The Plain Writing Act of 2010 requires that federal agencies use clear language that the public can understand and use. While the Act does not cover
regulations, two Executive Orders emphasize the need for plain language: E.O. 12866 and E.O. 12988. Plain language guidelines exist to help you write clearly, so users can:

  • Find what they need.
  • Understand what they find.
  • Use what they find to meet their needs.

Plain Talk requires using plain language in writing that typical customers can
understand and act upon after a single reading. By executive order, documents written in plain language include:

  • Clear language commonly used by the intended audience.
  • Only information needed by the recipient, presented in logical sequence.
  • Short sentences.
  • Sentences written in active voice, making clear “who” does “what.”
  • Layout and design that helps the customer understand the meaning on the first try, to include adequate white space, bulleted lists, helpful headings, and other proven techniques.