Writing style guide

A-Z list

Our preferred style and usage for common terms and phrases

A

abort

Avoid. Use cancel or stop.

above

Do not use to mean earlier. Use previous or preceding.

alright

Avoid. Use all right.

alternate

Use only as a verb to indicate one and then the other. Otherwise, use alternative.

Like this
Alternate between red and green in the pattern.
Find an alternative method.

American English

Generally, use American spelling and phrasingnot British. 

Like this
Use the color picker to customize your settings. 

Not like this
Use the colour picker to customise your settings. 

You may use British English for internal and external communications that will be distributed in the UK. 

and/or

Don’t use this construction. It may take an extra sentence to present both the “and” and the or scenarios, but it’s better for readability and translation. 

and so on

Use only when you can’t avoid it or if there are space constraints. 

ampersand (&)

Use only when space is limited, such as for tab labels or screen titles, or when the content is improved by its use. 

app

Originally specific to mobile apps, this term can now be used to refer to applications of all kinds, including enterprise and SaaS apps. It’s also appropriate to refer to an enterprise app store, which provides self-service provisioning. 

appear, display

Use appear as an intransitive verb, which means it doesn’t need an object. 

Use display as a transitive verb, which means it does something to something. It has to be followed by an object.  

If necessary in context, you can use the passive phrase is displayed, but avoid this when explaining the consequences of a procedure step. 

Like this
If you exit the program, a message appears.
The management console displays the Settings dialog box. 

Not like this
The Settings dialog box is displayed.

Don’t use bring up. 

Like this
This displays the Settings dialog box. 

Not like this
This brings up the Settings dialog box. 

as

Don’t use to convey a cause and effect. Use because instead. It’s OK to use as in other contexts. 

as long as

Avoid. Use provided that or if. 

B

back-end (adj.), back end (n.)

First try to use a more specific term, like server or networkHyphenate when used as an adjective. 

Like this
Back-end system
When used as a noun, it’s two words with no hyphen. 

Like this
The admin configured settings on the back end.  

backup (n., adj.), back up (v.)

One word as a noun or adjective; two words as a verb. 

Like this
When you back up one screen, thsoftware automatically creates a backup. 

below

Do not use to mean later. Use following instead. 

beta

Avoid. Use preview instead. Beta is an ambiguous term that carries negative connotations with incomplete, buggy software that’s still being tested. We avoid this term at Citrix because our software should not be associated with risk of any kind. 

Also see entry for preview. 

black box, white box

Avoid. For black box, use behavioral testing, invisible box testing, aided testing, testing hidden structure, or hidden structure testing instead.

For white box, use transparent box testing, visible box testing, unaided testing, testing observable structure​, or Observable structure testing instead.

black hat, gray hat, white hat

Avoid. For black and gray hat, use malicious actor or bad actor instead. For white hat, use vulnerability tester or security tester instead.

blacklist, whitelist

Avoid. For blacklist, use block list (two words; use as a noun, not a verb) instead. For white list, use allow list (two words; use as a noun, not a verb) instead.

bold

Use bold sparingly to call out UI elements and labels or to add emphasis to important words. Don’t use italics or quotation marks. Place the bold emphasis on the action word you want the user to take. 

Like this
To set up your account, click Start and then Continue 

Not like this
To set up your account, click “Start” and then “Continue.”  

boot, reboot

Don’t use as a verb. Use turn on and turn off or start and restart. For technical audiences, while it’s OK to use boot as an adjective, like boot sequence, we prefer you use startup.  

bulletproof

Avoid. Use self-healing, resilient, failure-resistant, or secure instead.

button

Don’t use when referring to a button.

Like this
Click OK

Not like this
Click the OK button

When a button has an ellipsis after it (meaning that it leads to another dialog), omit the ellipsis when referring to the button (Click Configure rather than Click Configure…).

BYOD

Abbreviation for bring your own device. Spell out on first reference in body copy. Use hyphens when the phrase is used as an adjective. 

Like this
The company’s bring-your-own-device policy created more flexibility for employees. 

C

can, could; may, might

Use the verb can to describe actions or tasks that the user or program is able to do. Use may only to express possibility, not to imply that the user has permission to do something. Use might to connote more doubt than may or when may could be interpreted to imply permission.

Like this
You can use this option to force a black-and-white screen display.

