PD&PS follows the publisher’s supplied style sheet and written specifications for each job in production. For items not covered, we follow our established house style, as outlined below.

If we copyedit a job, and a style sheet is not supplied, PD&PS editors will generate one and supply it with the copyedited manuscript.

For additional material not covered here, we use these references:

  • Chicago Manual of Style, 14th ed.
  • Words into Type, 3rd ed.
  • Webster’s Tenth New Collegiate Dictionary

We start parts on a new recto, backed with a blank verso.

Facing pages align. Vertical justification is not used to align pages.

At least five lines of copy are held the on last page of a chapter. Pages with art or tables have at least five lines of text. If five lines will not fit, pages are run short and text pulled to next page.

When chapter or section ends with multiple-column material, the right column can be one line shorter if necessary.

We allow no widows at the tops of pages or columns. The last line of a paragraph is considered a widow no matter how long. Exceptions are one-line paragraphs or list items.

We run pages one line short, only to avoid bad breaks.

At least two lines are held after a head at the bottom of a page or column.

At least two lines of an extract, list, or other displayed material are held at the bottom or top of a page.

Space is adjusted slightly above headings, lists, extracts, (and so on,) to align pages or to avoid widows. Spacing is never adjusted below a heading.

A footnote that must break over a page carries at least three lines on the first page. A full-width 1/2-point rule is set above the continued footnote on the second page.

A footnote that ends a chapter base-aligns at normal page depth.

All front matter headings start on a new recto page.

In front matter or back matter, the main heading is used for copy on recto and verso running heads.

Figures and Tables

Numbered figures or tables are placed at the top or bottom of the page nearest the first reference where possible, and, if possible, within the area of reference before the next main heading.

When a figure takes up a whole page, the caption is set on the bottom of the facing recto page. A 1/2-point rule is set one line space above the caption, extending full text measure. Three picas space is held above the rule to text.

A chapter does not end with a figure or table, if possible.

Screen shots are sized uniformly throughout. Text and title bars on screen shots are of consistent size for all figures, if possible.

Tables, figures, sidebars, or boxed copy are set on one page, if possible. If a box breaks a page, the box is left open on the bottom of the first page and at the top of the second page. If a table, figure, or box breaks from a recto to a verso, the word “continues” sets at the bottom of the first page. If numbered, the number repeats with “(Continued)” in italic parens at the top of the verso page.

For broadside figures or tables, the running head is omitted and a drop folio is used. Broadside copy centers NSEW on type page. For broadside tables that break from recto to verso, the table number repeats with “(Continued)” in italic parens, as do the column heads, at the top of the verso page. For broadside tables that split over a spread, table number and column headings do not repeat. The table breaks evenly across the spread and both sides flush to the gutter.

For items not covered in supplied specifications, the following house style is observed.

Webster’s Tenth New Collegiate Dictionary is used for spelling and hyphenation.

No double spacing around punctuation or between sentences.

Letter spacing is not used to justify text.

Ligatures are not used.

Old style figures are not used.

A maximum of two hyphens in a row at the end of lines is permitted.

Stacks of more than two phrases or words are avoided.

Stacks of three or more letters at the beginnings or endings of lines are avoided.

We do not break words under six letters. We try to keep three letters on each side of a hyphen. (OK to set two letters before a hyphen if necessary to avoid a loose line.)

We do not hyphenate compound words.

The first line of text following a freestanding head is set flush left.

We clear for 10 in all numbered lists.

URLs always break before a period or after a slash. We do not hyphenate or break on actual hyphens within the URL.

Orphans (partial words) are not allowed to end a paragraph.


Italic is used for book and periodical titles, movies, plays, TV shows, computer games, CD titles, software, names of ships, and legal cases. We italicize references to part of an item, for example, Table 3.3 (bottom).

For titles in running text, the initial the is set lowercase and roman unless it is actually part of the title.

Quotation marks, not italic, are used for article titles, chapter titles, song titles, poems, and TV shows.

We set mathematical abbreviations (log, exp) roman and mathematical variables (x, a) italic.

Italic is used for words as words and for letters as letters.

Latin abbreviations (ibid., et al.), are not italicized.

Spelling and Hyphenation

American spellings are used. Webster’s Tenth New Collegiate Dictionary is consulted for questionable spellings.

The Chicago Manual of Style, 14th ed., is followed for hyphenation (sections 6.32–6.42).

When the words on either side of a hyphenated word are equal, an en dash is used (e.g., client–server).

We do not hyphenate African American, Italian American, and so on, even when used as adjectives.

Plurals and Possessives

Dates and acronyms add only s (1960s, SATs).

Abbreviations take an apostrophe (Ph.D.’s).

Extracted Material

Displayed extracts do not carry quotation marks.

Extracted material and quotes are enclosed in quotation marks in running text.

Single quotes are used within extracted material that is enclosed in double quotes.


United States is spelled out as a noun, abbreviated as an adjective.

Abbreviations such as "e.g.," "i.e.," and "etc." are only used within parentheses, followed by a comma, and spelled out when in text.

Versus is used in running text, vs. in tables, and v. in legal cases.


Numbers are spelled out up to 100 (sixty-nine) and in round numbers (one thousand).

Ranges of numbers are separated with an en dash.

All numbers are aligned on the decimal in tabular material.

A number is always spelled out if it appears at the beginning of a sentence.

A number is used with the word percent (50 percent).


Title case is used for all proper nouns and lowercase for generic names.

In titles and heads, all prepositions are lowercase, and the second word of a hyphenated word is uppercase.

When referring to a specific chapter or part uppercase is used (Chapter 1). Otherwise, lowercase is used (the next chapter).


Series comma is always used.

Commas and periods are placed inside closing quotes.

Brackets are used for comments within parentheses. In math, parentheses are used within brackets.

If a complete sentence is contained within parentheses the period goes inside the closing parenthesis.

Exclamation points are avoided.

Straight quotes are always used within computer code.

All punctuation following bold or italic words is set bold or italic unless marked otherwise.

Running punctuation is deleted at the ends of lines in a list.

Em dashes are closed.

Initials are closed.

Click here for a printable PDF of PD&PS House Style Guidelines.