Procedure Formatting Guidelines


To provide guidelines for the consistent formatting of procedures in university manuals.


Formatting of procedures is in play script style. Playscript style is not used to state policy or to state the functions of a department.

The procedure reflects a systems cycle or logical "module" of systematic action with a starting and an ending point. These types of documented systems cycles are in the Administrative Policy and Procedure Manual (APPM).

A Procedure describes the coordination plan that two or more individuals follow to achieve a desired result. The procedure tells what tasks each individual is to do but not how to do it. A job outline details how to do a task.

The job outline describes the sequence of work steps that one employee follows to execute one task. Detailed guidance is provided by the job outline for each task. Such detail is documented by a department in its departmental user's manual. This documentation is frequently referred to as internal procedure or departmental procedure.

Using the playscript style to format procedures involves three basic elements which are:

  1. People (described by a position title or departmental name) who perform an action.

  2. Actions or steps to complete a cycle.

  3. Forms to assist/document information/action.

Each system documented in this style has a common action cycle:

  1. A logical start of an action and a definite end or deliverable.

  2. Personnel are involved in the completion of an action.

As an aid, the Manual Format (see APPM section which follows describes the layout and positioning of a policy and its related procedures.

Additional guidelines to apply while drafting "Actions" under "PROCEDURE" are:

  1. Leave a blank line between each action step.

  2. Indent under an action where an exception occurs.

    1. Use only if three or four exception steps are involved.

    2. Identify by using the previous main-line number and to indicate sequence add an alpha suffix (i.e., a., b.).

    3. Indent the exception steps.

      1. Refer to a related, supplementary procedure if the exception action steps require more than four different steps. (i.e.,

        1. If Receiving Report, form 118, is not received within 30 days after the receipt of the vendor's invoice refer to "manual name and numbered procedure."

        2. Follow the sequence of action steps given there.)