Every newspaper has one, every news agency, and the Commission has them too. We are talking about style guides or editorial guidelines, whatever you want to call them. And we have made another one – for webwriting.

Why? Because writing for the web is different. Our foremost goal is to become more user-friendly. Texts on the web need to be scannable, easy to understand and should meet user needs.

Why another one?

After reading through the existing guidelines – at least all we could find – it became clear that some of the rules apply to the web but others don’t.

So here we are: our first version of webwriting guidelines, including a list with words to avoid – EU jargon and false friends – and examples of clear writing alternatives.

It took a long time. We had many very detailed discussions about what to include, what the recommendations should be and if and why some things should be done differently when writing for the web.

Online format for online guidance

The guidelines are not meant to be a book you want to read from start to finish. They are more like a dictionary which you can consult if in doubt.

We are publishing them as a PDF for now, but will provide the guidelines in a different digital format soon, with navigation so you can click directly on what you want to know. A filter will allow you to quickly find EU jargon you should avoid, false friends or simpler alternatives for some words.

It’s not done

We know this isn’t perfect. We know we have to add more content and we’re working on it. Things we plan to include are:

  • advice on writing for experts
  • why it is sometimes okay to not use traditional grammar
  • more explanations for “jargon” words – what they mean, what they do not mean

Meanwhile, send us your feedback.

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