What are Guides?

Guides are documents that provide advice

  • to standards writers on how to deal with specific issues when drafting standards; OR
  • to national standards bodies on how to deal with issues specific to standardization principles.

A number of Guides are jointly developed between ISO and IEC and then published as ISO/IEC Guides.

Many of these issues are broad and therefore of interest to a wide range of ISO committees – for example, guidance on how to take account of sustainability in the drafting of standards (ISO Guide 82), or methods of regional or national adoption of standards (ISO/IEC Guide 21).

There are also a number of Guides on more specialized topics that are designed for use by committees working in particular sectors – for example, rules for drafting and presentation of safety standards for machinery (ISO Guide 78) or guidance on the inclusion of safety aspects in standards for medical devices (ISO/IEC Guide 63).

Who develops Guides?

Guides are prepared by ISO’s Policy Development Committees (such as CASCO or COPOLCO), or by an IEC Advisory Committee or Strategic Group, an ISO group reporting to the ISO technical management board, or an ISO/IEC Joint Coordination Group.

After consensus has been obtained in the group preparing the Guide, the draft is disseminated to all ISO member bodies for a twelve-week enquiry vote. A draft Guide is approved if not more than 1/4 of the votes cast by the ISO member bodies are negative.

In the case of ISO/IEC Guides, the acceptance criteria has to be met in both organizations independently.

  • Where can I obtain copies of Guides?

    Some Guides are publicly available.

    Other Guides are available for purchase from the ISO Store, the IEC webstore, or the webstore of the ISO member body in your country.

    If you are an ISO committee chair, managers or working group convenor, you have access to the entire catalogue of ISO Guides free of charge, to aid you in ISO’s technical work.
    This access is via ISO e-committees and is password protected – go to www.iso.org/guides and then login using your global directory user name and password.

    If you are an expert in an ISO working group, you can obtain Guides via your working group convenor.

  • List of ISO/IEC Guides
    (please login to view full list)