“How To” Tips for Plain Language



PlainLanguage.gov works to improve communication from the Federal Government to the Public. This site provides shortcuts to a wealth of materials. Resources include: quick reference tips on writing clear documents, word suggestions to keep your writing jargon-free, dictionaries, thesauruses, style guides, and grammar sites, as well as tips for starting your own plain-language programs.


Quick Checklist for Plain Language

The Maximus Center for Health Literacy


This two-sided reference will help you check your print and web materials for plain language and formatting that helps readers find and understand key messages. Check your materials for Reader Focus, Organization, Writing, Design, and Formatting. The more items with checks, the more likely it will be that readers can understand and use the material. Tips for checking the language are also included.

CDC Clear Communication Index and Scoring Widget

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


 Clear Communication Index Scoring Widget


The CDC Clear Communication Index is a research-based tool to help you develop and assess public communication materials. The 20 items in the index build on and expand plain language techniques described in the Federal Plain Language Guidelines. The Index goes beyond checklists and readability formulas by focusing on the most important research-based items that enhance clarity and aid understanding. The index also provides a numerical score so you can objectively assess and improve materials based on the best available science.