This topic covers standard rules of punctuation for user-interface elements. For information about punctuating text for specific types of controls, see the individual entries for those controls.

Mark Usage Examples

Colon (:)

Use after labels for drop-down, list, text, and spin boxes; sliders; and text areas. Place a colon after labels for check boxes or option buttons only if they precede another control. Use a colon to introduce a list of items.

Exception: For Web forms only, if all of the following conditions are met, the colons following the labels may be dropped:

  • Labels are positioned above all text boxes.
  • Label style is bold.
  • Labels are not crowded on the page.
  • The labels and the following text in the text boxes do not form full sentences.

For more information, see the MSTP.


...the following:

...type C:




Comma (,)

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

To clarify other comma uses, see the Harbrace College Handbook.

Use this list to change the color, size, or style of your font.

Ellipsis (...)

Use at the end of a menu item or button label for a command that opens a dialog box rather than immediately performing an action. The ellipsis is a visual cue that the user has to supply additional information to complete the command, not simply that a message, dialog box, or window opens (hence, Properties does not use an ellipsis). Always use an ellipsis on Browse buttons. Also, ellipses are used in progress indicator labels to indicate a continuing action.


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End punctuation (. ? !)

Place a period (.) at the end of complete sentences.


Control labels and ToolTips never have ending punctuation.

For questions, use a question mark (?).

Do not use questions as control labels.

Do not use exclamation points (!).


Is the printer attached to your computer?

Slashes (/)

Use a trailing slash in a URL as end punctuation unless the final element is a file name, such as "filename.htm."

For more information, visit the Microsoft Accessibility Web site at:



Separate sentences with one space after the ending punctuation, not two.

Is the printer attached to your computer? If so...

See Also


Command Buttons
Check Boxes
Option Buttons
Progress Indicators