Style Guide

Below are detailed instructions for suggested formatting in policies that are uploaded to the Policy Library. If you would prefer to have the Policy Office assist with formatting, please send us your draft. We are happy to support every stage of policy development, including formatting!

General Formatting

To ensure that the Policy Library content is consistent, easy to navigate, and visually appealing, we have some tips on styling/formatting your policy as you add it to the site.

We’ll provide some general formatting tips that apply to the majority of fields you’ll work with on the site, and then we’ll go over a few specific fields that have unique properties.

First, if you are pasting information from Microsoft Word, be sure to use the Paste as Plain text or Paste from Word buttons.

Image of the Paste as plain text button in the content editor toolbar Image of the Paste from Word button in the content editor toolbar

Often, if your policy has a significant amount of unique heading, bulleting, or outline formatting, it is easiest just to do Paste as Plain Text, because the site’s formatting for those features is too different from Word’s style for it to transfer properly.

Spacing

The CMS will apply the correct amount of spacing between paragraphs automatically; you will not need to add extra spaces between paragraphs.

Links

It is now considered common practice to hyperlink the title of the page or document being linked to, rather than pasting the full URL (web address) of the link into the policy text. For instance, instead of displaying and linking this text: https://policy.ku.edu/assigning-urls-new-policy-library-documents, the preferred convention would be to instead hyperlink the title of the page or policy – Assigning URLs to New Policy Library Documents. This ensures that visitors know what the link they are clicking will take them to, and avoids cluttering up the page with sometimes quite messy URLs, making it less disruptive to the flow of ideas in your content.

To add links to your content, type the title of the page you will link to, use your mouse to highlight the full title, then click the Link button in the Content Editor’s menu bar. If the link is going to another Policy Library page, leave the Link Type as Internal, and start typing the name of the Policy Library page. When it populates the list of possible pages, select the appropriate one by clicking on it. Next, click on the middle tab, Target, and use the drop-down list to change the target from <not set> to New Window (_blank): this means that when someone clicks on the link, it will open in a new tab or window, rather than opening in their current tab and taking them away from the Policy Library page they are currently viewing.

If linking to a page outside of the Policy Library, follow the same steps, but change the Link Type to URL, and paste the full URL of the website you want to link to in the URL box. Remember to click on the Target tab and change the target to New Window (_blank).

Formatting Tips for Specific Fields

Title

The title field does not allow rich text formatting – in other words, when pasting a policy’s title into the Title field, formatting such as bold, italics, and underline will not be preserved on the site.

List of Sections Included

The List of Sections Included field is essentially a Table of Contents to be used for longer policy documents. Here, you can list the primary pieces of your policy. This section is typically utilized for longer documents that would be improved by providing links to specific parts of the policy text instead of requiring readers to scroll through a lengthy text to get to the section they need.

To include a list of sections within your policy document, simply list the relevant policy sections you would like to highlight. Policy Office staff can provide assistance with adding anchors to the corresponding Policy Statement text, and “jump down” links to the anchors for each item in the list.

Policy Statement

If your policy needs to use an outline / numbered structure, we recommend the layout

Image of the standard outline structure recommended for use in Policy Library documents

We recommend this particular structure because it is the default in the Drupal system. If you create a numbered list, it will automatically start with roman numerals. It will automatically progress to each of the styles listed above each time you use the Increase Indent button.

Image of the Increase Indent button in the content editor toolbar

We have found that other formats require special coding, which can be a challenge to maintain.

Formatting such as bullets may not transfer well from Microsoft Word to the CMS. We recommend removing extra spacing and bullet symbols before pasting your policy content into the site, and then reapplying the bulleted formatting using the Bullet List button in the content editor.

If the text of your policy contains references to specific policies, statutes, laws, websites, etc., please try to include links to those whenever possible, to ensure that those reading the policy can access that information. If certain parts of text within the policy require emphasis, we discourage the use of all caps, and instead recommend using Bold or Italics.

Contact

The recommended format for providing contact information is:

Position Title (not name) of appropriate department official
Department Name – University of Kansas
Building Name
Department address (street address, and room number)
Lawrence, KS 66045-xxxx
Phone number (main department number, not individual’s extension), in format ###-###-####
E-mail (for department, not individual), hyperlinked

Ideally, contact information should be single spaced. As this is difficult to achieve in Drupal, Policy Office staff are happy to do this for you.

Background and Related Documents

If you are adding links to any of the Related fields, we recommend doing so as hyperlinked text as described above (rather than displaying the full URL text), keeping in mind to set the link to open in a new window.

Definitions

Use the Definitions field to provide definitions/explanations for any terms that are specific to your policy or may be unfamiliar to visitors to the Policy Library. Use bold formatting on each term to be defined, separating the term from the definition with a colon (also bold) and a single space, as shown below.

Term/phrase being defined: Definition text.

Review, Approval & Change History

Use this field to record the history of the policy and any changes throughout its existence. Ideally, the first entry or entries would include a brief description of the stakeholders, groups, or individuals who reviewed/vetted the policy initially, and the full chain of approval that the policy traveled, including the official who gave the final approval, with related dates wherever possible. Any subsequent reviews, approvals, or updates should be included in this field as well, with corresponding dates.

The entries should be in reverse chronological order, keeping the most current and therefore most relevant updates at the top, with the notes on the initial development of the policy remaining at the bottom of the list. The format should be:

MM/DD/YYYY: Description of update

For example:

07/16/2014: Technical edits – updated the format of Contact and Policy Statement, updated references to ‘Office of Research’ to reflect recently updated title.
02/03/2014: Prior to final approval, this policy was developed by the Office of the University Registrar and reviewed and endorsed by the deans, SenEx, AP&P, the University Registrar, and the Vice Provost for Enrollment Management.

Suggested Tips for Content

Consistent capitalization standards

  • Always capitalized:
    • Terms such as 'Unclassified Professional Staff,' 'University Support Staff,' etc.
  • Always lower-case:
    • ‘non-exempt’ and ‘exempt’ as they are used to refer to employee classifications are always lowercase
  • Dependent on context:
    • Certain titles ('dean,' 'provost,' etc.) should only be capitalized when referring to a specific individual

Standard notations

  • Times:
    • ‘a.m.’ and ‘p.m.’
  • Numbers:
    • ‘40’ instead of ‘forty’; this is especially important when a policy is discussing something such as hours in a work week, as readers will likely be expecting the numeric form, not written out.
  • Hyphenated:
    • 'Non-reappointment'

Referring to specific degrees

Abbreviations should be formatted as follows (without periods):

  • BA
  • BS
  • MA
  • MS
  • PhD

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