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DAS Editorial Style Guide

The Department of Administrative Services adheres to the following editorial conventions for all written communications, including the website. Agencies are welcome to adopt these standards for their written products.

For editorial issues not covered here, DAS refers to The Associated Press Stylebook or Merriam-Webster Online.

​​​Use abbreviations and acronyms sparingly, only when nothing else works. Use division, program, office, unit, or section rather than program-specific acronyms. When possible, use the project or the initiative rather than project acronyms. DAS is always appropriate on second reference.

Rarely use abbreviations or acronyms in headings. 

The current trend is not to use periods in abbreviations. Here are some exceptions: U.S., Ms., Mr., etc., Co., Inc., a.m., p.m., Ph.D.

This entry updated February 2021. ​

​​To show possession, add an apostrophe and an s to singular words or abbreviations:  

DAS promulgates the state's administrative rules.
You can find all of 2017's legislative measures online.
SEIU's negotiators met with the DAS labor group.

To possessive singular nouns ending in s, add 's:  
The hostess's invitation arrived late.
The witness's answer was barely audible. 

To possessive plural nouns, and to the term "DAS," add only an apostrophe:

DAS' teams worked hard on the project.
All the teams' efforts resulted in success.

Be careful not to confuse possessive adjectives, which do not take apostrophes, with contractions, which do:
PEBB revised its administrative rules.
It's on the web.

Omit the apostrophe from plurals that are not possessive:

Things changed in the 1990s.
All OARs are on the web.​

​​​These examples serve as a general guide to capitalization. Also review Internet Terms.

  • the state of Oregon*
  • state government*
  • state Department of Administrative Services
  • state agency, agency, department, division, program, section, unit
  • board, commission, committee, council, work group, team
    • DAS exception: Capitalize Board and Commission for legislatively created Boards and Commissions
  • Executive Branch, Legislative Branch, Judicial Branch
    • DAS preference is to capitalize branches of government
  • legislator, legislative
  • Legislature (lowercase in generic uses, but capitalize when referring to the Oregon Legislature)
  • the Kotek administration
  • Governor, Governor's Office (an exception to AP style)
  • the Secretary of State
  • DAS Director Berri Leslie; but Berri Leslie is the director of DAS.
  • city of Salem
  • Salem City Council
  • Pacific Northwest
  • southern Oregon
  • the West
  • ZIP code
*Minimize use of state of Oregon. The following choices will describe your meaning more accurately: state government, state agencies, Oregon.

Within a paragraph, capitalize the word after a colon if it is a proper name or if it begins a complete sentence. Also review Lists.  ​

​This section reformatted August 2023.

​In a series, omit the comma before the conjunction:
We designed the site for customers, citizens and employees.

Exception: Use a comma if the last item in the series also contains a conjunction:
We received input from legislators, citizens, employees, and business and labor leaders.

Use a comma before a conjunction connecting two independent clauses:
An editor revises the page, and a publisher moves it to the web.

As a general rule, do not use a comma before a conjunction connecting a compound predicate:
I revised the new page and decided not to publish it.

Use a comma to set off a nonrestrictive clause:
We met the deadline, which was last Thursday.

Do not use a comma before a restrictive clause:
​We met every deadline that was scheduled.​

​​​Also review Time Periods and Hyphens.
Use the em dash (--) sparingly in government writing. In most cases, other punctuation will suffice. Uses include seting off a long expression that might otherwise be a parenthetical statement, or to introduce an abrupt change in thought.
Issuing new rules -- a process that some have criticized for its complexity -- has occupied the new director's attention.

In most software applications, two hyphens automatically change to an em dash when typed between two words, with no spaces between the hyphens or the words. DAS adheres to the AP preference, which includes a space on either side of the em dash, as in the example above.​

​Never add "st," "nd," "rd," or "th" after a date, as in May 5th. May 5 is correct.    

