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011 FW 2
Standards for Format and Text for Service Manual Chapters

Supersedes 011 FW 2, 01/05/09

Date:  February 22, 2010

Series: Service Directives

Part 011: The Fish and Wildlife Service Manual

Originating Office: Division of Policy and Directives Management



PDF Version


2.1 What is the purpose of this chapter? This chapter provides Fish and Wildlife Service

employees with the information they need to write consistent, clear Service Manual chapters.


2.2 What are the objectives of this chapter? Service employees will use this chapter to:


A. Properly format chapters for the Fish and Wildlife Service Manual,


B. Include the appropriate elements in the chapters they write, and


C. Write chapters using plain language principles so they are clear and easy to read.


2.3 How does an author format the text when writing a chapter? Exhibit 1 is a Microsoft Word template that you can use when writing a chapter. You are responsible for very little formatting because the Division of Policy and Directives Management (PDM) will reformat the chapter for publication. Following are guidelines for formatting your chapter:


A. Use a standard, one column format with single spacing. Use two lines between paragraphs.


B. Assign a number or letter to every paragraph so that readers can refer to them by letter or number. Follow the standard format shown in Figure 1 below:


Figure 1: Format for Numbering Paragraphs


2.1 Put major paragraphs in the form of a question. Make the question bold. You can answer the question right after you ask it, or you can break your answer down into understandable subsections, if appropriate.


A. The first section of Chapter 2 is 2.1.


B. If you use a subsection A, then you need a B.


C. Use a capital letter for the first subsection. Do not tab. Make the capital letter bold.


(1) If you need to break down subsection C to another level, identify the second level by an Arabic numeral in parentheses. Do not tab. Make the numeral and parentheses bold.


(a) If you need to break down subsection (1), identify the third level by a lower case letter in parentheses. Do not tab. Make the letter and parentheses bold.


(b) If you use an (a), then you need a (b).


(i) If you use a fourth subdivision, like this example, identify it by a lower case Roman numeral in parentheses. Do not tab. Make the numeral and the parentheses bold. Instead of using a fourth subdivision, consider revising the text.


(ii) If you use an (i), then you need a (ii).


(2) If you use a (1), then you need a (2).




2.4 What questions should the author include in each chapter and in what order? Figure 2 below is a list of the questions that you should include in the chapter if they are applicable. We show them in the order in which you include them. Exhibit 1, the chapter template, also lists these questions. You may leave out questions that are not applicable to the chapter you are writing.


Description: Description:

2.5 How long should a chapter be? Try to limit the size of chapters to fewer than five or six pages. If your chapter is longer than six pages, you should consider breaking it up into more than one chapter. Use a table of contents if your chapter is long. It gives readers an overview of the chapter and helps them to find the information they need. See the example below, which is part of a table of contents from a law enforcement chapter on searches and seizures.




General Topics

Abbreviated Sections/Questions

Purpose, Authorities, and Background

1.1 What is the purpose of this chapter?

1.2 What are the authorities for searches and seizures?

1.3 What terms do you need to know?

Searches/Seizures with Warrants

1.4 How does the Service determine whether or not a search and seizure of property is reasonable?

1.5 What are warrants?

1.6 When and where does an officer obtain a warrant?

1.7 How do officers execute warrants?

1.8 What may Service officers seize?

Searches/Seizures without Warrants

1.9 What do Service officers need to know about the Service-enforced statutes and warrantless searches?

1.10 What circumstances may call for a warrantless search?

1.11 When do exigent circumstances justify a warrantless search?

1.12 What are the inspection and search authorities for international cargo, international mail, and interstate commerce shipments?

Lesser Intrusions and

Administrative Inspections

1.13 Are there circumstances where a Service officer may obtain evidence without Courts considering it a search?

1.14 What types of Administrative Inspections may Service Officers conduct?


2.6 What are some tips for writing good chapters?


A. First, consult with PDM and any other affected offices or divisions to see if they can contribute to the process.


B. Check other Service Manual chapters, Director’s Orders, and handbooks to be sure your chapter does not contradict or duplicate them.


C. Use plain language (see section 2.7 below for more information).


D. Check your facts and make sure your information is accurate.


E. When you are listing laws or other policies in the authorities section of your chapter, be sure to check your references to make sure the citations are accurate and in proper format.


F. Identify any forms that are part of the policy. You can include a completed sample form as an exhibit, but do not include a blank form. If you plan to include a sample form:


(1) Make sure it has a form number. See 281 FW 2 for more information about forms and getting form numbers. If the public has to fill out the form, it also needs an Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approval number. If it does not have a number, check with the Forms Management/Information Collection Officer in PDM.


(2) Give instructions for filling out and submitting the form.


(3) Make the form PDF fillable so that people can fill it out online and print it. PDM will post the form on the Service forms page on the Internet and put a link to it from the chapter so that it is easily accessed.


G. Identify any national reporting requirements that are part of the policy. A national report is one that is transmitted to or through Headquarters to meet a reporting requirement. It must have a report control number. See 281 FW 1 for more information on national reporting requirements and how to obtain a report control number.


H. When you include exhibits, only use exhibits with information that will stay current for a long period of time.


I. If your chapter replaces an existing chapter or supersedes a part of a chapter or a Director’s Order, be sure to indicate that by typing, “Supersedes XYZ, dated MM/DD/YYYY” on the top of the chapter (see Exhibit 1, the template for writing chapters).


J. A chapter is a Service policy. It does not take the place of proposing a regulation. Do not write a Service Manual chapter instead of proposing a regulation.


2.7 What plain language principles does the Service use when writing a chapter?


A. Exhibit 3 provides tips and techniques for writing clear, easy-to-understand chapters.


B. You may also read 116 FW 1, the Service’s chapter on plain language. 


2.8 Who are the Service contacts who can help with plain language principles? If you would like someone to review your writing and help you with plain language principles, contact PDM. The staff member who edits and publishes Service Manual chapters can help you.


2.9 What style manual does the Service use for capitalization, punctuation, and spelling rules? We use the U.S. Government Printing Office Style Manual, which is available on the Internet and in hard copy.


2.10 What is an exhibit? An exhibit is material that you would like to give readers access to, but that is not essential to the text of the chapter. Typical exhibits include illustrations, supplementary reports, templates, and organizational or flow charts.


A. Numbering Exhibits. Number exhibits consecutively in the order in which you mention them in the text of the chapter. Identify them by part and chapter number in the upper right corner of the document. For example:


                                                                                                                        Exhibit 1

                                                                                                                        011 FW 2


B. Page Numbers on Exhibits. When an exhibit is more than one page, number each page consecutively in the upper right hand corner. For example:


                                                                                                                        Exhibit 1

                                                                                                                        011 FW 2

                                                                                                                        Page 1 of 3


2.11 What if the author wants to include technical and detailed instructions that are too specific or too long to put into a chapter? You can develop a handbook to accompany a chapter (see 011 FW 4). Reference the handbook in the chapter. You must submit the handbook for review when the authorizing chapter is going through the review and surname process.


2.12 How does the author write and format amendments to chapters? If you want to make a minor change or update a chapter, and it does not require an extensive revision, then you can amend the chapter.


A. To amend the chapter, you:


(1)  Prepare an amendment to the chapter using the amendment format shown in Exhibit 4. The amendment must include a brief description of its purpose and a clear explanation of what you are changing or adding.


(2) Prepare a surname package as described in 011 FW 3.


B. Do not amend a chapter more than once. If you must change the chapter again, revise the entire chapter.