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Writing & formatting

IEC drafting templates

IEC-specific rules

Tips & recommendations

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IEC drafting templates

The IEC template

The IEC template (iecstd_v7.1.dotm) is the basis for the formatting and layout of all IEC publications. It contains the styles, boilerplate texts and automation features for IEC publications. The latest version of the template (Version 7.1) has digitally signed macros.


Important: To use the IEC template, its styles and functionalities, authors must save it once on their computers and then attach it to every working document.


A document without the template attached will not benefit from its features.

Note: For IEV documents (IEC 60050), please use the template IEV.dotm instead.

Working with the template

1. Download the file iecstd_v7.1.dotm below and save it in Word's Templates folder on your computer.

2. Attach the template to your working document.

3. Use the template's styles and features in MS Word.



File name


IEC template, Version 7.1


IEC template user guide User guide pdf-icon
Keyboard shortcuts for some frequently used Word commands Useful-Word-shortcuts_v3.pdf pdf-icon 130kb
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Attaching the IEC template to a document

This page contains basic instructions to guide you through the process of attaching the IEC standard template (iecstd.dotm) to your working document.

Step-by-step instructions

1) Download the template and save it in the Word templates folder.

Download the IEC template file - do not open it when your browser asks you. Opening the file only creates a new document based on the template, but you need to save the template itself.

If your browser opens the file straightaway, without asking whether to open or save it, simply close it. Go back to the browser, right-click on the downloadable file and select Save target as...

Save the template in Word's Templates folder on your computer. A typical path to the Templates folder is
C:\Users\[user name]\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Templates


2) Either create a new document based on the template or attach the template to an existing document.

2a) Creating a new document based on the template

If you want to make use of the model structure with the examples and explanations, you need to create a new document based on the template. Proceed as follows:

  • Word 2010 and laterFile > New > My templates; double-click on
  • Word 2007: like Word 2010, but instead of File, click on the MS Office button in the upper left hand corner.

A new document opens that has the IEC standard template attached to it. You can now use the IEC styles, and you will find the automation features in the Add-Ins tab.

Save the document as a .docx file.

2b) Attaching the template to an existing document

Open the document to which you want to attach the template.

  • Word 2010 and laterFile > Options > Add-Ins; at the bottom, next to Manage, select Templates, then click Go.
  • Word 2007: like Word 2010, but instead of File, click on the MS Office button in the upper left hand corner, then select Word options.

The Templates and Add-ins window opens.


Click on Attach (1) and browse to the location of, then click OK.

The option Automatically update document styles

The option Automatically update document styles (2) replaces all the styles in a document with the original styles from the template. As long as this option is checked, the updating takes place every time the document is opened.

It needs to be checked the first time the IEC template is attached to a document, so that the styles from the template are taken over into the document. It can also be useful when styles have been damaged (for instance, when heading numbers go missing).

However, we recommend you uncheck this option immediately after the styles have been updated. Sometimes styles are modified for a good reason, e.g. if you have changed the automatic numbering of clauses and subclauses. Then you do not want this option to reset all numbers to normal, sequential values.

Time saver

In the long run, it will save you time to add the Templates icon template icon to your Quick Access Toolbar. Once the icon resides in the toolbar, clicking on it brings up the Templates and Add-ins window.

To add the Templates icon to the Quick Access Toolbar:

  • Right-click on the arrow to the right of the toolbar
  • Select Customize Quick Access Toolbar > More Commands
  • Under Choose commands from: select All Commands
  • In the list of commands, select Templates and click Add, then OK.

The Template icon is now added to your Quick Access Toolbar.

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List of IEC styles

Shortcut key

IEC Style

Used for









amendment heading, 1st level

amendment heading, 2nd level


Headings without automatic numbering, allowing you to create heading numbers manually

Ctrl + Alt + 0


annex title; inserts the word "Annex", followed by automatic alphabetical numbering (A, B, ...)

Ctrl + Alt + 1 / 2 ...

ANNEX-heading1 / 2 /.../ 5



headings in annexes; automatic numbering starts with the letter of the annex (A.1, A.1.1 etc.)





to number and format bibliographical references at the end of a document





fixed-width font (Courier New), for code requiring all characters to be of equal width




smaller version of CODE; for code in table cells

Alt + I


text in italics

Alt + E








applied to a graphic, centres it horizontally. Do not apply to images with text boxes, as these will then be centred too.