Not like this
You may use this option to force a black-and-white screen display.

In general, avoid could; it’s seldom necessary.

check box

Two words. 

Use select and clear with check boxes (not turn on/turn offtick/untickmark/unmarkcheck/uncheck, or select/deselect). 

Always use check box, not just box, to refer to this option because box alone is ambiguous for localization. 

choose

Use choose when the user has a choice or option.  

Like this
From the Color menu, choose the color you want. 

Don’t use click. 

Also see select. 

Citrix Cloud

Citrix Cloud is a platform that hosts and administers Citrix services. Only capitalize cloud use when referring to the platform itself 

Like this
Citrix Cloud allows you to create, manage, and deploy workspaces from a single console. 

Not like this
Citrix Cloud delivers virtual apps and desktops. 

Also see Citrix cloud services. 

Citrix cloud services

Citrix cloud services refer to the option to purchase and deploy Citrix products as cloud services. Only use when referring to this deployment option. All copy should be written cloud-first unless specifically referring to an on-premises deployment 

When talking about a product, use the product’s name. Don’t include service. 

Like this
Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops 

Not like this
Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops service 

Also see Citrix Cloud. 

Citrix Partner

Capitalize when referring to the official Citrix Partner designation or program, and always include Citrix on all references. 

Like this
Citrix Partner  

Not like this
Partner, partner, or Citrix partner. 

Citrix Workspace app

Lowercase app. When the audience is the end user, there is no need to specify app with Citrix Workspace because the app is their only experience. Use Citrix Workspace app for administrator audiences when referring to the app, and use Citrix Workspace when referring to the backend program and product they administer. Always include Citrix when referring to the product or the app.

clear

Use clear for check boxes; do not use turn offunmarkuncheck, or deselect. 

Also see check box and select. 

click

Avoid click for anything other than when referring to specific mouse actions. Instead, use words that work for multiple devices, such as select. 

Also see choose. 

cloud (n., adj.), the cloud (n.)

Lowercase. This is also true for cloud era. 

co-

Don’t hyphenate words beginning with co- unless they are listed that way in the American Heritage Dictionary. 

comprise; comprises; composed of

Avoid. Use includes. 

contractions

Our voice encourages the use of contractions for a conversational tone. Avoid unusual noun/verb contractions and other uncommon contractions that are difficult to localize. 

Like this
Don’t take our word for it. Try Citrix Workspace for 90 days. 

Not like this
Your upload’ll get started when your update’s finished. 

Covid-19

Capitalize the first letter only. Don’t spell out in all caps.

Like this
Covid-19
Not like this
COVID-19

crash

Avoid. Use fail for hardware and disks or stop responding for programs or the operating system. In content for a technical audience, crash may be the best word in certain circumstances, but avoid whenever possible. 

cyber-

Don’t hyphenate words that begin with cyber, such as cybersecurity and cyberattack 

D

datacenter

One word.

data sheet

Two words.

demo

An example, presentation, or illustration to show how either a full product or part of a product works. Don’t use demo when referring to a trial. Use trial when referring to a pre-purchase product experience. 

desire

Avoid. Use want or require. 

dialog, dialog box, dialogue

In general, it’s best practice to talk about user actions instead or UI elements. Only use dialog box when referring to the dialog box itself. Don’shorten to dialogand don’t use dialogue box or pop-up window.

done

Avoid. Use completed or finished. 

double-click

Hyphenated. Also right-click, left-click. 

downtime

One word.

E

earlier, lower

Use earlier, not lower, when referring to a previously released version of software. You also can use preceding or previous. 

Like this
Citrix Endpoint Management 20.7.0 and earlier  

Not like this
Citrix Endpoint Management 20.7.0 and lower  

early release

Avoid. Use preview. 

e-book

Lowercase and hyphenated. 

ecosystem

One word.

e.g.

Avoid. Use for example. 

email

One word; no hyphen.

end-user computing

Hyphenate. Do not use EUC as an acronym. 

enter, type

It’s OK to use enter when instructing the user to type their password or choose a selection from a dialog box. 

etc.

Use only when you can’t avoid it or if there are space constraints. 

execute

Avoid. Use startrun, or issue. 

F

failover (n., adj.); fail over (v.)

One word as a noun or adjective; two words as a verb. 

