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Writing Style Guide

Netlify CMS Style Guide

Adapted from the Kubernetes Style Guide

Documentation Formatting Standards

Use angle brackets for placeholders

Use angle brackets for placeholders. Tell the reader what a placeholder represents.

  1. Display information about a cli command:
npm install <package-name>

where <package-name> is the name of a package.

Use bold for user interface elements

Do: Click Save.

Don't: Click "Save".


Do: Select Log Out.

Don't: Select 'Log Out'.


Use italics to define or introduce new terms

Do: A collection is a set of entries ...

Don't: A "collection" is a set of entries ...


Do: These components form the control pane.

Don't: These components form the control pane.


Use code style for filenames, directories, and paths

Do: Open the config.yaml file.

Don't: Open the config.yaml file.


Do: Go to the /docs/guides directory.

Don't: Go to the /docs/guides directory.


Do: Open the /admin/index.html file.

Don't: Open the /admin/index.html file.


Use the international standard for punctuation inside quotes

Do: Branch names begin with "cms".

Don't: Branch names begin with "stage."


Do: The copy is called a "fork".

Don't: The copy is called a "fork."


Inline code formatting

Use code style for inline code and commands

For inline code in an HTML document, use the <code> tag. In a Markdown document, use the backtick (`).

Do: The yarn start command starts the development server.

Don't: The "yarn start" command starts the development server.


Do: For a production build, use yarn build.

Don't: For a production build, use "yarn build".


Do: Enclose code samples with triple backticks. (```)

Don't:Enclose code samples with any other syntax.


Use code style for object field names

Do: Set the value of the media_folder field in the configuration file.

Don't: Set the value of the "media_folder" field in the configuration file.


Do: The value of the name field is a string.

Don't: The value of the "name" field is a string.


Use normal style for string and integer field values

For field values of type string or integer, use normal style without quotation marks.

Do: Set the value of publish_mode to editorial_workflow.

Don't: Set the value of imagePullPolicy to "Always".


Do: Set the value of image to nginx:1.8.

Don't: Set the value of image to nginx:1.8.


Do: Set the value of the replicas field to 2.

Don't: Set the value of the replicas field to 2.


Code snippet formatting

Don’t include the command prompt

Do: yarn start

Don't: $ yarn start

Content best practices

This section contains suggested best practices for clear, concise, and consistent content.

Use present tense

Do: This command starts a proxy.

Don't: This command will start a proxy.

Exception: Use future or past tense if it is required to convey the correct meaning.

Use active voice

Do: You can explore the API using a browser.

Don't: The API can be explored using a browser.


Do: The YAML file specifies the collection name.

Don't: The collection name is specified in the YAML file.


Exception: Use passive voice if active voice leads to an awkward construction.

Use simple and direct language

Use simple and direct language. Avoid using unnecessary phrases, such as saying “please.”

Do: To create an entry, ...

Don't: In order to create an entry, ...


Do: See the configuration file.

Don't: Please see the configuration file.


Do: View the fields.

Don't: With this next command, we'll view the fields.


Address the reader as “you”

Do: You can create a Deployment by ...

Don't: We'll create a Deployment by ...


Do: In the preceding output, you can see...

Don't: In the preceding output, we can see ...

Avoid Latin phrases

Prefer English terms over Latin abbreviations.

Do: For example, ...

Don't: e.g., ...


Do: That is, ...

Don't: i.e., ...


Exception: Use “etc.” for et cetera.

Patterns to avoid

Avoid using “we”

Using “we” in a sentence can be confusing, because the reader might not know whether they’re part of the “we” you’re describing.

Do: Version 1.4 includes ...

Don't: In version 1.4, we have added ...


Do: Netlify CMS provides a new feature for ...

Don't: We provide a new feature ...


Do: This page teaches you how to use Widgets.

Don't: In this page, we are going to learn about Widgets.


Avoid jargon and idioms

Some readers speak English as a second language. Avoid jargon and idioms to help them understand better.

Do: Internally

Don't: Under the hood, ...


Do: Create a new cluster.

Don't: Turn up a new cluster.


Avoid statements about the future

Avoid making promises or giving hints about the future. If you need to talk about an alpha feature, put the text under a heading that identifies it as alpha information.

Avoid statements that will soon be out of date

Avoid words like “currently” and “new.” A feature that is new today might not be considered new in a few months.

Do: In version 1.4, ...

Don't: In the current version, ...


Do: The Federation feature provides ...

Don't: The new Federation feature provides ...