Capitalization

Table of Contents

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.

Examples:

Country/Region

Turn on the On/Off toggle.

UI capitalization

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

Additional resources

Table of Contents