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Best Practice

Creating Standardized Set of Production Reference Tools

There is a tendency these days to rely solely on the spell checker in PowerPoint to make all word usage choices. Spell checkers are fine for preliminary scans for misspelled/misused words, but it should never be the last word. It makes too many errors. One error that the PowerPoint dictionary consistently makes is hyphenating words incorrectly. Words that contain a prefix are not hyphenated, e.g., pre, post, pro. The spell checker wants to hyphenate them.

Problems with word-use correctness and consistency are compounded when more than one person is developing/contributing to a presentation. Different styles and preferences creep into the presentation and destroy consistency. Additional steps need to be taken to keep this from happening.

This problem should be solved at the company level, not at the individual team level. The way a presentation is developed becomes part of the brand identity of the company. Presentations should be consistent in look and word usage across the company. The best way to establish a standard for consistency is to identify a set of resources. Below are a few good choices for you to consider.

  1. Dictionary: these references do not contradict each other
  • Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, updated annually, is a great choice for business
  • Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged, Third Edition, is a good reference to have in your office library as an in-depth resource
  • A good complimentary resource is the Merriam-Webster online dictionary (free) and can be accessed when away from your office. link to Merriam-Webster online dictionary
  1. Business grammar style and usage: choose one the two below:
  • Business Grammar, Style & Usage by Alicia Abell. Very popular right now.
  • The Gregg Reference Manual, 10th Edition, by William A. Sabin. We like this one the best and it synchs up with the dictionaries listed above really well.
  1. References for industry terminology. If you are a presenting to a particular industry, it behooves you to use the terminology for that industry correctly, as it will underscore your credibility. The Barrons Guides are a great resource.
  • Dictionary of Business Terms
  • Dictionary of Finance and Investment Terms
  • Dictionary of Accounting Terms
  • Dictionary of Real Estate Terms
  • Dictionary of Banking Terms
  • Dictionary of Marketing Terms
  • Dictionary of Insurance Terms
  • Law Dictionary: Mass Market Edition
  • Dictionary of International Business Terms
  • Dictionary of Computer and Internet Terms