Alt + G




figure caption

(to be placed below the figure)



small text in the foreword

Alt + F1 / F2 ...


Heading 1 / 2 / ... / 9



clause and subclause headings (1st - 9th level); automatically numbers them

Alt + H








title of Foreword, Bibliography; no number is applied to the heading, but it appears in the table of contents

Alt + M

Intense Emphasis

text in bold + italics


List, List 2 / 3 / 4 / 5


list items (unordered lists, 1st - 5th level)

Ctrl + F1 / F2...

List Bullet, List Bullet 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 

list items (unordered lists, 1st - 5th level)


List Continue, List Continue 2 / 3 / 4 / 5

list items (unordered lists, 1st - 5th level)


List Dash 1 / 2 / 3 / 4

list items (unordered lists, 1st - 4th level)

Alt + 1 / 2...

List Number, List Number 2 / 3 / 4 / 5

list items (ordered lists, 1st - 5th level)

Ctrl + 1 / 2...

List Number alt, List Number alt 2 / 3 / 4 / 5

list items (ordered lists, 1st - 5th level)




main title of the publication on first page and before clause 1

Alt + N




Numbered PARA (level 2)

Numbered PARA (level 3)



subclauses without a heading
(generally, however, it is preferable to find a meaningful title)

Alt + A




normal text, to be used instead of Word's Normal style



text in small caps



text in small caps + italics



text in small caps + bold

Alt + B


text in bold

Alt + U

Alt + O

























subscript in tables, notes etc.

superscript in tables, notes etc.


Important: Do not use Word's built-in sub/superscript options. These do not conform to the IEC requirements (in a text of 10 pt font size, sub-/superscript requires font size 8 pt, 3 pt lowered)



footnote to a table

Alt + K


text in a normal table cell, aligned left

Alt + Z


text in a normal table cell, centered



heading of a table column

Alt + L


table caption

(to be placed above table)

Alt + T






terms other than the main term whose use is acceptable



term that should not be used

Alt + D


definition of a term




examples in a terminological entry



notes in a terminological entry

Alt + R


attributes an automatic term number level 2 (e.g. 3.1, 3.2)


TERM-number 3 


attributes an automatic term number level 3 (e.g. 3.1.1, 3.1.2)


TERM-number 4 



attributes an automatic term number level 4 (e.g.,

Alt + S




information on the source of a terminological entry


TOC 1 / 2 / ... / 9



table of contents; applied automatically when table of contents is created

Alt + V






style for variables as defined in the Directives (Times New Roman, italics)

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Boilerplate texts for forewords etc.

The documents below contain the boilerplate texts as specified in the ISO/IEC Directives, Part 2, edition 8. Please use these texts in your documents.





Boilerplate texts (English) IEC_boilerplate_texts_EN.docx installation and user guide icon 45 kB
Boilerplate texts (French) IEC_boilerplate_texts_FR.docx installation and user guide icon 50 kB


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The IEV standard template

The IEV template is to be used for drafting standards in the IEC 60050 series. The IEC 60050 series of standards together constitute the International Electrotechnical Vocabulary (IEV), which is maintained online as the Electropedia.

The IEC 60050 series of standards are maintained by IEC TC 1.

Working with the template

1. Download the file IEV.dotm below and save it in Word's Templates folder on your computer.

2. Attach the template to your working document.

3. Use the template's styles and features in MS Word.



File name


IEV template, Version 8
in English and French
IEV.dotm doc icon 393 kB
IEV template styles styles.pdf installation and user guide icon 107 kB


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The graphical symbols for diagrams template

The graphical symbols for diagrams template is to be used  when creating graphical symbols for use in electrotechnical diagrams in accordance with
IEC 63064.

The IEC 60617 database contains graphical symbols for use in electrotechnical diagrams. This International Standard is maintained by IEC TC 3.



File name


IEC 60617 Drawing Grid 16X16 IEC60617_Drawing_Grid_16X16_201702.pdf  32 KB
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Standard texts for IEC/IEEE publications

In IEC/IEEE publications, a special foreword, header and footer have to be used which are different from other IEC publications. The forewords are found in the IEC template. The header and the footer are inserted by the central office.

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IEC-specific rules

Writing equations & formulae

Which equation editor to use

It is recommended to use MathType/Wiris for composing formulae in documents. The reason for this preference is that MathType produces consistent and repeatable results that are fit for publishing, even with complex expressions.

