Capitalization and Punctuation Guidelines


The following table indicates the type of capitalization you should use for user interface (UI) controls.

Title capitalization specifies that all parts of speech are capitalized, with the exception of articles, coordinating conjunctions (and, but, for, not, or, so, and yet), and prepositions containing four or fewer letters. Sentence capitalization specifies that only the first word and any proper nouns are capitalized.

Title capitalization Sentence capitalization

Button label

Check box label


Combo box label

Menu label

Drop-down list items

Menu command label

Error message text

Option button label

Instructional text

Pop-up menu command

List box label

Split button label

Option button label

Soft key or touchable tile labels

Progress bar label

Tab label

Slider label

Text header

Text box label

Toolbar buttons

Drop-down list label

Screen tip

Text sub header

Tree view label

Time picker label

Window, dialog box, and error message titles


The following table indicates standard rules of punctuation for UI controls.

Mark Usage

Colon (:)

  • In most cases, labels for controls such as text boxes, drop-down lists, progress bars, and spin boxes end with a colon.
  • Do not end the label with a colon when the text box or drop-down list is embedded in a sentence or when the drop-down list appears in a main window.

Comma (,)

  • In a series of three or more controls, separate the controls with commas.

Ellipsis (...)

  • Because of space constraints, ellipsis should be used on Windows Mobile PDAs but not on Windows Mobile Standard.
  • Use an ellipsis at the end of a menu command and at the end of a button command that opens another dialog box instead of performing an action.
  • Use an ellipsis in a progress bar label to indicate a continuing action.

End punctuation (. ? !)

  • Use ending punctuation only in instructional text.
  • Add only one space after ending punctuation to separate sentences.

See Also


User Interface Control Guidelines
User Interface Text Guidelines