Notes and other notation types#

Notations (notes, tips, and warnings) call out important or helpful information. Use them sparingly, according to the guidelines in the following table.

Notation type



Presents an important or essential point. As a rule, users must pay attention to important notations to complete a task or understand a topic.


Provides information that emphasizes or supplements information in the text. A note can provide information that applies only in certain cases.


Provides useful information that might improve product performance or make procedures easier to follow. Tips provide the following benefits:

  • Help users learn techniques or procedures

  • Show alternative ways of doing something

  • Provide shortcuts

  • Provide helpful (but not essential) information


Alerts users to potential hazards or highlights critical information. Use a warning for situations in which users could lose data, compromise data integrity, or disrupt operations if they don’t follow instructions carefully.

When creating notations, use the following guidelines:

  • Use the style or element in your authoring tool to create the notation.

  • If there is no style or element, or if you are showing the notation in a table cell, create the notation as follows: Type the word Important, Note, Tip, or Warning, make the word bold, follow it with a colon, and then provide the text of the notation in regular font.

  • Place a notation as close as possible to the information that it emphasizes or clarifies.

  • Don’t “stack” notations of the same type (for example, by following one labeled note directly with another labeled note). Instead, use separate paragraphs or an unordered list within a single notation. It is acceptable for notations of different types to follow one another.