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Using the University-wide Style Guide​ and Content Best Practices

DePaul uses a standardized Style Guide to ensure consistency in content and adherence to the university's brand and messaging. When creating copy for your site, please keep the Style Guide in mind. It is important that content on all sites is consistent to ensure clarity and unity and improve user experience.

General Mistakes

  • Degree names are seen every which way on our sites, so it's important to go through and correct improper degree name usage. Master of Arts, Bachelor of Science are correct, also master's degree, bachelor's degree. Remember: it's either the full title and uppercase, or all lowercase and possessive. 
  • Professional titles are uppercase only when they appear before a person’s name. Example: Professor Ron Swanson or Ron Swanson, professor. The prefix Dr. should be used for professionals with a medical degree and when referring to DePaul University’s president. Use Ron Swanson, PhD, for non-medical doctoral degrees.
  • DePaul University is capitalized when using the full name. Lowercase the word university otherwise. The university has 10 colleges and schools. DePaul University is located in Chicago.

Text Font and Size Mistakes

  • Please do not use fonts other than what is provided in the ribbon. 'Source Sans Pro' at 22px is the standard for regular text on a page. You may use the ribbon to bold or italicize text, but please do not change the font manually.  Other standardized styling can be applied using the Markup Styles button in the Format Text part of the ribbon: this dropdown menu lets you choose headers and other text style options.  
  • Be mindful when copying and pasting content from Word documents or other websites as it often brings the font and font size with it. To ensure the copied and pasted text is in the correct format, highlight the text and click the Clear Format button (looks like an 'A' with an eraser) in the Format Text part of the ribbon. The same goes for colored text—please do not use other font colors.​
  • Do not underline text that is not a link.
  • Do not add in-line styles to text for size or color. Please only use what is in the ribbon.
Abbreviations and Acronyms      

  • Per the Style Guide, we do not use periods in academic degree abbreviations. PhD, MA, MS, BA, BS, etc. are correct. Also, Bachelor of Arts is capitalized; bachelor's degree uses an apostrophe and is lowercase (see above).    
  • Depending on the audience of a page, spelling out a college name with the acronym in parentheses upon first reference is preferred. For example, Kellstadt Graduate School of Business (KGSB).  After that first reference, the acronym can be used. However, if the page is geared towards an outside-of-DePaul audience, the full college name is preferred for clarity. For internal, DePaul-only audiences (such as authenticated sections or pages geared toward current students), standard acronyms can be used freely. The same goes for campus buildings and facilities. Always keep the audience in mind.
Links
  • Before inserting a link on a page, make sure the URL is correct and that it will not return an error. Paste the URL into a new browser tab or window to test.
  • It is best not to use blue text or underline text that is not a link. Links automatically are blue and appear underlined when hovered over. To emphasize or call-out text, try bolding, italicizing or using a header to separate sections (found through the Markup Styles dropdown menu in the ribbon).
  • If a linked line of text is very long, it may be preferable to choose a shorter piece of text. Making a full sentence a link is not common practice and can cause styling problems or weaken user experience. Some PDFs have long titles, so it is often best to add parentheses at the end of the title and link the PDF there. For example, Long Several Word Title of The Article (PDF). More on adding links to documents can be found here.
Page Titles/URLS
  • When creating a new page,  the first thing the user does is give the page a title which is the end of the URL.  It is important that the page title or URL follows consistent formatting. All new page URLs must be all lowercase with dashes between words. For example: this page is:  http://resources.depaul.edu/sharepoint/about/best-practices/Pages/style-guide-and-content-best-practices.aspx.  It is especially important to not leave spaces—spaces automatically become %20 in URLs without dashes.
  • Please do not repurpose pages. Once a page is created with its title/URL, it is important to keep the information on that page consistent. If the content on this page was changed to be about a web part for example, the URL would not reflect that, and it would be confusing. It is also bad for SEO. Making a new page is a much better course of action.