Capitalization

Microsoft style uses sentence-style capitalization. That means everything is lowercase except the first word and proper nouns, which include the names of brands, products, and services. (Microsoft has more than 500 offerings. To help customers recognize, find, and buy them, reserve capitalization for product and service names.)

Follow these guidelines in Microsoft content:

  • Use sentence-style capitalization most of the time. That means:

    • Capitalize the first word of a sentence, heading, title, UI label (such as the name of a button or check box), or standalone phrase.
    • Capitalize proper nouns. To learn more about proper nouns, see Nouns and pronouns.
    • 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 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.

  • Don't capitalize the spelled-out form of an acronym unless it's a proper noun.

  • 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.

Learn more To learn more about capitalization, see The Chicago Manual of Style. If you're not sure whether to capitalize a term, check the A–Z word list and The American Heritage Dictionary.

For information about capitalizing UI labels in instructions, see Formatting text in instructions.

Sentence-style capitalization in titles and headings

Use sentence-style capitalization in most titles and headings: capitalize the first word and lowercase the rest.
Exceptions Proper nouns, including brand, product, and service names, are always capitalized. If a title or heading includes a colon, capitalize the first word after it.

Titles of blog posts, articles, documentation topics, and press releases use sentence-style capitalization.
Examples
Watch your favorite HD movies, TV shows, and more
1 TB of cloud storage
Choose the Office version that's right for you
Available for Microsoft partners and commercial and public-sector customers
Can a search engine predict the World Cup winner?
Block party: Communities use Minecraft to create public spaces

Title-style capitalization

Occasionally, title-style capitalization—capitalizing most words—is appropriate. For example, product and service names, the names of blogs, book and song titles, article titles in citations, white paper titles, and titles of people (Vice President or Director of Marketing) require title-style capitalization. In a tweet, it's OK to use title-style capitalization to highlight the name of a quoted article.

On the rare occasions when title-style capitalization is required, follow these guidelines:

  • Always capitalize the first and last words.
    Example
    A Home to Go Back To

  • Don't capitalize a, an, or the unless it's the first word.
    Examples
    Microsoft on the Issues
    The Official Microsoft Blog

  • Don't capitalize prepositions of four or fewer letters (such as on, to, in, up, down, of, and for) unless the preposition is the first or last word.
    Examples
    How to Personalize Windows
    To Personalize Windows
    Ryse: Son of Rome
    Achieving Excellence in the Classroom Through Technology
    OneNote Class Notebooks for Teachers
    The Teaching Tool You're Looking For

  • Don't capitalize and, but, or, nor, yet, or so unless it's the first word or the last word.
    Example
    Monitoring and Operating a Private or Hybrid Cloud

  • Capitalize all other words, including nouns, verbs (including is and other forms of be), adverbs (including very and too), adjectives, and pronouns (including this, that, and its).
    Examples
    Enterprise Agility Is Not an Oxymoron
    This Is All There Is
    Teaching Math Over and Over Again, in Less Time Than Before

  • Capitalize the second part of a hyphenated compound if it would be capitalized without the hyphen or it's the last word.
    Examples
    Self-Paced Training for Microsoft Visual Studio
    Microsoft Management Console: Five Essential Snap-Ins
    Five Essential Snap-ins for Microsoft Management Console

  • Capitalize the first word of labels and terms that appear in UI and APIs unless they're always lowercase (for example, fdisk).

  • In programming languages, follow the traditional capitalization of keywords and other special terms.

See also Formatting titles