Preceding lists

Include a colon at the end of a phrase that directly introduces a list.
You can create a backup of all sorts of things to make the transition easier, including:

  • The apps you've installed on your phone, along with high scores and progress from participating apps.
  • The passwords for your accounts.
  • Your call history.

To learn more, see Lists.

Within sentences

Use colons sparingly at the end of a statement followed by a second statement that expands on it.
Microsoft ActiveSync doesn't recognize this device for one of two reasons: the device wasn't connected properly or the device isn't a smartphone.

Most of the time, two sentences are more readable.

When you use a colon in a sentence, lowercase the word that follows it unless:

  • The colon introduces a direct quotation.
    What does it mean when I see a message that asks: "Are you trying to visit this site?"

  • The first word after the colon is a proper noun.
    We're considering three cities for the event: Los Angeles, Munich, and Tokyo.

In titles and headings

When you use a colon in a title or heading, capitalize the word that follows it.
Block party: Communities use Minecraft to create public spaces
Why girls lose interest in STEM: New research has some answers
Get started with Azure IoT: An interactive developer guide


Don’t use a colon when introducing lists of radio buttons or checkboxes.