Top 10 tips for Microsoft style and voice

Use bigger ideas, fewer words

Our modern design hinges on crisp minimalism. Shorter is always better. To learn more, see Brand voice.

Example
Replace this: If you're ready to purchase Office 365 for your organization, contact your Microsoft account representative.

With this: Ready to buy? Contact us.

Write like you speak

Read your text aloud. Does it sound like something a real person would say? Be friendly and conversational. No. Robot. Words. To learn more, see Brand voice.

Example
Replace this: Invalid ID

With this: You need an ID that looks like this: someone@example.com

Project friendliness

Use contractions: it’s, you’ll, you’re, we’re, let’s. To learn more, see Use contractions.

Example
Replace this: To help you avoid traffic, remember anniversaries, and in general do more, Cortana needs to know what you are interested in, what is on your calendar, and who you are doing things with.

With this: To help you avoid traffic, remember anniversaries, and in general do more, Cortana needs to know what you’re interested in, what’s on your calendar, and who you’re doing things with.

Get to the point fast

Lead with what’s most important. Front-load keywords for scanning. Make customer choices and next steps obvious. To learn more, see Scannable content.

Example
Replace this: Templates provide a starting point for creating new documents. A template can include the styles, formats, and page layouts you use frequently. Consider creating a template if you often use the same page layout and style for documents.

With this: Save time by creating a document template that includes the styles, formats, and page layouts you use most often. Then use the template whenever you create a new document.

Be brief

Give customers just enough information to make decisions confidently. Prune every excess word. To learn more, see Word choice.

Example
Replace this: The Recommended Charts command on the Insert tab recommends charts that are likely to represent your data well. Use the command when you want to visually present data, and you're not sure how to do it.

With this: Create a chart that's just right for your data by using the Recommend Charts command on the Insert tab.

When in doubt, don’t capitalize

Default to sentence-style capitalization—capitalize only the first word of a heading or phrase and any proper nouns or names. Never Use Title Capitalization (Like This). Never Ever. To learn more, see Capitalization.

Examples
Replace these:
Find a Microsoft Partner
Office 365 Customer
Limited-Time Offer
Join Us Online

With these:
Find a Microsoft partner
Office 365 customer
Limited-time offer
Join us online

Skip periods (and : ! ?)

Skip end punctuation on titles, headings, subheads, UI titles, and items in a list that are three or fewer words. Save the periods for paragraphs and body copy. To learn more, see Punctuation, Headings, and Lists.

Example
Replace this:
Move a tile.
1. Press and hold the tile.

With this:
Move a tile
1. Press and hold the tile.

Remember the last comma

In a list of three or more items, include a comma before the conjunction. (The comma that comes before the conjunction is known as the Oxford or serial comma.) To learn more, see Commas.

Example
Replace this: Android, iOS and Windows

With this: Android, iOS, and Windows

Don’t be spacey

Use only one space after periods, question marks, and colons—and no spaces around dashes. To learn more, see Punctuation.

Example
Replace this: Use pipelines — logical groups of activities — to consolidate activities that are part of a task.

With this: Use pipelines—logical groups of activities—to consolidate activities that are part of a task.

Revise weak writing

Most of the time, start each statement with a verb. Edit out you can and there is, there are, there were. To learn more, see Verbs and Word choice.

Example
Replace this: You can access Office apps across your devices, and you get online file storage and sharing.

With this: Store files online, access them from all your devices, and share them with coworkers.