Sybase Style Guide for
Print, Presentation, and Online
Training Materials

These style guidelines are a supplement to the Sybase Style Guide (found at www-ipg if you are connected to the Sybase network). In most cases, these listings serve as reminders of Sybase corporate style rules. In some cases, the entries reflect issues specific to training materials. In a few cases, these guidelines represent conscious choices that "fly in the face" of those used elsewhere in the company.

In general, the courses conform to the usage and formatting guidelines used for the documentation for the associated products. Differences in terminology and formatting used in the Enterprise Solutions Division (ESD) and Internet Applications Division (IAD) courses are noted in the guide.

Recent changes: abbreviation | Boolean

Last modified August 28, 2003       
Copyright © 2000 Sybase, Inc.

A B ...

Notes on using this document:
B ...




a, an

If the next word starts with a consonant sound, use a. If the next word starts with a vowel sound, use an.

Do not use before a product name unless it is part of the trademark.

Don’t forget to send an RSVP.

Use Replication Server....


Do not use the following abbreviations. They do not lend themselves to translation:

  • cont.
  • incl.
  • e.g.
  • et al.
  • etc.
  • i.e.
  • vs. (except in headings and slide titles)

On occasion, you can use these abbreviations on slides when necessary for space considerations.


above, below

Use preceding and following or earlier and later instead.


accelerator key
access key

Use shortcut key instead.

See shortcut key.



No “e.”


ad hoc

No hyphen.


Adaptive Server Anywhere

Use SQL Anywhere up through release 5.5. After release 5.5, call it Adaptive Server Anywhere.

See SQL Anywhere Studio.


Adaptive Server Enterprise/
Adaptive Server

Use SQL Server up through release 11.0. After release 11.0, use Adaptive Server Enterprise.

The term Adaptive Server Enterprise (ASE) should be used only when referring to the entire suite of tools. Any reference to something done solely by the server (which is what most references in existing courses are) should be to Adaptive Server.


Adaptive Server IQ

Use Sybase IQ up through release 11.2. After release 11.2, use Adaptive Server IQ. The first release of Adaptive Server IQ is 11.5; there is no 11.3 or 11.4.


affect, effect

Generally, affect is a verb and effect is a noun.

It affects me.
It has an effect on me.


  • Use all the or all instead of all of the where possible.
  • If all means all of it or everything, it is singular.
  • If all means all of them, it is plural.

All the categories...

ALL CAPS style

See capitalization.

Use lets instead for simplicity.


a lot

Alot is not a word; use a lot.


all right

Alright is not a word; use all right.



Use in text except when referring to datetime information displayed in ASE, which uses AM and PM.


ampersand (&)

Do not use as an abbreviation for and unless it is part of an accepted term or you need to conserve space in a slide.



Avoid attributing human characteristics to a computer application. In particular, avoid using the following verbs in relation to a program:

  • allow
  • answer
  • assume
  • behave
  • capture
  • decide
  • demand
  • deny
  • discard
  • ignore
  • impersonate
  • inherit
  • interested in
  • know
  • own
  • persist
  • prevent
  • realize
  • recognize
  • refuse
  • remember
  • think
  • understand
  • wait


Initial cap the Any data type to avoid confusion.

You can use an Any data type variable.

anyone, any one

If you can substitute anybody, use anyone. Otherwise, use any one.



Abbreviation for application programming interface.



Not appendices.

When an appendix is a former module, it is OK to leave the objectives and topic list. However, there is no need to add such a list to an appendix that does not have this format.


application server

All lowercase.



In IAD courses: Use argument.

In ESD courses: A stored or system procedure takes a parameter but a function takes an argument.

In all courses: Use italic lowercase for arguments in text.

The rownum argument....


See like.



If you have a Try This! content type followed by more than one assessment, deselect the Show Label option, so you do not see a series of Discovery Question or Quiz headings.

You can include links to the “answer” content type in a remediation. From a teaching perspective, the first remediation should be a hint and the second remediation should contain the link.



Use properties instead of attributes, except in the cases of extended attributes and HTML attributes.

Modify the object’s properties by right-clicking the object and selecting Properties from the popup menu.

A column has extended attributes.


Although technically not a property, use intercaps.


