The Plain Writing Act

  • 7 topics | 40m 59s
  • Up to 30 languages
  • Transcripts
Confusing content, imprecise instructions, and unnecessarily complicated processes all cause problems for people who need to read and use government documents. The Plain Writing Act aims to address these issues by requiring executive agencies to produce documents that are easy to understand and use. This course will help you meet this requirement by introducing principles of effective composition for both paper and web content, such as analyzing your audience, organizing the presentation of information, and choosing clear words and phrases. This course was developed with subject matter support provided by the law firm of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC. Please note, however, that the course materials and content are for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. Nothing herein, or in the course materials, shall be construed as professional advice as to any particular situation or constitute a legal opinion with respect to compliance with any federal, state, or local laws. Transmission of the information is not intended to create, and receipt does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. Readers should not act upon this information without seeking professional counsel. The information contained herein is provided only as general information that may or may not reflect the most current legal developments. This information is not provided in the course of an attorney-client relationship and is not intended to constitute legal advice or to substitute for obtaining legal advice from an attorney licensed in your state.


  • identify what you need to know about your audience before you write
  • identify best practices for content organization
  • identify what to know about your audience and how to properly organize content
  • identify best practices for writing with clear language
  • recognize when to use other aids to improve clarity
  • identify guidelines for writing web content
  • identify best practices to write clearly and how also to properly write for the web


  • Knowing Your Audience
  • Organizing Your Content
  • Knowledge Check: Your Audience and Your Content
  • Writing Clearly
  • Improving Clarity Using Alternatives to Words Alone
  • Writing Web Content
  • Knowledge Check: Writing Clearly and Web Writing