Writing style guide

Grammar and usage

Acronyms and abbreviations

In general, use acronyms sparinglyOveruse of acronyms can impair readability and isolate groups of readers who are not familiar with what they mean.  On first reference, spell out the acronym in lowercase (unless it’s a proper noun), and include it in parentheses 

Like this

A virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) is only one of several delivery models for desktop virtualization. 

Use the acronym for subsequent references within the same document. If your first reference is the only reference, there’s no need to introduce an acronym unless you need it for SEO. You don’t need to spell out long-established acronyms like HTML, API, SSL, or VPN. If you’re unsure, it’s always better to spell it out. Don’t use acronyms or abbreviations for Citrix features or product names. 

Like this

Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops 

Not like this 

CVAD, Citrix Virtual Apps, Citrix Virtual Desktops 

Don’t use an apostrophe for the plural of an acronym. 

Like this

Developers can take advantage of robust APIs to integrate other enterprise systems. 

Not like this

Developers can take advantage of robust API’s to integrate other enterprise systems.  

Active voice

Use the active voice whenever possible. When the subject performs the action, the sentence is active. When the subject is acted upon, the sentence is passive. In the active voice, you always know who’s doing what. The passive voice obscures the who in favor of the what. It almost always makes your writing wordier, stiffer, and less engaging. 

Like this

You can build microapps for your end users.  

Not like this

Microapps can be built for your end users. 

There are situations where passive voice may be more appropriate, such as when you want to intentionally place emphasis on the action, rather than the person performing the action or when the situation is negative for the user, but these should be infrequent.  For example, Citrix was founded 30 years ago. 

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. 

Ampersand (&)

Don’t use this in place of “and” unless it’s part of an official title or company name (Director of Security & Compliance, Hill & Knowlton) or part of a common abbreviation like M&A. It’s acceptable in charts and other places where space is at a premium. 

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. 

Double negatives

When the word not is placed in front of a negative word (such as unlike, unwelcome, without, or exclude), you have a double negative. In English, two negatives usually make a weak positive (not unknown = known). But in other languages, two negatives make a stronger negative. An international reader may interpret “not unknown as “very unknown.” 

Like this

It is common to have multiple servers. 

Not like this

It is not uncommon to have multiple servers. 

Capitalization
Sentence case

Our primary style is sentence case, which means we capitalize only the first word and proper nouns. Use it for all: 

  • Article and blog headlines 
  • Titles of documents, like white papers, data sheets, e-books, infographics, etc. 
  • Headlines and subheads 
  • Secondary web navigation and menu items (Use title case for top-level navigation) 
  • CTA buttons
  • Titles and fields on forms 
  • Titles of charts and diagrams

Like this

5 best practices to secure your apps and data

Not like this

5 Best Practices to Secure Your Apps and Data

Title case 

Only use title case for: 

  • Main or global navigation on webpages 
  • Product names 
  • Titles of books, podcasts, webinars, and videos

Capitalize these words: 

  • Nouns, verbs (including “is” and other forms of “be”), adverbs (including “than” and “when”), adjectives (including “this” and “that”), and pronouns (including “its”) 
  • The first and last words, regardless of their parts of speech (The Text to Look For) 
  • Prepositions that are part of a verb phrase (Backing Up Your Disk)
  • The second part of a hyphenated phrase if it’s the last word of a title 

Like this

Installing an Add-In 

Run-Time Error Codes 

Not like this

Installing an Add-in 

Run-time Error Codes 

Don’t capitalize these words: 

  • Articles (a, an, the) unless the article is the first word in the title 
  • Coordinate conjunctions (and, but, for, nor, or, yet, so) unless the conjunction is the first word in the title 
  • Prepositions of four or fewer letters unless the preposition is the first or the last word in the title 
  • To in an infinitive phrase (How to Format Your Hard Disk) unless the phrase is the first word in the title  
Terms and features 

In general, don’t capitalize the names of features and technologies, which are often industry-standard terminology. To determine whether to capitalize a term, follow these guidelines: 

  • Capitalize the name for legal reasons, such as efforts to establish a trademark or to respect a trademark registered by another company.  
  • Capitalize the name to distinguish a product, such as SQL Server, from a general technology with a similar name, such as an SQL database server. 
  • Don’t capitalize industry-standard terms unless otherwise specified in our A-Z list. If the term you’re looking for isn’t there, refer to the Gartner IT Glossary and American Heritage Dictionary. Do not rely on websites like Wikipedia. 
Commas

Our style is to use the serial (Oxford) comma. This is a standard practice for technology companies to provide clarity as well as maintain consistency across all types of content.  

Use a comma for series consisting of three or more elements (with the exception of press releases and external articles, which follow AP Style).

Like this

A laptop, monitor, and mouse 

Common scenarios include branch expansion, remote work, and merger and acquisition activity. 

