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Style Help for a Policy and Procedure Newbie

I work for a mortgage company as a coordinator of policies and procedures. Prior to my arrival, the department had a very scant (and frankly chaotic) style guide. We’re a fledgling department, and I was tasked with developing a style standard for us to follow.


My first resource has been the Microsoft Manual of Style, and it has been FANTASTIC. I particularly love the examples and attention paid to various stylistic issues that may arise. So I’m tempted to use this as our new standard.


The style we currently use is messy. My team currently puts “non-physical buttons,” such as “Submit” or “Reset” in a form, in quotations. For physical button presses, such as any button on a keyboard or a mouse click, we use bold (Enter, Double-click, etc.). Values to be typed are set off with ‘type’ then a colon and then the value. Field names are given all caps. So, all together, it looks something like this:

In the START field, type: Y.

Press Enter.

Click the “Submit” button.


Because of this we run into all kinds of issues like what constitutes a non-physical button, how should folder names be formatted, what happens when a field name needs to be case-sensitive, etc.


The MMS suggests keeping it much simpler. So:

In the Start field, type y.

Press Enter.

Click the Submit button.


Should I move my team towards the second option? Has anyone adopted it? Does it reflect an industry standard? Or does it come down to preference? In googling, it seems some folks do it my team’s way, and others the MMS way.


Also, are there are alternative style books on the market you would recommend? Or for policies and procedures especially?

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