Abbreviate months with a specific date:
We met on Jan. 30, 2016.
Do not abbreviate March, April, May, June or July in any case.

Do not abbreviate months with no specific date:
We began operations in January 2015. 

Do not enclose the year in commas when naming only the month and year:
We will complete the plan in August 2020.​

Enclose the year in commas when naming a specific date:
Jun​e 1, 2018, is our target date. 

​​Within documents, use the following approved fonts: 

Headings: Montserrat

Body: Roboto

Within email, use an easy-to-read font such as Roboto or Calibri; use a moderate size such as 12 – 14 points; too small makes it difficult to read; too large implies shouting.

DAS employees may get further guidance from the DASH intranet.

Within webpages, always choose fonts from the ribbon choices offered by the software or paste as "plain text." 

This entry updated August 2023.

​Write statements to avoid gender bias:
Bad: An employee should use his discretion.
Better: Employees should use their discretion.
Best: Employees should use discretion. 

Do not use he/she or his/her or any similar combination of gender pronouns.​

If necessary, use "their" even in singular references. 
An employee must sign their own ballot.​
This section updated June 2018.​

​Do not hyphenate words with prefixes or suffixes:
Exceptions – when the second element is capitalized, when the second element is a figure or to distinguish homonyms:
pre-Bush administration
re-create; recreate
Many compounds that are spelled open as nouns are hyphenated as adjectives:
at a high level; high-level job
Bring me up to date; distribute an up-to-date report 
Compounds that begin with adverbs ending in ly are spelled open:
highly complex procedure
poorly designed form 
Use this structure for serial compound hyphenation:
short- and long-term plans 
Commonly used hyphenated words:
agency-wide (but statewide)
co-worker (but ​coworking)
diversity-related; technology-related; procurement-related
web-based; fact-based

​​Use the following formats:

e-government, e-commerce and other compounds in which e stands for electronic; but email. Uppercase only in titles or at the beginning of a sentence: E-Government provides online services; the state's E-Commerce program has grown significantly.

login, logon (n); Example: I cannot access the login screen.
log in, log on (v); Example: I log in every day. Don't forget to log on.
user ID
World Wide Web, the web, webpage, website, webcam, webcast, webmaster
* General reference to "cybersecurity" is one word; DAS uses two words for its program name, Cyber Security Services.​

​This entry updated February 2021 to reflect DAS preference.

​Use parallel construction in all lists. Make introductory statements complete thoughts. Statements must make sense even if the reader ignores bullets or numbered items. 
Use the following format for bulleted lists:
  • Indent bulleted lists as indicated here.
  • Use a closing period at the end of each item only when they form independent sentences. 
  • When using sub-bullets, end the introductory statement with a colon, as in this example:
    • First item in the series
    • Second item in the series
    • Last item in the series
Exception: The closing punctuation at the end of each item in a list of questions should be a question mark. 
Semi-colons: Do not use semi-colons as the closing punctuation of list items.   
Use numbered rather than bulleted lists in the following three circumstances: 

  1. When the preceding text names a specific number of items in the list that follows.
  2. When the listed items must follow a specific sequence.
  3. When the list sets a chronology.
Use the following format for lists in paragraphs. Use numbers (1), letters (a) or neither according to the guidelines above. Use this format sparingly and only for short lists:
The team reviewed the overall processes, including: (1) overall board structure and official charter; (2) board member appointments, including emergency appointments; (3) roles and responsibilities; and (4) daily operations.​

​This section updated February 2021 to reflect DAS preference.  

​​Spell out numbers up to and including nine; use figures for 10 and more.
one, eight, nine 
10, 21, 105, 2,436  

Numbers can be mixed (spelled out and represented by figures) in the same sentence or paragraph. 
The directory includes 10 folders, one index, six images and 800 PDF files. 
The second and ninth place winners in our division finished 10th and 25th overall.  