MS Word includes a basic equation tool in the Insert tab. However, we recommend to avoid using it because it is not capable of handling complex expressions reliably and because it does not allow to define the style settings required for IEC documents. Formulae composed using Microsoft's tool will be converted to MathType if they need to be edited by IEC staff.

IEC does not accept formulae submitted as:

  • Images or drawings
  • LaTex
  • MathCAD

Contact IEC if you need help composing or editing formulae.


Working with Math Type

To create a new equation, click on the MathType tab in Word, and select Inline or Display from the Insert Equations group. Inline equations are inserted inline with text, Display equations are inserted on a new line.



To edit an existing equation, double-click on it. The MathType workspace opens. To quit the MathType workspace, click anywhere outside of the equation. You will be prompted to save your equation: click "save" in order to save your modified equation.




Configuring how equation elements are displayed

To comply with the IEC requirements, set the parameters in the MathType workspace with the values shown below. This configuration will remain valid during subsequent sessions.

You can set these parameters manually, or you can download this MathType preferences file: IEC equations.eqp. Load this preferences file by clicking on "Equation Preferences" in the MathType tab, select "This document's equation preferences" and click on "Load From MathType Preference File…" (see image below).


Math elements


Go to the folder where you saved IEC equations.eqp and select the file, click "Open", then "OK".

Note concerning Greek letters: Greek letters that do not represent variable quantities (e.g. pi and delta) are to be formatted in Arial upright. The style “User 1” can be used to accomplish this.


Note concerning superscripts/subscripts: The rules for the formatting of symbols in equations are the same as those for the formatting of symbols in the main text. If a superscript or a subscript contains a symbol representing a variable quantity, that symbol shall be formatted as such with the style “Variable” (in Times New Roman italics).


To set the parameters manually:

1) In the menu bar at the top, select Styles > Define...

set parameters manually


2) In the menu bar at the top, select Size > Define...



3) In the menu bar at the top, select Format > Spacing


MT 3


MT 4


MT 5

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Using the IEC autotexts

The IEC standard template contains autotexts (text blocks that are automatically inserted, e.g. for forewords). Using these autotexts will save you the effort of taking over and adapting forewords from other publications.

Moreover, these autotexts will always contain the most up-to-date text, provided that you use the latest version of the IEC standard template.

Types of autotexts

Autotexts exist for forewords to International Standards, Technical Reports, Technical Specifications, Publicly Available Specifications and Amendments, for the introductory paragraph of the Normative references clause and for a notice on patent rights.

Moreover, there is an IEC autotext allowing you to insert a landscape page between two portrait pages with a single click, including a correct page layout and IEC header, and another autotext to insert a table of contents (including a list of figures and tables), formatted in the correct IEC style.

How to insert an autotext

To access the autotexts, apply the IEC template to your document, then select the IEC tools tab.


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Creating the table of contents

The table of contents of IEC publications shows all elements marked up with the following styles from the IEC template:

  • Heading1, Heading2, Heading3 (clause and subclause titles up to level 3)
  • ANNEX_title (Annexes)
  • HEADING(Nonumber) (Foreword, Bibliography)

It also comprises a list of figures and a list of tables. All figure and table titles therefore need to be marked up with the corresponding style from the IEC template:

  • FIGURE-title
  • TABLE-title


Inserting the IEC table of contents

To insert a new table of contents, use the corresponding autotext from the IEC tools tab, which is part of the IEC template.


Go to the IEC tools tab and click on Insert table of contents:

adding TAB


Updating the table of contents

To update the table of contents, place the cursor inside the table and press the key F9. This needs to be done separately for the table of contents itself, the list of figures and the list of tables.

Problems with the IEC table of contents?

Due to the many regional variants and settings in Windows and Word, the IEC table of contents does not work on all computers. When we edit your document during the CDV, FDIS and publication stages, we also work on the table of contents, so the published version of your document will contain the IEC table of contents with all the appropriate settings.

However, a table of contents can also be of great help during the drafting process. If the IEC one does not work in your case, you can insert one of Word's default tables.

  • References > Table of contents, then select a model

It will not be configured exactly like an IEC publication but should allow you to benefit from the structural overview and the links to clauses and subclauses.

If you are an expert user and would like to find out how to make the IEC table of contents work in your case, please contact the Layout helpdesk.



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Tracking changes in a document

What is change tracking?