A B ...




backend (n.)
back-end (adj.)



back up (verb)
backup (noun)

You back up a file to make a backup.


backward, backwards
toward, towards

Use the form without the s.



See since.


beside, besides

Beside is next to something.
Besides is in addition to something.


between, among

Use between when discussing only two; use among when discussing more than two.



Here is the standard format for a reference or bibliographic entry:

Last name, First name [and First name, Last name]. ["Title of article." Title of book or magazine. City, State: Publisher, Year.

Forta, Ben, et al. The ColdFusion 4.0 Web Application Construction Kit. New York: MacMillan, 1998.


No caps.



  • In all courses: Use lowercase bold regular (Times New Roman) for:
    • T-SQL commands
    • UNIX commands
    • Command option names
    • Utility names
    • Utility flags
    • Stored and system procedures
    • dbcc
    • Clauses
  • Do not bold punctuation unless it is part of user input.
  • Use bold for emphasis in code and syntax.

In ESD courses: Use bold for emphasis and new terms.

In IAD courses:

  • Use bold when you define a new term. Do not use bold if the definition appears elsewhere. If you think it is necessary to define a term in more than one place, it is OK to bold it twice.
  • Use italic for emphasis, not bold. If the text is already in italic (as in a Note), then you can use bold italic for emphasis.

In labs in IAD courses:

  • Use bold for filenames.
    Use bold for the name of an object to select, click, move, whatever. Do not bold the object type.
  • In general, do not bold verbs unless there is likely to be confusion or a user might inadvertently skip the step.
  • If there is likely to be user confusion or skipping a step would create a major problem, bold whatever you think the user needs to notice. (It is the writer’s responsibility to add bold in this case or, better yet, rewrite the instruction.)

In slides: Use bold for emphasis.

select more
alter database









Open test.pbl.
Click the Return button.

Type DBA in the User ID box in the Database Logon dialog box.
Select the DoubleClicked event in the....

Save the file.


Initial cap.



Use box, not text box or edit field, unless you need to use text box for clarity (for example, to distinguish between a text box and a group box).

Use computer, not box or machine.

Enter a name for your file in the File name box.

browse You browse the Internet, a Web page, a file. You browse through a list.  

PowerBuilder Browser

Cap to differentiate from Web browser.



  • In the  Student Guide, always end a lead-in to a bulleted list with a colon.
  • Always cap the first word in a bulleted item.
  • Do not use terminal punctuation in text bullets unless at least one bullet is a complete sentence. If possible, edit bullet text to use either all sentences or all phrases.
  • Use numbers for a list of actions that must be performed in a particular order.
  • Be consistent—if you use bullets in the Advantages topic in one section, do so in any other Advantages topics, even if there is only one bullet.
  • Do not use letters as second level bullets. Use them only in numbered lists.
  • Bullet style in text now matches bullet style on slides:
    • The 1st level bullet is a WingDings/11 Pt./black square.
    • The 2nd level bullet is a Symbol, font size 10 black circle.
    • The 3rd level bullet is a Monotype Sorts, 6 pt. black triangle.

Slides only:

  • Use bullets for everything on slides except notes, code, graphics.
  • Do not use terminal punctuation in slide bullets except for bulleted items on Summary slides.
  • Do not use terminal punctuation for steps in numbered lists on slides.
  • In slides, only use a colon if it is a true lead-in phrase, for example, “You can use only these arguments:” or “Select one of these options:”. If the phrase is simply a word or statement, such as “Example” or “Three options”, do not use a colon. Do not add or delete a lot of colons when performing a hard copy edit or a gamma edit.
  • If you are performing an online edit, you can remove the bullets in the notes sections under the slides, except where essential. However, do not do this unless there is ample time and it won’t be too time-consuming.


  • Use button not icon except where the product itself uses the term icon (e.g. you can select an icon for your application).
  • A button is on a toolbar, not in a toolbar.
  • Refer to a toolbar button by its PowerTip name, not by the text that appears on the button when text is turned on.

In text: When a picture of a button appears in the lefthand (label) margin, a table and so on, set the size to 100% for both height and width.
In labs: Use bold for the button name.

Click the Application button on the PowerBar.

Click the DataWindow button.
Click the DataWnd button.