Formatting

The following applies to how specific things are formatted. Please refer to the Digital Foundations documentation for more on time format ↗, date format ↗ and writing style ↗.

Below are guidelines for formatting various elements used in our internal business tools.


Numbers & currency

  • Numbers over 3 digits get commas.
  • Always prefix a currency amount with the symbol for the currency (without a space).
  • Avoid using abbreviations for, or rounding up/down long numbers (e.g. 10K or $10K). Our internal business tools deal with non-trivial, real data — rounding numbers to the nearest ten, hundred or thousand is not appropriate to our business needs. Also “K” and “M” can cause confusion relating to the data — see this related article: Mixing use of K for thousands and MM for millions ↗
We do: We don't:
1
10
100
1,000
10,000
1000
10000
10K
10M
$100
£100
€100
$10,000
$10,000,000
$ 100
100$
100 dollars
$10K
$10M

Writing

  • Sentence case ↗ should be used wherever possible, as it's easier to read and friendlier. This applies to all copy, including headers, sub-headers, paragraph copy, captions, form labels & inputs, links and buttons.
  • Titles (including feature names in products) and names should use title case ↗.
  • Sentences, paragraphs and bullet pointed lists should always end with a period.
  • Titles, headers and sub-headers should never end with a period.
  • Form labels/legends should never end with a period.
  • Placeholder text in form inputs, textareas and selects should never end with a period.
  • Text on buttons should never end with a period.
  • Ampersands (&): If it’s in a sentence, spell out the word “and,” but if it’s in a title an “&” is fine, but not compulsory.
We do: We don't:
A title like this
A title like this and this
A title like this & this
A Title Like This
A title like this.
A TITLE LIKE THIS
A sentence like this.
A sentence like this and this.
A sentence like this
A sentence like this & this.

Date format

  • Day of the week can (if needed) be shortened to 3 characters (e.g. Friday becomes Fri).
  • Month can (if needed) be shortened to 3 characters (e.g. November becomes Nov).
  • If day of the week is included, it should be first in the order, followed by a comma.
  • A month should always be accompanied by a year, for clarity.
  • A year should never be abbreviated. Use the full 4 digits.
  • The day of the month should be a singular number, don’t include “st”, “nd” or “th”.
  • The day of the month should always be accompanied by a month. The month followed by the number, and separated by a space. The year should now be separated by a comma and a space, to differentiate from the day number before it.
  • Any times, shown inline with a date should follow the time format ↗ rules, and be separated from the date with a bullet — [date] • [time].
  • If a time is shown inline with a date, you should specify for the day of the month, month, year (and optionally day of the week), for clarity.
We do: We don't:
Nov 2016
November 2016
Nov
November
Nov 16
Nov ‘16
Nov 1, 2016
November 1, 2016
1
1st
1 Nov
Nov 1st
Tue, Nov 1, 2016
Tuesday, Nov 1, 2016
Tue
Tuesday
Tue Nov 1
Nov 1, 2016 • 9:00 am
Tue, Nov 1, 2017 • 9:00 am
Nov 1 • 9:00 am
Nov • 9:00 am
Tue • 9:00 am
Tue, Nov • 9:00 am

Time format

  • Use the 24-hour clock internationally.
  • Use the 12-hour clock in the United States.
  • A colon should be used between the hour and minutes. Any other punctuation can be confused as decimal or monetary.
  • Always specify minutes, as well as the hour.
  • Where a 12-hour format is used, the time should always be accompanied by a space, followed by “am” or “pm” (lowercase) so it’s clear what time is being communicated. The 24-hour format has no need for ‘am’ or ‘pm’.
  • If displaying a time range, use a hyphen ( - ) to separate the start and end time. Where a 12-hour clock is used, the “am” and/or “pm” should be included for both the start and end times, not singularly at the end.
  • Specify a time zone if the scenario requires it, for clarity. Please see notes on time zones here ↗ and here ↗ in the digital foundations documentation for more information.
We do: We don't:
19:00 19:00 pm
19.00
19,00
7:00 am
7:00 pm
7:00AM
7am
7 a.m.
7 PM
7:00 PM
7,00 pm
19:00 - 20:00
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
7:00 - 8:00 PM
7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
19:00 (EDT)
7pm (EDT)
19:00 - 20:00 (EDT)
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm (EDT)
7 PM (EDT)
19:00 (EDT) - 20:00 (EDT)
7:00 pm (EDT) - 8:00 pm (EDT)

Required field

  • A required field signifies to the user that a form element must be filled in.
  • A label or legend should include an asterisk * after the label/legend, separated by a space.
We do: We don't:
Email * Email*
Email (required)

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