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Abbreviations and acronyms

Abbreviations are shortened forms of words or phrases that represent longer, frequently used words or phrases. They're used to conserve space, effort, and time.

Basics

  • If you’re unsure whether your audience will understand an acronym or abbreviation, spell out the words followed by the acronym in parentheses the first time it’s used in text. You can use the acronym only from then on.
  • Capitalize the spelled-out acronyms only if they contain proper nouns like product names, team names, or company names.
  • Always abbreviate units of measurement unless otherwise specified.
  • Wherever possible, spell out common words, like "average," instead of abbreviating them.
  • If you have to abbreviate a common word:
    • Avoid using the abbreviation at the beginning of a sentence.
    • Add a period after the abbreviation.
  • Spell out thousand, million, billion, trillion unless space is extremely tight. If you have to abbreviate them, use capital letters and no space: 30K, 30M, 30B, 30T.
  • Don't use apostrophes to make acronyms plural: "ABCs" not "ABC's". See Plurals page.
DoDon't
The frequently asked questions (FAQ) section is comprehensive.The Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section is comprehensive.
The Chart Data Service (CDS) is an API for rendering data in charts and graphs.The CDS is an API for rendering data in charts and graphs.
The Metal as a Service (MaaS) team facilitates and automates deployment of large scale computing environments for the cloud.The metal as a service (MaaS) team facilitates and automates deployment of large scale computing environments for the cloud.
4 kilobytes4 KB
Average usageAvg. usage
50K rpm avg.50k rpm Avg., 50k rpm avg
50 million50M (unless absolutely necessary)

Units of time

Spell out all units wherever possible.

If space is too limited, use the following standard abbreviations:

UnitPreferredAbbreviation (when necessary)
Millisecond4 milliseconds4 ms
Seconds5 seconds5 s
Minutes6 minutes6 min
Hours7 hours7 h
Days8 days8 d
Weeks9 weeks9 w
Months10 months10 mo
Years11 years11 yr
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