A Edit

a11y, accessibility

Abbreviation for accessibilityAccessibility Accessibility (commonly shortened to a11y) refers to the design of products, devices, services, or environments for people with disabilities. The concept of accessible design ensures both “direct access” (i.e. unassisted) and “indirect access” meaning compatibility with a person’s assistive technology (for example, computer screen readers). (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accessibility).

It’s OK to abbreviate localization as a11yAccessibility Accessibility (commonly shortened to a11y) refers to the design of products, devices, services, or environments for people with disabilities. The concept of accessible design ensures both “direct access” (i.e. unassisted) and “indirect access” meaning compatibility with a person’s assistive technology (for example, computer screen readers). (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accessibility). Spell out on the first mention.

Don’t use accessible as a synonym for simple. Instead, use easy to use or intuitive.

For more information about spelling out abbreviations, see Abbreviations.

For more information about writing for a global audience, see Accessbility.

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a, an

Use a when the next word starts with a consonant sound, regardless of what letter it starts with.

For more information, see Articles (a, an, the).

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abnormal

Don’t use to refer to a person. It’s OK to use abnormal in developer documentation and for a technical audience.

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abort

Avoid using in user documentation and for a general audience.

Instead, use exit, cancel, stop, quit, end, or a contextually relevant term.

See also cancel, canceled, canceling, cancellation, end, exit, stop, quit.

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about

Use instead of on to describe any information about what a cross-reference links to.

Examples

Warning: Not recommended: For more information on nested procedures, see Sub-steps in numbered procedures.


Tip: Recommended: For more information about nested procedures, see Sub-steps in numbered procedures.

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above

Don’t use to mean earlier to refer to a position in a document or article. Instead, use earlier or preceding.

Don’t use as an adjective to introduce a table, list, or other content as in the above section. Instead, use the preceding or use a cross-reference.

For more information, see Cross-references.

Don’t use for a range of numbers. Instead, use later.

Don’t use to refer to a position in the UI. In general, avoid using directional language in instructions to locate UI elements or other content. Directional language proves to be difficult for accessibility or for localization. People with cognitive impairments, as well as people using assistive technologies such as screen-reading software and might have difficulty interpreting directional language. If a particular UI element or other content is difficult to convey, include a screenshot or illustration.

For more information, see Procedures and instructions.

See also earlier, following, later.

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access

Avoid using. Instead, use see, edit, find, use, view, log in, or a contextually relevant term.

Don’t use access to mean open, start, or create.

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activate

Avoid using. Instead, use turn on or a contextually relevant term.

See also turn on, turn off.

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add

Don’t use as a verb to describe installing applications and programs. Instead, use install.

See also install.

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add-on

Hyphenate.

Not add on or addon.

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address

Address can refer to either an email address, a location, a website URL, or in the context of computer memory.

It’s OK to use address as long as the context is clear.

See also email, memory.

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address bar

Use to refer to the URL bar or search box in a browser.

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admin, administrator

Use admin or administrator unless you need to specify a particular administrator such as system administrator, network administrator, or database administrator.

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afterward

Not afterwards.

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agnostic

Don’t use. Instead, use a precise term like platform-independent.

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Ajax

Capitalize.

Don’t use a filename extension to refer to a type of file. For example, use Ajax file rather than .ajax file.

For more information, see Referring to file types.

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aka

Don’t use. Instead, spell out as also known as, present an alternative term using parentheses or the word or, or use a contextually relevant term. You can also write out a definition.

Examples

Warning: Not recommended: Localization, aka l10n, is a process by which a product or service is translated and adapted to another language and culture along with its documentation.


Tip: Recommended: Localization, also known as l10n, is a process by which a product or service is translated and adapted to another language and culture along with its documentation.


Tip: Recommended: Localization (l10n) is a process by which a product or service is translated and adapted to another language and culture along with its documentation.


Tip: Recommended: Localization, or l10n, is a process by which a product or service is translated and adapted to another language and culture along with its documentation.

For more information, see Parentheses.

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alarm

Don’t use as a generic term for a sound intended to get the user’s attention. Instead use beep or a contextually specific term.

It’s OK to use alarm in a specific description.

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alert

OK to use in developer documentation and for a technical audience to refer to an auditory or visual cue.

Avoid using in user documentation and for a general audience. Instead, use notification or a contextually relevant term.

See also notification.

