How do you like your copy supplied?

Jonathan Gledson

New Member
Does anyone know of any authoritative guidelines for contributors on how to structure their documents in MS Word. I'm thinking about the correct use of Styles, heading levels etc so that when we designers get text it's not just all "Normal" or no style with manually added formatting for headings, subheadings, bold, italic etc. which takes ages to format properly.

I'm actually looking for a way of suggesting this to everybody we work with, without sounding like I'm accusing them of doing things wrong... An authoritative sounding source would be more persuasive!

As well as speeding up the traditional design process, it would make it easier to convert documents to digital formats like epubs by replacing styles with html tags.

This shouldn't be too much trouble if you provide then with blank word docs/templates which then have exactly the same style names as those of your InDesign or Quark docs then they will be preserved when the copy is imported back into your docs. It really depends how accommodating the copywriters/clients are to your input, some will be happy to help any streamlining of the workflow others won't understand/or like the significance and carry on regardless. Often the best way to modify workflow in this way is to appeal to the person overseeing the copy providers – getting them to see the benefits of a faster turnaround can do wonders in making your life easier.
I agree with above. Create a template and supply clear instructions as to how your contributors should use it to submit copy. I've done this on projects in the past where there has been multiple contributors. Once I explained that it was easiest way organise and format the copy they'd supplied, they were happy to use it.

Pitch the idea as a means to improve productivity, rather than a telling off. People are more likely to respond in the positive way, especially if you supply the template for them.
Good advice.
Whether they use the styles properly or not is another thing.

Other things I would advise would be:

"No double spaces after a full stop!"
"Only use 1 tab space (even if it doesn't look right)!"
"Don't use multiple spaces in place of a tab!"
"Only press return once after a paragraph!"

I'm sure there are many others. However, supplying a blank Word document is a good start. :thumb:
Depends who you're working with but my experience tells me that there are loads of people out there who still struggle with the styles panel in MS Word. With that in mind, I ask for the following:

Keep text as unformatted as possible: only use caps, bold or itallic styles, etc. where you want them to be carried over into the artwork. If you're using headings, subheadings, etc., make sure I can understand the hierarchy and, if in any doubt (or if you think I might be left in any doubt), write instructions in longhand and highlight them.