Like this
Failover allows virtual machines on a failed server to fail over to a healthy server without disruption. 

fatal

Avoid. Use unrecoverable. 

field, box

Don’t use label to refer to a box. Use box or label of the box. 

file extension, file name extension

Use file name extension or just extension. Precede a file name extension with a period. Use the article (or an) that applies to the sound of the first letter of the extension, as though the period (or “dot”) is not pronounced, as in a .doc file and an .exe file. 

file name

Two words.

foreign

Don’t use to refer to other countries. Use the country’s name instead. 

front-end (adj.), front end (n.)

Hyphenate when used as an adjective. Two words as a noun.  Avoid when writing for an end-user audience. Instead, use more specific terms they understand, like app or program. 

G

Gb

Abbreviation for gigabit. Don’t spell out.

GB

Abbreviation for gigabyte. Don’t spell out.

grandfathered

AvoidUse exempt instead. 

gray, grayed, grayed out

Avoid. Focus instead on the action you want the user to take. Use unavailable or dimmed. Use shaded if you need to describe the appearance of check boxes with portions of a larger selection that are already selected. 

H

hack, hacker

Avoid for general audiences because of negative connotations. Use malicious actor to refer to an unauthorized user who accesses a system with the intent to cause harm. If the unauthorized user’s intent isn’t known or isn’t malicious, use unauthorized user. 

It’s OK to use hack or hacker if you’re speaking to a developer audience or when a positive outcome is involved, such as a hackathon. 

handheld

One word.

hang, hung

Avoid. Use stop or stopped. 

healthcare

One word.

help desk

Two words.

HTML5

No space before the 5. 

homepage

One word.

hybrid cloud

Two words. Only hyphenate when used as a modifier: hybrid-cloud infrastructure. Don’t use to mean multi-cloud.

hyperlinks

Link the actionable phrase using sentence-case capitalization and a clear call to action. 

Like this
To learn more, visit the Citrix Web and UX Guidelinepage. 

I

idioms

Avoid idioms because they can be confusing to some readers and don’t translate well. 

i.e.

Avoid. Use that is or in other words. 

internet

Lowercase.

IP

Acronym for internet protocol. Don’t spell out. Don’t use when referring to intellectual property if the content also includes references to IP addresses. 

its, it's

It’s is the contraction of it is. Its is a possessive adjective, like his, her, or your. 

Like this
It’s the first time the company has raised its guidance. 

intelligent workspace

It’s OK to use intelligent workspace when speaking generically. However, don’t add intelligent to the Citrix Workspace product name. Use Citrix Workspace with intelligent features or Citrix Workspace with intelligenceDon’t use Citrix Intelligent Workspace or IWS for Citrix Workspace. 

J

justify, justified

Don’t use as a synonym for aligned. Justified text is both left-aligned and right-aligned. To describe alignment on one margin only, use left-aligned or right-aligned, not left-justified or right-justified. 

K

KB

Abbreviation for kilobyte. Don’t spell out. 

kill

Avoid. Use end or stop.  

knowledge base

Two words.

L

launch

Avoid. Use start. 

lifecycle

One word.

log on, log off

Avoid. Use sign in and sign out. Don’t use log in, login, log into, log on, logon, log onto, log off, log out, logout, or a similar term unless it appears in the UI and you’re writing instructions. 

Also see sign in/sign out.  

M

machine, computer

In content for most audiences, don’t use machine to refer to a computer. Use computer instead. It’s all right to use machine in content for a technical audience and in content about virtualization to describe both physical machines and virtual machines.

master, slave

Avoid. Use main and secondary or subordinate.  

master table

Avoid. Use primary table.

Mb

Abbreviation for megabit. Don’t spell out. 

MB

Abbreviation for megabyte. Don’t spell out. 

MHz

Abbreviation for megahertz. Don’t spell out. 

micro-

In general, don’t hyphenate words that begin with micro- unless it’s necessary to avoid confusion. If you can’t find the word in the American Heritage Dictionary, use multiple before the word instead. Don’t create new words by combining them with micro-.

microapp

Lowercase. One word; no hyphen. 

mouse actions

In general, don’t talk about mouse actions. Instead, talk about user actions in the UI. 

Use hover over or point to when describing moving the mouse pointer over an area without clicking. 

Use click, not click on. 

Always hyphenate double-click and right-click. 

