Titles and headings#
This topic provides guidelines for creating titles and headings in documentation.
Use sentence-style capitalization for most titles and headings, including article, chapter, table, figure, and example titles, as well as section and procedure headings.
One exception is guide titles, which use title-style capitalization.
Guidelines for sentence-style capitalization#
In sentence-style capitalization, you capitalize only the first word of the title or heading, plus any proper nouns, proper adjectives, and terms that are always capitalized, such as some acronyms and abbreviations. If the title includes a colon, capitalize the first word that follows the colon, regardless of its part of speech.
If the heading includes text from a user interface, the capitalization of that text must match the capitalization on the interface.
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Guidelines for title-style capitalization#
Title-style capitalization uses initial uppercase letters for the first, last, and all the significant words in the title.
Capitalize all words in the title except for the following types of words:
Articles (a, an, the) unless the article is the first word in the title or follows a colon
Coordinating conjunctions (and, but, for, nor, or, yet, so) unless the conjunction is the first word in the title
Prepositions of any length, unless the preposition is the first or the last word in the title or is part of a verb phrase
The word to in an infinitive phrase unless to is the first word in the title
Second elements attached by hyphens to prefixes unless they’re proper nouns or proper adjectives
Words that always begin with a lowercase letter, such as literal command names or certain product or software names
Next Generation Cloud Servers Developer Guide
Rackspace Cloud DNS Getting Started Guide
Stand-alone Object Storage Guide
Rackspace Private Cloud powered by VMware Customer Handbook
Cloud Networks Release Notes
Style and structure#
Use the guidelines in this section to create effective and consistent titles and headings. The following guidelines apply to all titles and headings; special considerations for stand-alone articles, product guides, and tables, figures, and examples follow this list.
Create succinct, meaningful, descriptive titles and headings, and place the most important words first.
Ensure that each title and heading is unique within a given content set.
Include articles, prepositions, and punctuation as needed for clarity. However, avoid using an article (a, an, or the) as the first word.
Avoid showing both an abbreviation and its spelled-out term in a title or heading. To help control the length of titles and headings, show the abbreviation in the title or heading and then define it in the first paragraph of the text.
If you show a literal term (such as a command or option name) in a title or heading, follow it with an appropriate noun.
Don’t end a title or heading with a colon or period. If the title or heading is in the form of a question, end it with a question mark.
Don’t apply font treatments (bold, italics, or monospace) to text in a title or heading.
Don’t include trademark symbols in titles or headings. Show the symbol on the first use of the trademark in text.
Avoid having only a single heading at any level (for example, a single subsection in an article or section). If you find that you have a single heading at any one level, consider whether you can reorganize the information to either eliminate the heading or add a second one at that level.
Avoid having more than two levels of sections within an article or topic. If you use more than two levels of sections, consider whether you can reorganize to make the structure flatter.
Don’t “stack” titles or headings. That is, don’t immediately follow a title or heading with another title or heading. Text should always intervene between them. Ensure that such text is meaningful. If it is just filler text, consider whether you can restructure the content.
Use a consistent grammatical structure for the titles and headings of specific types of content:
Stand-alone article examples
Product guide examples
Any grammatical structure that’s appropriate, except a verb, gerund, or infinitive
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How monitoring works
Limitations of detaching from Rackspace networks
Step-by-step instructions (a task)
An imperative verb
Note: For specific guidelines for headings within tasks, see Tasks.
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A plural noun or a noun phrase
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A grammatical structure that’s appropriate for the type of content (a troubleshooting topic can contain task, tutorial, concept, or reference information)
Service troubleshooting on Linux
A descriptive noun or noun phrase, followed by FAQ
Rackspace Cloud Billing FAQ
Scheduled images FAQ
In addition to the preceding guidelines, use the following guidelines when creating titles and headings for stand-alone articles on the Support site or in other collections of documentation:
Create article titles that don’t rely on body text or other titles for their meaning (that are, in other words, independent of context). Users should be able to tell from a title whether the information in the article is relevant to their needs. Avoid ambiguous one-word titles, such as “Overview.”
Don’t number titles to indicate their placement in a series of articles. Indicate the order of articles within the content of the article, referring users to information that they should have read previously before reading the current article. Use links to provide navigation to preceding and following articles in the series.
Start with the highest level of heading that is approved for headings (for example, h3), and do not skip heading levels.
In addition to the preceding guidelines, use the following guidelines when creating titles and headings for sections in product guides:
If possible, limit titles and headings to 60 characters for legibility in the TOC pane.
Consider that titles and headings are written within the context of the content set in which they are presented. Therefore, you can usually omit “context-setting” terms. For example, if the content set is about servers, you can usually omit “for servers” from the title or heading. (For example, “Attach a network to a server” can be shortened to “Attach a network” with no loss of clarity.)
Define consistent heading levels, and do not skip levels.
Tables, figures, and examples#
As a general rule, tables, figures, and examples should have titles (also called captions). However, tables, figures, and examples in procedures and tutorials don’t normally require titles.
In addition to the preceding guidelines, use the following guidelines when creating titles for tables, figures, and examples:
Place the title above the table, figure, or example, not below it.
Tag the title as bold.
Avoid using a title that duplicates an article or section title.
Text following titles and headings#
Don’t immediately follow a title or heading with another title or heading. Instead, follow a title or heading with body text.
The body text must be independent from the title or heading. Don’t use a title or heading as an antecedent in the sentence that follows it. That is, be sure to repeat the subject in the first sentence that follows the title or heading, rather than using a pronoun that refers to the title or heading as its antecedent.
Identify network interfaces on Linux
This article briefly describes how to identify which network interfaces on a Linux server are associated with which IP addresses.
Identify network interfaces on Linux
This article briefly describes how to do this.
Tables of contents#
In addition to using the preceding guidelines when creating titles and headings, use the following guidelines when creating a table of contents (TOC) for a collection of content:
Entries in the TOC should link only to sections in the content. Don’t include a link to an outside resource in the TOC.
The text of a TOC entry must match the text of the title or heading to which it links. If the link needs to be shorter, revise the title or heading to be shorter.
Don’t manually format the TOC. TOC formatting must be consistent and controlled by the code.