Configure Multiple Sentence Length Limits for Different Contexts

You can update your language configuration file to configure different maximum sentence lengths for different contexts. Many style guides have one general guideline for the maximum length of a sentence, but for some standards like Simplified Technical English (STE), the maximum length depends on the context. For example, sentences in procedures and descriptions can have different sentence lengths. For this reason, you might want to configure different upper limits for sentence length that are tied to a specific context.

Restriction: If you use the Acrolinx Analytics feature, you won't be able to get reporting data for your different "Sentence Too Long" guidelines. The reporting data for multiple "Sentence Too Long" guidelines, is aggregated in to one figure for all "Sentence to Long" guidelines. For example, this restriction means that you can't get data on the contexts that writers have most trouble with.

To configure multiple sentence length limits for different contexts, follow these steps:

  1. Open your overlay of the relevant language configuration file.

    If you have not yet created an overlay of this file, create a new version of the file at the following location: 


    If this location does not yet exist, create the required subdirectories first.

  2. Add the following properties: 


    Replace the placeholder parameters such as "<RULE_SET>" with proper values. Use the following table as guide on what to provide for each parameter. You can also use the example configurations that come after this table to help you configure the properties correctly.



    RULE_SETThe name of the writing guide where the word limit should apply.

    An arbitrary identifier that groups the settings for one instance of the "Sentence Too Long" guideline.

    This identifier could be a number, or a short code that helps you remember which context the settings belong to.


    A short help text that appears in the plug-in shortcut menu when a sentence gets flagged.

    You can use a variable to display the current sentence length so that your writers know how many words to remove.


    The path to a configuration file that loads localized help information for the guideline.

    You must create this configuration file as well as the relevant help files. You can create copies of your existing "Sentence Too Long" help configuration file, as well as the localized help files. You can then adapt the contents to your new guideline.

    This information should be specific to the context where the sentence length issue occurred.

    For example, suppose that the guideline is for procedures. The help information should explain that procedures need to be restricted to a certain length.


    The maximum number of words that are permitted in a sentence.

    RULE_NAMEThe name of the guideline. This name is for reference purposes only. In most cases, your users won't see this name anywhere in the interface. They see the short name or help phrase instead.

    A unique identifier for the guideline.

    You are free to define any form of identifier, as long as it is different from the other guideline identifiers.

    If you work with STE guidelines, you could define the corresponding number in the STE specification. For example, the guideline ID for a procedure length guideline could be something like "STE_5_1".

    RULE_SHORT_NAMEThe short name for the guideline. Use this name to find the guideline in the Dashboard. Your guideline appears with this name on the guideline configuration page.

    For example, to add two sentence length limits for the writing guide "TechPubs" you would add the properties as follows

    TechPubs.sentenceLengthChecker.proc.sentenceTooLongPhrase=Sentence too long in procedural contexts: $words words 
    TechPubs.sentenceLengthChecker.proc.sentenceTooLongHelp=../common/sentence_too_long_procedures.xml TechPubs.sentenceLengthChecker.proc.sentenceLength=20 TechPubs.sentenceLengthChecker.proc.sentenceTooLongRuleName=sentence_too_long_procedures TechPubs.sentenceLengthChecker.proc.externalRuleId=STE_5_1 TechPubs.sentenceLengthChecker.proc.shortName=stl_procedures
    TechPubs.sentenceLengthChecker.desc.sentenceTooLongPhrase=Sentence too long in descriptive contexts: $words words 
    TechPubs.sentenceLengthChecker.desc.sentenceTooLongHelp=../common/sentence_too_long_descriptions.xml TechPubs.sentenceLengthChecker.desc.sentenceLength=25 TechPubs.sentenceLengthChecker.desc.sentenceTooLongRuleName=sentence_too_long_descriptions TechPubs.sentenceLengthChecker.desc.externalRuleId=STE_6_1 TechPubs.sentenceLengthChecker.desc.shortName=stl_descriptions
    Save your changes and reload the language configuration on the relevant language servers.
  3. Navigate to  Guidance Settings >  Guidelines  and make your new guidelines context-specific.

For example, if your new sentence limit should apply to procedures only, go to Guidelines , and find your new instance of the "Sentence to Long" guideline in the section Configure Your Guidelines.

Select the  Contextual radio button next to the guideline and in the dialog box that appears, select Enable in the selected contexts , and then select the "Procedures" context.

If you don't have a procedures context, create one first , then try this step again.