When working on a CDV document, the IEC editors track all changes that could have an impact on document structure or contents. Grammar, spelling and punctuation corrections will usually not be tracked.

Tracking changes allows the authors of a document to see what the editor has modified, highlighted in different colours. Authors can then review these changes and accept or decline them one by one.

Turning change tracking on and off

To start or stop tracking changes in a document, the Track changes option is turned on and off by going to Review > Track changes.

Displaying changes and comments

When you open a document containing tracked changes, you will see changes (insertions and deletions) and comments displayed in different colours, either within the document text itself or in balloons in the document margin.

You can adapt the way changes and comments are displayed in the Track Changes options. To access the Track Changes options:

  • Review, then click on the arrow next to Track Changes

You can choose between the balloon display (changes and comments are displayed in an extra margin next to the text) and the normal display (changes are marked up in the text, comments can be seen when hovering the mouse over the comment insertion place). To see all changes and comments in the margin:

  • after Use balloons (Print and Web layout), select Always

Note: Balloon display is available in the Print layout view, but not in the Draft view.

Reviewing changes and comments

To review changes in a document, position the cursor at the beginning of the document, then:

  • in the Review tab, click on Next in the Changes section. The first change will be highlighted. Either accept or reject it by clicking on the respective button. Repeat these steps until you have dealt with all changes.



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Working with commented documents

Word's commenting feature allows the document reviewer to add comments to the document. During CDV editing, the IEC editors use this feature for communication about the document with the TC, explaining changes that are not obvious or requesting clarification.

The TC in charge of the document should take the comments into account when updating the document for FDIS, by integrating clarifications into the text or making the necessary changes.

Inserting comments

Commenting may also be useful for collaboration within the TC. To create a comment, place the cursor at the position where you want to insert the comment, or select a piece of text, then click Review > New comment.

Displaying comments

You can adapt the way changes and comments are displayed under the Track Changes options. To access the Track Changes options, click Review, then click on the arrow next to Track Changes.

You can choose between the balloon display (changes and comments are displayed in an extra margin next to the text) and the normal display (changes are marked up in the text, comments can be seen when hovering the mouse over the comment insertion place). To see all changes and comments in the margin, after Use balloons (Print and Web layout), select Always

If you choose not to work with balloons, make sure a tooltip window is displayed when hovering your mouse above the comment. If this is not the case, please do the following:

  • Word 2010 and laterFile > Options > Display >
    check Show document tooltips on hover
  • Word 2007MS Office button > Word Options > Display >
    check Show document tooltips on hover

Reviewing comments

Under the Review tab in the Comments section, click on Next to jump to the next comment. Once you have reviewed a comment and wish to delete it, ensure the cursor is placed within the comment, then click Delete.



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Creating amendments

Amendments bring technical changes to an IEC publication. They are not designed to be used for correcting editorial problems.

An amendment consists of

  • a foreword (use the corresponding autotext from the IEC template)
  • in certain cases an introduction
  • instructions concerning the changes to be made
  • new or replaced text

Any part of the document (titles, clauses, subclauses, tables, figures etc.) can be either replaced or deleted, or new text can be added. Possible instructions are Add, Delete, Insert and Replace. Do not use Modify or Amend.

When creating an amendment, please indicate where the change takes place and what needs to be changed, according to the following scheme:

  • location
  • instructions
  • new or replaced text (where applicable)

To indicate the location, use the numbering of elements (clauses, subclauses, figures and tables) from the previous edition. Do NOT refer to the page numbers.

Numbering existing and new elements

When an existing clause, subclause, figure or table is replaced, the old number is retained.

When a new clause, subclause, term, figure or table is added, the existing ones will not be re-numbered, as updating cross-references can be very problematic.

New elements have to be numbered sequentially, starting from the last available number +1. Only at the time of the next new edition will the numbering be updated.


When inserting a new figure in a document containing 45 figures, write:
Add, between Figures 25 and 26, the following new Figure 46: [figure]

do not write:
Add, after Figure 25, the following new Figure 26. Renumber the remaining figures and cross-references as Figures 27 to 46.

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Tips & recommendations

Inserting tables in a document

When working with data that is best presented in form of a list or a table, please use MS Word's Table function. This ensures that rows and columns can be aligned and formatted in the most efficient way.

Do not use tab stops or, even worse, the space bar to align elements one beneath the other. This will make it very difficult for everyone working on the document afterwards. If you do not want table or cell borders, you can simply hide them.

