Best practice: Abbreviations and acronyms

Guidelines for abbreviations

  • Write out abbreviations where possible unless space is an issue. For instance, use "for example" instead of "e.g.".
  • Do not write out units of measure.
  • Use abbreviations that users are familiar with.
  • Use abbreviations consistently.

Guidelines for acronyms

  • Use acronyms that users are familiar with. Common acronyms include Wi-Fi, PIN, MMS, and SMS.
  • Write out uncommon acronyms where possible unless space is an issue. For example, consider using the acronym in the application menu instead of writing it out. If space is an issue and you use an uncommon acronym, provide the written out version of the term elsewhere in the UI or in the product documentation.
  • Write out all BlackBerry product names unless otherwise noted in the RIM trademark and product name list. For example, use "BlackBerry Enterprise Server" instead of "BES." For more information about RIM product names, visit
  • Use acronyms consistently.
  • Use uppercase capitalization for acronyms unless the acronym is a trademark and includes lowercase letters. For example, use "PIN" or "Wi-Fi."
  • Use the article (a, an) that applies to the pronunciation of the first letter of an acronym. For example, use "an MMS text message" or "a LAN."
  • Use a hyphen when an acronym is part of a compound modifier unless the acronym is a trademark. For example, use "USB-compatible port" or "PGP protected message."
  • Pluralize acronyms as necessary. For example, use "ISPs."
  • Avoid the possessive form with acronyms. For example, use "ISP network " instead of "ISP's network."

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