General capitalization rules
Use sentence-style capitalization. That means everything is lowercase except for the first word and proper nouns, which include the names of brands, products, and services.
- Use sentence-style capitalization most of the time. That means:
- Capitalize the first word of a sentence, heading, title (documentation only, marketing will use title case), UI label (such as the name of a button or check box), or standalone phrase.
- Capitalize proper nouns.
- Use lowercase for everything else.
- Always capitalize the first word of a new sentence. Rewrite sentences that start with a word that’s always lowercase.
- Don’t use all uppercase for emphasis. (It’s OK to use italic font sparingly for emphasis.)
- Don’t use all lowercase as a design choice. Although all uppercase is used occasionally as a design element, don’t use it in text.
- Don’t use internal capitalization (such as AutoScale or e-Book) unless it’s part of a brand name or UI term.
- Don’t capitalize the spelled-out form of an acronym unless it’s a proper noun.
- Don’t capitalize job titles/roles unless they precede a name. In general, titles that come before names are capitalized, and titles that come after names or are used as general terms are lowercase.
- Correct: John Smith is the vice president.
- Incorrect: John Smith is the Vice President.
- Correct: Vice President John Smith.
- Incorrect: BriteCore has many Independent Contractors.
- Correct: BriteCore has many independent contractors.
- Don’t capitalize general terms; only capitalize specific titles and names—proper nouns.
- Incorrect: There are two instances in which Contractor Agreement Renewal is necessary.
- Correct: There are two instances in which contractor agreement renewal is necessary.
- Correct: Independent contractors must complete the Contractor Agreement each year. (This is the name of the form/policy/procedure.)
- Incorrect: Independent contractors must complete the contractor agreement each year. (The names of a specific form/policy/procedure should be capitalized.)
- Incorrect: Employees must sign an employee handbook each year. (An = not a specific handbook; thus, you know it’s not the title.)
- Correct: Employees must sign the Employee Handbook each year. (The = a specific handbook; thus, you know it’s the title.)
- When words are joined by a slash, capitalize the word after the slash if the word before the slash is capitalized.
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Use the following capitalization guidelines when documenting UI elements:
- For menu names, command names, command button names, dialog box titles, and tab names, follow the capitalization of the user interface. If the user interface is inconsistent, use sentence-style capitalization.
- For labels in the user interface that are all lowercase or all uppercase, sentence-style capitalization is recommended.
File name extensions
Write file name extensions in lowercase, preceded by a period. Don’t write them in all caps.
Examples: .csv, .docx, .xlsx, .jpeg