Avoid mice as a plural. Use mouse devices. 

multi-

In general, don’t hyphenate words that begin with multi- unless it’s necessary to avoid confusion or if multi- is followed by a proper noun. If you can’t find the word in the American Heritage Dictionary, use multiple before the word instead. Don’t create new words by combining them with multi-. 

Also see multi-cloud.

multi-cloud

Lowercase. Hyphenate as a noun and an adjective. Don’t use to mean hybrid cloud.

N

numbers

Spell out numbers zero through nine; use figures for 10 and above. Use a figure to represent million, billion, and trillion. 

Like this 
There are 12 admins but only four licenses.
Increase annual revenue by $1 million. 

Always use a figure for numbers in headlines. Also see “Headlines” in the grammar section.

Like this
4 ways Citrix Workspace helps you deliver a better employee experience

O

OK

Use OK everywhere, including button labels. Don’t use Okok, or Okay. 

once, after

Don’t use once to mean after in phrases like once you have finished. Use after you have finished. 

on premises, on-premises

Don’t hyphenate when used as an adverb. 

Like this
The software was installed on premises.

Hyphenate when used as an adjective. 

Like this
The on-premises deployment  

Don’t use on prem or on-prem unless you’re speaking in a casual context, like social media, or if there are space constraints.  

on the other hand

Avoid. Use however or alternatively. 

open-source

Use as an adjective only. Always hyphenate. 

Like this
Open-source tools

over, more than

Use over to refer to a position or location above something. For example, A red line appears over the diagram 

Use more than for quantities. 

Like this
There are more than 10 desktops assigned to this user. 

Not like this
There are over 10 desktops assigned to this user. 

P

pinch, stretch

Use pinch to indicate zooming in and stretch to indicate zooming out.  

please, thank you

Don’t overuse, especially in the UI. Use please only in situations where you’re asking someone to do something inconvenient or when the software is at fault. Use thank you when you’re asking someone to provide information that’s inconvenient or difficult to get. 

plug-in

Lowercase. Always hyphenated. 

preview

A limited version of a product released to a special audience before the official launch. A preview is stable and provides a good overview of the full release but may not have all planned features in place. Use as a label for an early product release. 

Like this
Citrix SD-WAN 11.2 Preview  

Don’t use technical previewtech previewearly releasebetaevaluation, or eval. 

Also see betademo, and trial. 

proof of concept (POC)

A demonstration, prototype, or use of a product with the purpose of verifying its real-world application. People often use a proof of concept to test whether the product can meet their specific requirements, such as unique integrations. In some cases, when the customer decides to purchase the product, the proof of concept is transitioned into the post-purchase environment.

Spell out on first use; no hyphens. Don’t overuse the acronym to avoid confusion with point of contact. 

The plural form is proofs of concept. 

Don’t use trial to refer to a proof of concept. 

Also see trial. 

R

recommended

If an option is strongly recommended, add (recommended) to the label. 

Like this
Update automatically (recommended). 

remove

Don’t use remove in place of delete. Use remove when the item is being removed from a group or container and is still available to put into other groups or containers. 

S

(s) or /s to indicate possible plural

Avoid. Use the plural form instead.

Like this
The error messages
Select the sites you want to monitor.

Not like this
The error message(s)
Select the site/s you want to monitor.

select

Use select for check boxes and when instructing the user to select an item, like text, objects, or cells.   

Also see entry for check box. 

setup, set up

Two words as a verb, one word as a noun or adjective. 

Like this
Use the setup option to set up your account. [adjective] 
She was successful with her setup. [noun] 
Set up your account. [verb] 

sign in, sign out

Use sign in and sign out to refer to creating and ending a session on a computer, device, network, app, or anywhere a user name and password are required. Use sign out to refer to ending a session. 

Don’t use log in, login, log into, log on, logon, log onto, log off, log out, logout, sign into, signin, signoff, sign off, or sign on unless these terms appear in the UI and you’re writing instructions. 

You sign in to (not sign into) a session. 

Use connectmake a connection, and similar phrases to refer to the act of physically attaching a computer to a network, whether intranet or internet. 

Use sign on only as part of the term single sign-on (SSO). The user action is still signing in, even though the technology is called single sign-on.  

Use sign off only informally to refer to getting approval. 

Use sign up to refer to enrolling in a service. 

Hyphenate these terms only when they are used as adjectives. 