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alias

Use for with alias; not of or to. Don’t use aliased.

Avoid using for an email address, account name, or other similar name.

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alignment

Use to refer to the alignment of text to the left or right margin. Don’t use justification. Justified text is text that is aligned on both the right and the left margins. To describe alignment on one margin only, use left-aligned or right-aligned, not left-justified or right-justified.

See also left align, left-aligned, right align, right-aligned.

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allow, allows

Avoid using. Instead, rephrase the sentence without using the term.

Don’t use allows you to. Instead, rewrite the sentence to emphasize on the task that the user can accomplish. If you have to express ability to do something, use lets you.

See also enable, enabled, let, lets.

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alpha

Capitalize when part of a product name.

Examples

Tip: Recommended: WordPress 5.8 Alpha 2


Tip: Recommended: WordPress has released an alpha version of 5.8.

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alphabetical

Not alphabetical.

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alphanumeric

One word. Not alpha numeric or alpha-numeric.

Don’t use alphanumerical.

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AM, PM

Always include AM and PM while expressing times. Insert a space between the time and AM or PM and ensure that it is capitalized.

For more information, see Dates and times.

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America, American

America refers to the American continent, including both North and South America.

Don’t use to refer to the United States. Instead, use a more accurate term such as the US or the United States.

For more information, see Writing documentation for an international audience.

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among

Use among when referring to two or more things that aren’t distinct.

Example

Tip: Recommended: Selecting among thousands of themes.

Don’t interchange between with among. Use between when referring to two or more distinct things.

See also between.

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ampersand

See & (ampersand).

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analog

Note spelling.

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and/or

Avoid using. Instead, reconsider and rewrite the sentence whenever possible.

It’s OK to use and/or to avoid lengthy and complex sentences, or where space is limited.

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and so on

Don’t use. Instead, use such as or like followed by some examples.

Don’t use etc.

See also like, such as.

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anti-

In general, don’t hyphenate words beginning with anti- such as antivirus and antialiasing, unless anti- is followed by a proper noun or it is absolutely necessary to avoid confusion.

For more information, see Hyphens.

For word usage of specific terms, see The American Heritage Dictionary.

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Apache

Colloquially shortened for Apache HTTP Server Project. Capitalize.

For more information about spelling out abbreviations, see Abbreviations.

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API

Initialism for application programming interface. Use uppercase.

It’s OK to use lowercase in developer documentation, such as commands.

For more information about spelling out abbreviations, see Abbreviations.

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app, application

Use a descriptor of the application whenever possible.

In general, use app instead of application to refer to end-user programs in mobile and web software contexts.

It’s OK to use application in technical contexts and developer documentation.

Don’t use application program.

See also program.

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appear

Use appear, not display to refer to items being visible on the screen.

Examples

Warning: Not recommended: The setup dialog box displays.


Warning: Not recommended: The setup dialog box is displayed.


Tip: Recommended: The setup dialog box appears.

It’s OK to use appear in a task for information.

Example

Tip: Recommended: The options only appear when you submit the form.

See also display.

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argument

OK to use in developer documentation and for a technical audience.

Avoid using in user documentation and for a general audience. Instead, use option.

For more information, see Command-line syntax.

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arrow keys

Use lowercase in general references. Capitalize the name when you refer to a specific arrow key.

Don’t use direction keys, directional keys, or movement keys.

Examples

Warning: Not recommended: Use the Arrow keys to navigate through the table.


Tip: Recommended: Use the arrow keys to navigate through the table.


Warning: Not recommended: Press the Right arrow key.


Tip: Recommended: Press the Right Arrow key.

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as

Avoid using to mean because. Instead, use because.

As can refer to the context of time; whereas because refers to a reason for something.

See also because, since.

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as well as

Don’t use as a synonym for and.

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ASCII

Acronym for American Standard Code for Information Interchange. Use uppercase.

For more information about spelling out abbreviations, see Abbreviations.

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ask

Don’t use as a noun. Instead, use request, task, or a contextually relevant term.

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assure

Don’t use to mean ensure. Use assure to affirm a statement.

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auto-

In general, don’t hyphenate words beginning with auto- such as autosave, autoplay, and autoscale, unless auto- is followed by a proper noun or it is absolutely necessary to avoid confusion.

For more information, see Hyphens.

For word usage of specific terms, see The American Heritage Dictionary.

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