This is driving me crazy. There is such a wonderful word and I haven't been able to come up with it after trying for days. It is similar to "naming convention" but that is not right.

Example would be that you have to make a spreadsheet with columns listing data in the correct sequence. Style, then color, then size, then location. Once you make that sequence you have defined the ____ for the list. The prescribed sequence to follow.

  • Are you looking for "layout"?
    – Centaurus
    Jan 18, 2018 at 0:44
  • 1
    Collation. Also consider grade (grading something, like students, means assigning to each student a rank, from 1st to Nth; these ranks can then be used to sort students, e.g. "line up from 1 on the left to N on the right").
    – Dan Bron
    Jan 18, 2018 at 1:13
  • Progression works.
    – Phil Sweet
    Jan 18, 2018 at 2:58

3 Answers 3


The word I would use here would be Hierarchy.

An arrangement or classification of things according to relative importance or inclusiveness. ‘a taxonomic hierarchy of phyla, classes, orders, families, genera, and species’


  • I edited for three reasons, the first being that links often fail and then we are left with an archived answer which is unsupported. My second reason was to show you how to present a link without the untidy details. The third was to highlight the most relevant part of the reference. Please feel free to re-edit if you wish.
    – Nigel J
    Jan 18, 2018 at 1:09

The word "template" is a good choice. "Once you make that sequence you have defined the 'template' for the list." Many software applications include built-in templates or allow users to create their own. Templates may prescribe layout, color, fonts, and other attributes to implement a particular look-and-feel. The user can created a new document using a template as a starting point and then focus on populating the document with their data, without worrying about the format which the template provides.

"Schema" may be the word you're looking for, given the context of your example. For example, a database schema or XML schema defines data types, structure, and relationships. Schema in the more general sense means "a method for making, doing, or accomplishing something." https://www.freethesaurus.com/Database+schema


Architecture could work in this case.

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