This style guide provides general guidelines to be observed when writing LibreOffice-related marketing materials such as press releases, flyers and blog posts.
When using an abbreviation for the first time, explain what it means. Even if it seems obvious, this is important for newcomers who would otherwise have to look them up (or get confused and go elsewhere).
Bad example: "Welcome to the July report. This month the BoD decided to..."
Good example: "Welcome to the July report. This month the Board of Directors (BoD) decided to..."
Some other common abbreviations used in the project:
- AB - Advisory Board
- AOO - Apache OpenOffice
- DLP - Document Liberation Project
- ESC - Engineering Steering Committee
- L10N - Localization
- MC - Membership Committee
- NLP - Native Language Projects
- ODF - Open Document Format
- OO/OOo - OpenOffice.org
- QA - Quality Assurance
- RC - Release Candidate
- TDF - The Document Foundation
In marketing materials, avoid using "LO" for LibreOffice. Do not add periods between letters (don't use "T.D.F.").
Note: abbreviations pronounced as a whole word (eg NASA) are acronyms, whereas abbreviations in which individual letters are spoken (eg QA) are initialisms.
Adjectives, nouns and verbs
- back end is a noun ("The back end provides..."); back-end is an adjective ("Install the back-end database")
- front end and front-end - see back end above
- backup is a noun ("Always make backups"); back up is a verb ("You should back up your data")
- setup is a noun ("a successful Nginx setup"); set up is a verb ("To set up Nginx...")
Active and passive voice
In most cases, use the active voice to make text more engaging and lively:
Passive: "Your presentations can be enhanced with new feature X..."
Active: "Enhance your presentations with new feature X..."
Avoid using "he/she" and "his/her", as it gets very repetitive:
Bad example: "When a user receives the document, he/she can read it on his/her computer after he/she has installed..."
Good example: "When a user receives the document, they can read it on their computer after they have installed..."
Words and phrases to avoid
These are over-used everywhere, and don't fit in the context of office software:
Of course, new software releases and new features can have positive impacts on users, so choose words like:
Free Software vs Open Source
Both are used throughout the LibreOffice project materials and documentation. The former tends to be associated with the Free Software Foundation, focusing on individual liberties, sharing, and freedom to control your computer and data. The latter is associated with more pragmatic aspects such as reliability and security.
If you use the term "free software", make sure it's clear that you're referring to "free speech, not free beer". Technical users may know what it means, but others may assume it's merely referring to zero cost. A link to The GNU page on free software can help here.
Talking to the press
When submitting a link to a journalist, provide some tempting information (a "hook") along with the link. So instead of just saying:
"LibreOffice 5.1 has been released - click here to learn more"
Use something like:
"LibreOffice 5.1 has been released today with X, Y and Z. It is available from here"
The more (interesting) information you provide to journalists, the less work they have to do to make a story out of it. If you have regular contact with a journalist, provide a different hook with each update.