Plain language — Part 1: Governing principles and guidelines


This document provides principles and guidelines for creating plain language documents. It is intended for anyone who creates documents that readers need to use or should use. It aims to help authors create documents that put readers first. As such, this document provides guidelines for four governing principles: - Principle 1: The content is what readers need (relevant) - Principle 2: Readers can easily find what they need (findable) - Principle 3: Readers can easily understand what they find (understandable) - Principle 4: Readers can easily use the information (usable) This document provides recommendations. It does not establish requirements. It applies to most, if not all, languages. Annex A provides a visual overview of the principles and guidelines. Annex B provides a checklist to help authors apply this document. While this document covers the essential elements of plain language, it has some intentional limits: - It does not address selecting the appropriate document type for readers. - It does not include existing technical guidance about accessibility and online documents, although this document’s guidance applies to both. Authors of online documents are urged to consider the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. - It is not a step-by-step guide for creating plain language documents. Later parts of this document may provide case studies, best practices, and other supporting information.



Planned document number

DIN ISO 24495-1

Project number


Responsible national committee

NA 105-00-07-02 AK - Plain language 

Responsible international committee

ISO/TC 37/WG 11 - Plain language 


Annette Preissner

Am DIN-Platz, Burggrafenstr. 6
10787 Berlin

Tel.: +49 30 2601-2012
Fax: +49 30 2601-42012

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