring editor or wordsmith. This course is for people who write, edit and/or proofread and who want to maximise the editorial consistency of the documents they work on.

This course is useful as a follow-on to the courses Grammar and Punctuation Fundamentals, Advanced Grammar and Editing and/or Editing and Proofreading. You are welcome to enrol in this course whether or not you have completed one or all of these other three courses, or any similar course.


We want you to feel confident about the principles and decision making behind creation of an editorial style guide so you can both prioritise professional image and add value to any print or online publication, whether an organisation or an individual produces it.


By the end of this course, you should be able to:

  • explain to anyone the importance of having a consistent house style
  • explain the imperative of choosing one editorial stylepoint when two or more style points are correct
  • recognise when an issue is to do with editorial consistency rather than right/wrong polarity
  • explain the differences in meaning between commonly confused word pairs and groups
  • compose a generic (personal) or customised editorial style sheet: an A-to-Z listing of commonly recurring and unusual words and expressions in a document
  • compose a more complex generic or customised editorial style guide
  • use the most appropriate register (tone, voice) consistently
  • apply your new-found skills to both short and long documents
  • empower your colleagues and associates to create their own style sheets and style guides.


This course includes the following topics:

  • The elements of editorial style
  • The imperative of editorial consistency in the reading experience
  • Using a dictionary and thesaurus as references
  • Choosing the best option when more than one editorial style point is correct
  • Word pairs and groups that cause confusion among writers, editors and proofreaders
  • Composing a relatively simple editorial style sheet
  • Composing a more complex editorial style guide
  • Choosing which authorial voice will most resonate with your reader/s
  • Using the skill of editorial-style creation to not only add value to any print or online document but increase your chances of employment or promotion
  • Using the body of knowledge about editorial style to empower your workmates to both ‘own’ their publication projects and advance their workplace’s professional standing and competitiveness

Intended audience

Whether you are an aspiring or practising editor or proofreader, a creative writer, a business writer, a journalist or a student, you will acquire the knowledge and skills of a professional editor who recognises the deal-breaking power of editorial consistency.


You need to have acknowledged that the reader is more important than the writer and that avoidable ‘mechanical’ errors must be eliminated before a document is published, disseminated or uploaded.

Delivery style

This course is a combination of lecture, show-and-tell and workshop. Delivery is face-to-face, on University premises.


Please bring a black pen, a blue pen, a red pen and a green pen; a yellow highlighter pen; a pencil; an eraser; a ruled A4-size notepad; and correction fluid. Please bring your own laptop for note taking, if you prefer but come prepared to create editorial-style documents and complete exercises by hand.


  • Expert trainers
  • Central locations
  • Course materials – yours to keep
  • CCE Statement of Completion

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