Set up the necessary config files and folder structure to start enforcing a style guide.

Quick Start

The fastest way to get started with Vale is to use the Config Generator to create a .vale.ini configuration file.

Once you have your local .vale.ini created in the directory of your choice, run vale sync from the command line to initialize it:

$ cd some-project
# You'll need to create this file
$ cat .vale.ini
$ vale sync
$ ls styles
$ vale

Sample Repository

In order to familiarize ourselves with the typical Vale workflow, we’ll be referencing a sample repository that contains the required components of a Vale configuration.

If you’d like to follow along locally, download or clone the sample repository and copy the terminal session below:

$ cd vale-boilerplate
# Check your version of Vale:
$ vale -h
# Run Vale on the sample content:
$ vale
 13:20   warning  'extremely' is a weasel word!  write-good.Weasel
 15:120  warning  'However' is too wordy.        write-good.TooWordy
 27:6    error    'is' is repeated!              Vale.Repetition
 27:6    warning  'is' is repeated!              write-good.Illusions

1 errors, 3 warnings and 0 suggestions in 1 file.


The first component we’re going to discuss is our StylesPath (the /styles directory):

$ tree styles
│   ├───Blog
│   └───Marketing

This is where you’ll store all of your Vale-related files (with the exception of the .vale.ini file, discussed below).


In the example above, the Microsoft and write-good top-level directories are both styles. These are collections of individual writing rules packaged together to enforce guidelines from a third-party organization or tool.

In practice, you’ll typically come across two types of styles:

  1. prose -> YAML: These styles take written guidelines (such as those from the Microsoft Writing Style Guide) and convert them into a collection of Vale-compatible YAML files. The benefits of this process are that the style becomes both machine-readable and machine-enforceable.

  2. code -> YAML: These styles take guidelines enforced by a language-dependent tool (such as JavaScript’s write-good) and convert them into a collection of Vale-compatible YAML files. The benefits of this process include improved support for markup and easier installation and usage (Vale is a standalone, cross-platform binary—meaning you don’t have to worry about configuring a programming language and its dependencies).

The dedicated styles section explains how you can create your own custom style.


Vocab is a special folder designed to supplement your styles. Each of its sub-folders—in this case, Blog and Marketing—contain two files: accept.txt and reject.txt.

These files allow you to control rule “exceptions” (such as what is considered a spelling error) without having to modify the style’s source itself.


The .vale.ini file is where you’ll control the majority of Vale’s behavior, including what files to lint and how to lint them:

StylesPath = styles

Vocab = Blog

BasedOnStyles = Vale, write-good

See the configuration section for more information.

In the sample repository, represents the content we want to lint. And while you probably have a lot more content than a single Markdown file, this example demonstrates one of Vale’s most useful features: its support for different markup languages.

In practice, this means that you can use Vale on “real-world” markup (that contains front matter, source code, tables, lists, etc.) and Vale will be able to both intelligently apply rules to and completely ignore certain sections of text.