Do not use a comma to combine two independent clauses (a comma splice). Either add a conjunction, or separate the clauses into two sentences. 

Like this

The customer purchased 1,000 licenses, and they plan to buy 500 more. 

Not like this

The customer purchased 1,000 licenses, they plan to buy 500 more. 

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. 

Currency

U.S. dollars can be indicated with just a dollar sign: $3,500. Non-U.S. dollars should be preceded by the appropriate code for the country, such as C$3,500 for Canadian dollars and AUS$3,400 for Australian dollars. Other currencies should appear with the appropriate sign, such as €, ¥ or £, with the U.S. equivalent indicated afterward when both are needed: €3,500 ($4,445). Localized content does not need to include U.S. equivalents. 

Dashes and hyphens

Hyphenate compound modifiers that act as adjectives. 

Like this 

Third-party app 

A high-definition user experience  

Do not use a hyphen with adverbs ending in -ly. 

Like this 

A recently hired employee 

A highly mobile worker 

Not like this 

A recently-hired employee 

A highly-mobile worker 

Use em dashes (—) to set off an appositive phrase or interjection—like this one—but don’t overuse them. Don’t add spaces before or after an em dash, and be careful not to substitute an en dash (–) for an em dash. 

Use an en dash (–) to indicate a minus sign, a negative number, or a range of numbers (For example, pages 95–110). 

Headlines

While it’s important that your headline grab your readers’ attention, be sure to always choose clarity over cleverness. Your headline should highlight the main point of your content and give your readers a good sense of what they’re about to read. 

Headlines should follow these style guidelines: 

  • Use sentence case 
  • Use numerals instead of spelled-out numbers: 1 instead of one; 10 instead of ten. 
  • Round and abbreviate costs: $1.2M instead of $1.189 million. 
  • Abbreviate “percent” with the % symbol  
  • Keep your headline as short as possible, using a subhead to dive deeper into the details if necessary 
Job titles

In most cases, capitalize job titles only when used immediately before a name. Don’capitalize an occupational description or title that is set apart from a name with a comma or that isn’t used with an individual’s name. 

Like this

Director of IT Operations Julia Smith led the implementation.

Julia Smith, director of IT operations, led the implementation.

Our director of IT operations, Julia Smith, led the implementation.

Exceptions to this rule include attributions in sidebars and pull quotes; lists of speakers for trade-show sessions or webcasts; and lists of sponsors. In these cases, use initial capitals in the job title (for example, Featured Speaker: Rob Gonzalez, Senior Product Manager, Citrix). 

Lists

Use lists to present steps, groups, or sets of information. Give context for the list with a brief introduction. Number a list when the order is important, like when you’re describing steps of a process. Use bullets, not numbers, when the order of the list doesn’t matter. 

Always capitalize the first word of a list item, and don’t add a period to the end of a list item if it’s not a complete sentence.   

Like this

  • Increased agility 
  • Higher performance 

If your list includes standalone, complete sentences, use proper closing punctuation. 

Like this

  • Download the Citrix Workspace app on all your devices. 
  • Sign in with your company credentials.
Percent and percentage

Spell out the word “percent” instead of using the % symbol, except in headlines and charts. Use numerals unless the number is the first word of a sentence. And always duplicate the word percent in ranges.  

Like this

1 percent–2 percent

3 percent

12 percent

Note that the words percent and percentage are sometimes interchangeable, but the general guideline is to use percent with a number and percentage without a number. 

Like this

Fifty percent of people surveyed said they worked remotely at least once a week.

What percentage of people work remotely at least once a week?

Quotes and quotation marks

Don’t use quotation marks in marketing copy except to quote a speaker. They aren’t necessary for indicating emphasis or drawing attention to a new or unfamiliar term; the context of your writing should be enough to accomplish this. 

Use present tense when quoting sources. 

Like this

“Citrix technology opens many new options for us,” says IT Manager Siegried Disch. 

“Citrix technology opens many new options for us,” IT Manager Siegried Disch explains.

Not like this

“Citrix technology opens many new options for us,” said IT Manager Siegried Disch.

“Citrix technology opens many new options for us,” IT Manager Siegried Disch explained.

If you’re quoting someone in a headline, use single quotes. Also, be sure not to take quotes out of context or skew them to make a point.    

Like this

Citrix technology allows California city to ‘focus on what’s important’ 

Place periods and commas inside quotation marks. Place a question mark inside quotation marks when it’s part of a quote or quoted material and outside in other instances.

Like this

Then referring to our solutions, use the term “workspace,” not “workplace.”
What is a “digital workspace”?
“How can I subscribe to Citrix Workspace?” she asks.

Slashes

You may use a slash to imply a combination. Don’t add spaces before or after a slash. 

Like this

Client/server  

On/off toggle 

24/7 

Don’t use a slash as a substitute for “or.” 

Like this

Select your product or service. 

Not like this

Select your product/service. 

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