How to Use the OWL
There are many features of the new Purdue OWL. Learn all about using them here; you can find answers to common questions about the OWL at our FAQ.
Most of the functionality of new OWL pages can be controlled through the toolbar at the bottom of OWL pages.
The toolbar appears on all OWL writing and Engagement resources, and allows you to:
- display all sections of a handout for easy printing
- request making copies for a class, workshop, etc.
- tell the OWL staff about your link to our pages
- provide feedback, report a typographical or other content error
Printing OWL Resources
All pages on the new OWL are printable (and actually look nothing like the pages you see on screen—but work well as printed documents).
However, because our longer handouts are broken up over multiple pages for easy viewing and linking (and more precise search results), we offer a way to view all of a resource's sections at once for one-click printing. When you print off a copy, you must include the full legal notice that appears at the resource's end.
For users of the old OWL who were used to being able to download PDFs: we're not currently offering PDFs of our material. Users may, of course, make their own PDFs for personal use—though we do not allow reposting of our content in any electronic form.
Requesting to Copy OWL Resources
The Purdue OWL is meant to help teachers. While we strongly encourage you to link to OWL rather than print off material, we understand that there are situations where printed copies are required.
In most cases (unless you're requesting more than 200 copies or are charging participants for a workshop or some similar event), you may photocopy OWL materials for free. However, we ask that you please contact us for one-time permission to do so.
When you photocopy OWL resources, you must include the full legal notice that appears at the resource's end. Remember that we do NOT allow any reposting of our content, in original or modified forms, in any electronic format. See our Fair Use Policy for additional details.
Linking to OWL Resources
Linking to OWL and OWL resources is absolutely free and encouraged!
However, we do like hearing from users about the pages they're linking to—keeping numbers on this type of activity helps us to demonstrate the worth of OWL to the world community. Our contact form also allows you to include the URL of your page you're linking to us from—just because we enjoy seeing the kinds of sites instructors, students, and others are building that link to OWL.
Offering Feedback on the OWL and Reporting Errors
Still have questions? Contact the OWL staff.
How to Navigate the New OWL
This resource will help you navigate the new OWL design. If you are still having problems finding the materials you need, please use the OWL's search box at the top of the navigation bar on the left side of the page or the OWL's Site Map.
At the top of new OWL pages, you will find the seven major areas of the Purdue OWL Family of Sites:
- Purdue OWL: pages containing the writing resources
- Writing Lab: pages containing information on the lab located in 226 Heavilon Hall on Purdue's West Lafayette, Indiana, campus in the USA.
- OWL News: pages containing the OWL's newsletter and its archive
- Engagement: pages containing the Writing Lab's civic engagement projects; users will also find writing resources here on adult basic education: GED, ESL, and job search material
- Research: pages containing an extensive annotated bibliography on OWL and writing center research
- Contact: pages containing contact information for Writing Lab faculty and staff, as well as contact information for the Purdue OWL Email Tutors.
- Site Map: a listing of all resources contained on the OWL Family of Sites
Beneath the links to the major areas of the OWL, you will find the list of writing categories:
A. General Writing: This area contains resources on:
The Writing Process
Common Writing Assignments
B. Research and Citation: This area contains resources on:
Chicago Manual Style
American Sociology Association Style
C. Teaching and Tutoring: This area contains resources on:
D. Subject Specific Writing: This area contains resources on:
Professional, Technical Writing
Writing in Literature
Writing in the Social Sciences
Writing in Engineering
Journalism and Journalistic Writing
E. Job Search Writing: This area contains resources on:
Preparing an Application
Job Search Letters
Résumés and Curriculum Vitae
F. ESL: This area contains resources on:
Teaching and Tutoring ESL Writing
ESL Writing for Students
Below the writing categories, you will find the breadcrumb list showing where you are in the OWL. To return to the OWL home page, either select Purdue OWL at the top left side of the page or select Purdue OWL from the breadcrumb list. To return to the splash page of the Purdue OWL Family of Sites, select OWL Family of Sites in the breadcrumb list.
The image below shows the link to the OWL home page, the link in the breadcrumbs to the home page of the entire OWL Family of Sites (the splash page), and the breadcrumbs:
You may use the links to the major areas of the OWL, the writing categories, and/or the breadcrumbs to navigate the OWL. Or you may use the navigation bar at the left side of OWL pages. Please note that the navigation bar will change to show resources available within each writing category. To find specific writing resources, select links in the navigation bar:
1. Select the writing category.
2. Select the sub-category
3. Lastly, select the writing resource
The page content to the right of the navigation bar will reflect the writing category you are in and the writing resource you have selected.
Below the navigation bar, you will find the Suggested Resources box, which contains links to popular and helpful OWL material.
At any point during your search for OWL resources, you may use the OWL search box at the top of the navigation bar, or you may select the link to the OWL Site Map at the top right side of OWL pages.