Documentation Standards

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The document standards below should be used as a guide when creating new or revising existing electronic forms. E-forms that appear to significantly deviate from these standards may be returned to the author for revision. Note that the standards outlined below have been adapted from those published by the AIS Electronic Forms Committee.

Form Layout

Form Background Color White.
Form Margins '1/2" on left; '1/2" on right.
Form ID The e-Forms administrator will assign Form ID's for all forms as follows:
• Three character designation: identifies the origin / owner of the form by
department or unit, entered in lower case
• Form number: four numeric digits
• Example: acs0200
• Note: the Form ID will remain the same throughout the life of a the document
Form Title • Centered'1/2" to 1" from top of page depending on
space available
• Arial 14pt. bold, all caps.
• Southern Illinois University should be 1/4" below
• SIU text in Arial 10 pt. all caps.
• Draw one line to the width of the margins and
place'1/4" below the title, one pixel wide.

Form Objects/Properties

Checkboxes/Radio Buttons (see Pop-Up
Lists/Drop Down Lists)
If a pop-up list for drop down list is not possible, a checkbox should be used if more than one item is to be selected from a group. A radio button should be used if only one item is to be selected from a group.

Chose the following properties for checkboxes and radio buttons:
• Select "size to font"
• De-select "display 3-D"
• Background color "white"
Color Options Light blue, light green, gold or white. Reserve
gray for the command buttons
Command Buttons All large numbers on the page and all command
buttons should be set to "no print."
Date Format Use the format is DD Mmrn YYYY.
Field Borders Style "flat." Print borders must be selected if the border is to be printed.
Field Justification Top left or right justify.
Field Names Use one of the following prefixes followed by an
• fld_ (field)
• txt_ (text)
• check_ (checkbox)
• radio_ (radio button)
Each word in a field name should be separated by an underscore ( _ )
Field Size Maximum number of characters allowed must not exceed field size.
Font The standard text and label font is Arial 8 pt.
Multiple Line Fields Multiple lines should be selected to allow word wrapping of text in large fields,
Name Fields Standard size for name fields are: last name (30 characters), first name (20 characters) and middle name (20 characters)
Numeric Fields Only use when there is a calculation. Fields with numbers should be formatted as a standard alphanumeric field. (text field)
Pop-up Lists/Drop Down Lists Pop-up lists and drop down lists should be used instead of checkboxes and radio buttons to allow more space on the form. An exception to this standard would be when there are legal requirements preventing this.
Primary Headings Headings over columns or separating groups of data should be upper and lower case, Arial 8 pt.

Standards for Supportive Documentation

The standards outlined below should be used as a guide when developing documents that provide additional information about or describe procedures relating to the use of an e-Form. Supportive documents when published will be in either web page (html format) or PDF format. Supportive documents received for publication that are in other formats will be converted to HTML or PDF format by the e-Forms administrator. Basic format standards are described below:

  • The header should always contain the name of form. To change the name of the form click on File, View, Header Footer. (Font - Arial Narrow 18 pt.) NOTE: Electronic versions of the SIU Logo for use on electronic forms are not yet available. When they become available, they may also be included in the header.
Form Name
  • Form name - Complete form name, (Font - Arial Narrow 12 pt. bold.)
General Information Section:
  • Standard text font - (Aria/ Narrow 12 pt.)
  • Use - describe for what specific purpose this form will be used.
  • Access - describe how to access the e-form. Include campus specific information as to what e-forms page the user will access.
  • Instructions - use the following statement; "Complete the form using the following standards. Unless otherwise noted, all fields are required."
  • If the form includes multiple sections, please include a section name and description for each section.
  • Field names are italicized. Field descriptions are not.
    (for example: Field Name ......... Field Description)
  • Every field should be listed in the order it appears within on the form.
    • Listed exactly the same order as it appears on the form.
    • The field name must be identical to the field name on the form.
  • Every field in the instructions must have a detailed explanation about the information to be entered in the field by the end-user.
    • If the field is a date field then the date format must be specified for the field.
    • If a field is to be left "blank" please indicate this in the instructions.
    • If the field allows for multiple choices please indicate a reference where additional information is available.
Administrative Approval Section:
  • This may be left blank as needed
  • Please list, in order, all required approvals and the order in which approvals occur.
  • Some e-Forms may not require approval and this section may be left blank.
Special notes section:
  • if applicable, otherwise this section may be left blank
Routing information:
  • Please list, in order, all routing destinations.
  • The Form ID provided by the e-Forms administrator should be placed in the footer.
  • Footer - contains form ID, page number, and current date format: MM/YYYY.