Avoid beginning sentences with numbers. If this is not possible, spell out numbers that begin a sentence. Years is the lone exception (refer to Time Periods).

Three hundred and three teachers went on strike. 
Sixteen years passed before the brothers spoke to each other.
Forty percent is larger than 30%.
2002 was an eventful year.

Use figures for proper nouns, percentages, page numbers, measurements, decimal fractions, time and very large numbers: 
Chapter 5 
4 feet 7 inches 
1.34, 0.5 (decimal fractions less than 1.0 require a leading zero)
8 a.m. 
$5 billion​
This section updated April 2019.​​

​​Use hyphens to separate phone numbers, not periods or parentheses. 
911 examples: Dial 9-1-1 in an emergency. She made a 911 call.   
Use a comma to separate phone numbers from extensions. Abbreviate the word extension with ext. not an x.
541-333-1234, ext. 456 
This entry updated December 2017. ​

​​With few exceptions, closing quotation marks enclose a sentence’s final punctuation. Always enclose commas and periods inside quotation marks. Two examples of the few exceptions: 
Do you believe he said “shut up”? 
Don’t tell me “I told you so”! 
Use single quotation marks only within quoted material.​

​​Also review Time Periods.
Use lowercase and periods: 
7 a.m. and 8 p.m. (not 7:00 and 8:00) 
from 7 to 8:30 a.m. 
When using from or between, use words, not dashes, to denote time of day:
My lunch hour is from noon to 1 p.m. 
We will hold interviews between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.  

Use noon and midnight. Do not use 12 noon, 12 midnight, 12 a.m. or 12 p.m. ​


Hyphen placement:

Use a hyphen with no space between years: 2015-17 (n​ot 2015-2017)


Biennium: a period of two years; Oregon state government's fiscal year, which begins July 1 in odd-numbered years and ends 24 months later on June 30

Plural references (interchangeable):

​Bienniums or biennia

  • The department will implement the project during the next two bienniums.
  • Electronic government services increased during the last three biennia.

Not to be confused with...

​Biannual: occurring twice a year

​Other Time Periods
Use an en dash (–)* with a space before and after periods of time when you might otherwise use "to": 
2014 – 2016 were wonderful years. (An exception to the rule that sentences do not begin with figures.**)
The vacation season is June – August.
Meeting time: 1:30 – 3 p.m.     
When using from or between, use words, not dashes, to denote periods of time: 
The agency launched several improvement projects between 2010 and 2013. 
We vacation every year from August to October. 
* In most software applications, a hyphen automatically changes to an en dash when a space is added before and after.​

** A numeral-and-letter combination may start a sentence: 3D movies are drawing more fans. This joins starting a sentence with the year as the only times when a numeral is OK at the beginning of a sentence.​ 

​This section updated July 2018 to reflect AP style. 

​​​Addressing USP​S Mail >>

Ampersand (&) 
Do not use an ampersand in place of and except when it is part of an organization's formal name. On the web, use an ampersand only when template restrictions allow no alternative. 
DAS Website URL 
If you encounter old URLs such as, or, replace them with

Use left justification for most paragraph formats. Text formatted with full justification is difficult to read. 
One Word or Two? Also review Hyphens
          bar code        online 
          help desk       upload 
          hot line           statewide 
Slash ( / ) 
Avoid slashes. Avoid and/or statements; or is generally sufficient. 
Use red or brown. 
Use red, brown or both. 

Avoid overstating a point with a slash, as in these poor examples. 
I am the manager/supervisor/boss. 
We must develop/expand the program.  
Spacing After Punctuation 
Computers add proportional spacing, so one space following punctuation is sufficient. The two-space rule is obsolete. The one-space rule applies to all punctuation: periods, commas, colons, semicolons, exclamation points, question marks and quotation marks.  ​

Other Resources 


Email DAS Communications 

DAS reviews and periodically updates this guide. The most recent review and select updates occurred August 2023.