Like this 
Type your sign-in information.
Sign in here.
You can sign up for the service by filling in the following information. 

since, because

Don’t use since to mean because. Use because to refer to a reason and since to refer to a passage of time. 

Don’t use a comma before because.

single sign-on (SSO)

Lowercase. Hyphenate sign-on. Hyphenate all three words when used as a modifier: A single-sign-on solution. 

software as a service (SaaS)

Lowercase and not hyphenated. Spell out on first reference. The same is true for desktops as a service (DaaS), infrastructure as a service (IaaS), and platform as a service (PaaS). In general, we are trying to move toward cloud-based as a descriptor for this type of service, but SaaS remains in common use. 

sorry

Use sorry only in situations that cause serious problems for the user, such as data loss or when the user can’t continue to use the computer. Don’t apologize for normal operations of the program. 

Like this
Sorry, but your computer detected an unrecoverable error and must shut down. Any unsaved data will be lost. 

Not like this
Sorry, but you need to type your user name and password to sign in. 

standalone

One word.

swipe

Use to indicate a swift motion a user makes on a touchscreen device to scroll.  

sync

Abbreviation for synchronize. Use when space is limited or when the content is improved by its use. Do not use synch. 

Like this
Sync your device now. 

T

TCO

Acronym for total cost of ownership. Spell out on first use. Avoid using as generic marketing jargon (for example, reduce TCO) without providing additional context. 

tech preview

Avoid. Use preview.

they, them, their

Use these plural constructions, rather than he or she, to be gender-neutral in the UI. 

Like this
If a user asks if they can reset their password, direct them to the website. 

Not like this
If a user asks if he or she can reset his or her password, direct him or her to the website.

thin client (n.), thin-client (adj.)

Two words when used as a noun. Hyphenate when used as an adjective. 

Like this
Use a thin client to access the system. 

trial

A trial is like a proof of concept in that it’s a package of software that you can install, load, or interact with, typically to determine if you want to buy the product. Trials are not usually modified with specific requirements or configurations. Use proof of concept when referring to situations that require unique modifications. 

If someone is not going to directly drive the experience, ensure that you appropriately set expectations with descriptions that clearly indicate an intermediary, such as assisted trial. 

Don’t use demo or test drive to refer to a trial 

Also see proof of concept. 

U

user

Use only when speaking to a technical audience. In higher-level marketing materials, use peopleworkers, or employees. In end-user-facing materials, use you. 

user name

Two words.

V

VDI

Abbreviation for virtual desktop infrastructure. Refers to desktops hosted on premises, in the cloud, or delivered as a service (desktops as a service, or DaaS). Spell out on first reference.   

via

Avoid. Use accessalongbyfromonusing, or through. 

videoconference, videoconferencing

Both are one word.

W

Web, web, website

Uppercase web only when following the UI or feature names and when it’s part of the official name of a system or organization. Lowercase all instances of web as a modifier. 

Follow this additional guidance from the Microsoft Manual of Style:  

The following terms that include web are one word: 
webpage
website
webcam
webcast
webmaster
webzine 

The following terms that include web are hyphenated: 
web-centric
web-based
web-enabled 

The following terms that include web are two words:
web address
web app
web browser
web content
web crawler
web document
web folder
web part 

well-being

Two words. Hyphenated.

while

Use only to refer to something occurring in time. Don’t use while as a conjunction or as a synonym for although, whereas, or despite. 

Like this
Your content is loading. Check back in a little while.

white-labeling

Avoid. Use brand removal or brand replacement instead. 

white paper

Two words.

whitespace account

Avoid. Use greenfield account.

Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi is a registered trademark and proper noun.

Like this
Wi-Fi
Not like this
Wifi, wifi, wi-fi

wish

Avoid. Use want.

work, works

Avoid. Use supports or compatible with.

www.

Omit as part of a URL unless the link won’t work without it. 

Like this
Citrix.com

Not like this
www.Citrix.com 

X

x

Do not use an x to mean by.

Y

you, your, we, our

Our voice dictates that we use first- and second-person pronouns to create a conversational tone. Use them to speak directly to your reader.

Z

zero trust

Two words. No hyphen.

Like this
Zero trust security

Not like this
Zero-trust security

#

24/7

Short for 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Spell out in most situations. If you have space constraints, a slash is acceptable for the abbreviated form.

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