Style Guide

InDesign is a powerful program capable of quickly styling a document. In order for me to get the best use the styling tools, this style guide should be followed as closely as possible. While this does create extra work for you, it will ultimately result in a better product and faster turnaround.

A Note on Tags

I use tags to determine which parts of the text should be formatted. When adding tags to your document please make sure that you are consistent in their use and that all tags have both a beginning and ending markup (excluding header and inline tags). Doing so will ensure a faster process.

Document Formats

I will only accept .doc, .docx, .rtf, and .txt file types, as these are the only major file types recognized by InDesign. When at all possible I prefer a plain text (.txt) file with all markup tags added. This will ensure that no extraneous styles get imported into the document.

Basic Formatting

When writing the document please do not tab paragraphs or put in additional line breaks or spaces between paragraphs. This is all handled by the various body text styles. In fact, you should turn off auto formatting entirely. All it does is add styles that I remove anyway.

A Note on Formatting

While I prefer a plain document with style tags, I can still work from a formatted document. If you’re pressed for time, you can skip adding tags for basic formatting (such as bold and italic), although I still need the headers and other complex things tagged.

Basic Formatting

Use the following markup for basic formatting:

<b>Bold Text</b>

<i>Italic Text</i>

<bi>Bold Italic Text</bi>

If you don’t plan on sending a .txt file, you can skip these tags and just format the worlds normally.


If you need other specific formatting tags, such as a book title or something that needs to stand out, let me know and we’ll invent new tags for that format. For example, if you’re producing a FATE document and want aspects to stand out, we’ll need to add an <aspect> tag to the mix. You can add any number of additional tags, so long as we’re clear about the markup for those tags.

Header Formatting

Use the following markup for document headers:

<CH>Chapter Titles

<1>Header One

<2>Header Two

<3>Header Three

<4>Header Four

… and so on. I don’t recommend going lower than 5 headers.

As it is a paragraph style, no closing tag is needed.

Sidebar Formatting


<sh>Sidebar Header</sh>

Sidebar paragraph one.

Sidebar paragraph two.


Inline Header Formatting

Inline headers are used for game mechanics like spells, feats, stunts, edges, and other such game material. If you have several lines with a bolded header delineated by a colon, you’ll want to use inline headers. For example:

Sample Power

Type: The type of power

Rules: The rules of the power

Special: Any special rules.


You format inline headers like this:

<2>Sample Power

<ih>Type: The type of power

<ih>Rules: The rules of the power

<ih>Special: Any special rules.

You also don’t need to close inline header tags, as they are a paragraph style.


For simple tables, I prefer tags over the tables created in a word precessor. Every entry in the table row should have a single tab between entries, even if it looks strange in the word processor. Every new row in the table should have a hard return. Like so:


<th>Table Header

Thing A  Thing B  Thing C

Thing 1  Thing 2  Thing 3


For more complex tables, go ahead and use the word processor to set things up. Just remove any table styles before sending the document to me.

Table Notes

Like the basic editing, I can work from existing tables if you don’t have the time or skill to tab them out. This is especially true for simple tables that don’t have a complex cell structure.

Images & Inserted Files

Anything else that needs to be inserted can be noted as such:

<image>file name</image>

<map>file name</map>

Those are the most common file insertions, but some other documents need others. Like the basic formatting, if you have something special just let me know so we can finalize a tag for your product.

Style Guide and Pricing

I base my fee partly upon how well a client follows my style guide. I will usually charge more for documents that haven’t been formatted using this guide. The best way to ensure a faster and cheaper job is by following this guide.


I know that using these tags seems like extra work on your end, but the time saved in multiple editing passes is almost always more than the time it takes to put in the tags. Using these tags can often also shave days or even weeks from the time I need to produce a finished product. In almost every case the time you take to ensure compliance with my style guide will end up saving even more time in layout.

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