CiA house style

The CiA house style document specifies the language, formatting, and presentation of CiA specifications and CiA technical reports. It is also partly applicable to CiA publications such as CAN Newsletter articles, CiA press releases, and contributions to social media. When drafting CiA technical documents, the primary reference is the ISO/IEC Directives, Part 2, which states the general principles and rules to follow in order to ensure that CiA documents are clear, precise, and unambiguous. CiA aims to deliver high-quality documents when and where the market needs them, both in terms of technical content and ease of use. CiA technical documents are used worldwide. Consistency in writing style and tone, and in document look and feel, allows the user to easily recognize a CiA technical document, to know how to use it, and to have confidence in the quality of its contents. It also enables documents to be published more efficiently.

Inclusive language

CiA is committed to use inclusive language in its specifications and technical reports. Table 1 provides the often-used inclusive terms and the terms they substitute in the CAN application field.


Table 1: Inclusive terms and non-inclusive terms in the CAN application field
Non-inclusive terms Inclusive terms
application master application manager
flying (NMT) master flying (NMT) manager
LSS master/LSS slave LSS manager/LSS server
NMT master/NMT slave NMT manager/NMT server

Avoid terminology related to race

Avoid terminology related to race. Substitute “master” and “slave” by other terms such as “controller/device”, “producer/consumer”, or “commander” and “responder”. Instead of describing lists as “black and white”, use “block and allow” lists, for example. The terms “male and female” are sometimes used to describe electronic and mechanical connectors or fasteners. These terms can be substituted with, for example, “convex”, “plug”, “pin” or “prong” as opposed to “concave”, “receptacle”, “socket” or “slot”.

Use inclusive language all over the documents

Table 2 provides some examples of gender-neutral expression.

Use “she or he”, “him or her” and “his or her” or, for example, “the operator” or “the manufacturer” when referring to an individual. Alternatively, “they”, “them”, and “their” can be used as singular or plural.

Avoid using words that are unnecessarily gender specific. For example, write: “The material was synthetic” rather than “The material was man-made”.

Avoid stereotyped assumptions about the roles of men and women or people of different ages and backgrounds. For example, do not assume that a construction worker is a man or that an older person does not possess skills in using modern technology. When writing about groups of people, use language that highlights that they are individual people with X characteristics in common rather than a group defined only by that characteristic. For example, write “people with a visual impairment” rather than “the blind and partially sighted”.


Table 2: Examples of gender-neutral expression
Traditional (gendered) Alternative (gender-neutral)
businessman business manager; executive; agent; representative (plural: business people; business community)
chairman chair or chairperson
craftsman artisan; craftworker
foreman Supervisor
man person or individual
man a project staff a project; hire personnel; employ staff
man-made artificial; synthetic; manufactured; industrial; [relevant verb, e.g. made, created, caused] by human beings
mankind people, humanity; human beings; the human race; men and women; homo sapiens; the public; society
manpower staff; labor; workforce; personnel; workers; human resources
middleman go-between, intermediary
mother tongue first language; native language
policeman/men police officer (plural: police)
spokesman spokesperson; spokesman or woman (for specific person)
the common man the average or ordinary person


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