RE: Quotation marks around user interface labels

Subject: RE: Quotation marks around user interface labels
From: "Combs, Richard" <richard -dot- combs -at- Polycom -dot- com>
To: Nancy Allison <maker -at- verizon -dot- net>, "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 18 Jul 2011 20:53:22 -0700

Nancy Allison wrote:

> Do you have a rule of thumb about using quotation marks for field
> names, dialog box titles, message text, and the like?

These kinds of things shouldn't be decided by rule of thumb, but by a style guide or template. Rules of thumb are too prone to be different the next time, when you're consulting your other thumb. ;-)

Our template (FrameMaker) has a defined character format that we use for GUI elements (labels, window/dialog names, etc.). It applies a specific bold font. Messages displayed to the user get a different character format, which italicizes them.

I realize a release notes doc is separate and distinct from a user manual, but I'd suggest using the same typographic conventions in each.

We don't use quotation marks for anything but references to other chapter/section titles in the doc. Personally, I think putting field names, etc., in quotes would make for busy-looking, cluttered text. But if that's what you do in the user manual and/or online help, do the same in the release notes. If not, don't.

In any case, I'd never mix the two conventions in the way Robert suggested.

IMHO, YMMV, etc.

Richard G. Combs
Senior Technical Writer
Polycom, Inc.
richardDOTcombs AT polycomDOTcom
rgcombs AT gmailDOTcom


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Quotation marks around user interface labels: From: Nancy Allison

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