To insert a table, go to Insert > Table. Then select the number of rows and columns, either on the graphical grid that opens or by clicking Insert Table.

You can also convert a list of items into a table, provided the elements are always separated by the same separator, like a tab stop, a semicolon or any other symbol. Select the entire list, then go to Insert > Table > Convert Text to Table.

Normally, the window that now opens shows the correct number of rows and columns required to convert the list to a table. If not, have a look at the symbol Word suggests as a separator and, if necessary, correct it.

Formatting text in a table

Please restrict the use of text formatting tools in a table to a minimum and use the styles from the IEC standard template wherever possible. This will avoid problems at the IEC formatting stage and ensure all IEC documents have a common look.


Specific styles exist for

  • table footnotes
  • text in a table aligned at the left table border
  • centered text
  • column headings
  • the table caption (or title)
table styles


Formatting a table

The Table Tools with the Design and Layout tab contain all the formatting commands for a table. However, they will only display when the cursor is placed within the table or the table is selected.

Choose the borders for your table in the Design tab. As the layout of IEC tables is rather simple, avoid using the pre-designed table styles from this tab.

The Layout tab allows you to add or delete rows and columns, to merge and split cells and to access the Table Properties dialogue.

If you have specific questions about the formatting of tables, please contact us.


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Creating cross-references in Word

MS Word's Cross-references feature is ideally suited to manage cross-references to figures, tables, clauses and subclauses in a document. Creating a link between the cross-reference and its target ensures that references stay correct, even when the number of a figure, table or subclause changes: references are updated automatically, which avoids manual find-and-replace operations.

To insert a cross-reference:

  • select the References tab
  • select Cross reference
  • choose the Reference type (Numbered item, Figure or Table)
  • select the correct option in Insert reference



To select the correct reference type:


Updating cross-references

  • To update a single cross-reference, select it and press [F9]
  • To update all cross-references in a document, select the entire document [Ctrl + A] and press [F9]

Error messages

If you get the error message Error! Reference source not found, it means that the field to which the cross-reference links has been deleted (for instance, a deleted figure or table caption produces this error). In this case, check if the element refers to still exists, and then re-create the cross-reference, as outlined above.

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Inserting footnotes in text

To add footnotes to the text, use MS Word's Footnote functionality.

Do not create footnotes by positioning a normal text paragraph at the bottom of the page, except for footnotes inside a table. In that case, use the style SUPerscript from the IEC template to format the reference to the footnote.

To insert a footnote, got to the References tab and click on Insert Footnote (1).


A space at the bottom of the page will open and allow you to directly insert the footnote.


To modify the default values for footnote creation, click on the arrow next to Footnotes (2).




The Footnotes window (see image below) will display and allow you to change parameters.

footnote window

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Using non-breaking spaces to keep text elements together

To prevent elements of text that belong together from being split up by a line break, please use non-breaking spaces.


  • Numbers should not be split across lines; "20 000" must not become "20
    000". Use a non-breaking space after "20".
  • Numbers and their units or symbols belong together; make sure to keep "10 °C" on one line, and avoid the possibility of it turning out as "10
  • To ensure cross-references do not come out like this: "see Table
    7", insert a non-breaking space between "Table" and "7".

To insert a non-breaking space in Word, simultaneously press the following three keys: <Ctrl> <Shift> and the spacebar.


Note: When the "Show paragraph marks" option is active in Word, a non-breaking space will look like the symbol for "degree": °

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Printing comments and tracked changes

Comments and tracked changes are part of Word's so-called markup. By choosing whether or not to include markup when printing, you can print

  • the document with changes and comments
  • the document without changes and comments
  • just the changes and comments (List of markup)


The required options can be found in the Print menu: File > Print > Settings

(in Word 2007, click the Office button, then select Print > Settings).


Then choose among the options in the first box. Print all pages prints the entire document; if Print Markup is checked, changes and comments are printed too. List of Markup will only print changes and comments, not the document itself.


print markup


Then select an option under Print what.


print markup 2003


Document prints only the document itself, Document showing markup prints the document with changes and comments, and List of markup prints just the list of changes and comments, not the document.


Related topics:

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Formatting equations

The styles for formatting equations cannot be included in the IEC standard template. The required configuration needs to be done directly in your equation editor.

For more information and the complete set of parameters to format your equations according to the IEC styles, please see Writing equations & formulae.