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Writing and Copy Guidelines

office of marketing communications

When developing copy for your publication, most of the writing and editing should be done in a word processing program before the design process begins. Most word processing programs have formatting features such as indentation and bold and italic type treatments. In most cases, this formatting will not translate into a layout program and therefore should not be used. To aid in transition from writing to design, follow these guidelines.

  • Separate major sections of your document with two line breaks
  • Separate paragraphs in major sections with a single line break
  • Mark headlines and sub heads with the terms (head) and (sub head) in parentheses, and separate the whole line of text from the accompanying paragraphs
  • Print a copy of your text from the word processing program, and mark all instances of italics and other formatting
  • Spellcheck thoroughly


The end result of the writing process should be a continuous, unformatted text file that you can import directly into your layout.

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