Checklists

GENERAL GUIDELINES:

What It Is: This format will cover a topic through a useful list of objects or to-do items.

General To Dos:

  • Keep Concise: This is not a bulleted article. Never use paragraph structure, always opting for short copy over long sentences.
  • Keep Formatting Consistent:
    • If you use imperative sentence structure on one bullet point, use it on sequential bullets.
    • Try to keep each bullet point in the same character or word count. (EX: If one bullet point is 1 ½ lines long – 70-150 characters including spaces – each sequential bullet point should be the same length).
    • Keep punctuation or lack of punctuation consistent.
  • Provide Reference Citations in the Footnotes: Use only credible references.

INTRODUCTION (IF REQUIRED):

What It Is: 1-2 sentences (or approximately 200 characters including spaces) explaining why the topic is important.

General To Dos:

  • The introduction must be relevant, and not just a regurgitation of the title.
  • If the title is self-explanatory (EX: Santa Mail Gift Tracker), the introduction may be optional.
    • Your editor will inform you if you can opt for a checklist with no introduction. 

CHECKLIST BODY:

What It Is: A bulleted list grouped into like things.

General To Dos:

  • Items: Lead with the Item You’re “Checking Off” the List: Bullets should lead with the most important information, followed by a small explanation (if necessary) on why it’s important. 

Example: The Anatomy of a Care Package

Correct: Multi-Surface Cleaner: for general dorm upkeep

Incorrect: Pack a general purpose, multi-surface cleaner and disposable cleaning cloths for general dorm upkeep.

  • Actions: Lead with the Thing You Need “To Do” on the List: Bullets should lead with the verb, followed by a small explanation (if necessary) on why it’s important.

Example: 2015 Bedroom Resolutions

Correct: Turn off cell phones, or leave them in another room

Incorrect: Cell phones often provide unwanted distractions. This year, turn off your cell phones, or leave them in another room in favor of focusing on each other. 

  • Keep Each Bullet Concise: Bullet points should be no longer than 1 ½ lines (70-150 characters including spaces) in length.

 

If The Checklist Contains Multiple Sections

  • For section heads with topics of equal importance, aim for subheads with approximately the same number of bullet points – a maximum of 4-5 bullet points per subhead.

 

  • For section heads with one main topic and 2-3 appendix topics, each appendix section should have approximately 1-2 bullets per section.

 

EXAMPLES OF WHAT TO DO  

EXAMPLES OF WHAT NOT TO DO

The Carry-On Bag Challenge

Domestic airlines rake in revenues from checked-baggage fees: in 2013, for example, the domestic carriers earned $3.35 billion from those charges–comprising 26 percent of the industry’s profits, according to a report from the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

Given the choice of contributing to that pot by paying exorbitant bag fees, many people may choose to instead stick to carry-on bags, if possible.

  • Too wordy and doesn’t answer the “why.” Aim for approximately 30 words maximum.

To Pack or Not to Pack  

-- Personal Identification

  • Formatting is not consistent. Use the en dash since we used it above.

Do. Never check essential items, advises SmarterTravel.com. For reasons ranging from lost luggage to theft, always carry on important or luxury items such as credit cards, travelers’ checks, jewelry and passport, money – anything special or critical.

  • Too wordy. Opt for concise copy no longer than 1 ½ lines (70-150 characters) in a word doc.

--Multi-taskers

A blazer that perfectly transitions from the business flight to a casual business dinner, on to an early-morning meet-and-greet is a perfect carry-on item.  Pants that convert to shorts, cardigan sweaters that do double-duty for business casual and office-appropriate are also good to pack in carry-on, travel experts recommend.  

  • Formatting is not consistent. Use “Do” or “Do Not” since we used it above.
  • Too wordy. Opt for concise copy no longer than 1 ½ lines (70-150 characters) in a word doc. 
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