We follow AP Style and Merriam Webster in most cases. If our usage differs (like our preference for the serial comma, for example), we make note of it. If you don’t see a word here, check AP Stylebook and the dictionary, or use the search function to see if guidance lives elsewhere on the site.
This is a U.S. retirement savings account. Use this format instead of 401K or 401k.
Don’t use this. Instead, use AM (no periods, capitalize). See more guidelines for time.
Don’t use above or below to refer to an object or text in an article or topic. If possible, try to refer to an exact area in text (a step number, for example). Or try these alternatives: following, preceding, previous, and next.
It’s OK to use above or below if you’re referring to a user interface element, or if space constraints make above or below the best alternative for a particular situation.
Customers have a tough time understanding the holding bin model in QuickBooks. Because we detect their transactions, customers think those transactions are already in their books. They don’t understand what accept means in that context. Using add instead seems to help mitigate that confusion. Just be as straightforward as possible.
We use this as both a verb and a noun, particularly around giving and getting permissions, like sharing access to data. Don't use with prefixes like re- and de-. Use wording that makes it clear what the customer can do.
- Restore access to your account now.
- Reaccess last year's tax return.
Account is not a proper noun. Use lowercase. Exception: Intuit Account.
For specific account names, use the name shown in the chart of accounts list (QuickBooks) and add account (lowercase) at the end. Match the UI.
Use account statement, not bank statement.
One of our target audiences (along with small business, self-employed, and developer). Don’t capitalize it.
Don’t capitalize this feature, even when it appears in the developer site or experience. Avoid the term accountant enabled.
accounts payable (A/P)
Write as shown. Don’t use A/P if you’re introducing the term for the first time. Better still, lead with an explanation (money owed by a business to its suppliers) and provide the term after.
accounts receivable (A/R)
Write as shown. Don’t use A/R if you’re introducing the term for the first time. Better still, lead with an explanation (a legally enforceable claim for payment) and provide the term after.
Accrual accounting is an accounting method where revenue or expenses are recorded when a transaction occurs rather than when payment is received or made.
Use this term on a limited basis, and only in content intended for tax and accounting professionals. Consider asking when a customer’s sales are recorded or describing the process instead.
ACH is a specific type of electronic funds transfer (EFT) in the U.S. It’s a payment or transfer processed through the Automated Clearing House network. It typically requires routing and account numbers.
In the U.S., QuickBooks services like Payments, Payroll, and Capital help customers move money between their banks and our services using ACH. Bank transfer or bank transfer (ACH) is more conversational and the preferred terms. But depending on context or legal/compliance requirements, ACH is acceptable.
- Pay securely by credit card, debit card, or bank transfer (ACH).
Countries outside the US use their own interbank clearing systems. They’re specific to each country and use their own names and acronyms. Don’t use ACH outside the US.
Use active or inactive when referring to services or subscriptions. Use make active or make inactive for actions that the customer can take on objects (customers, vendors, and employees). Don’t use active or inactive to refer to features, functions, or parts of the product—use unavailable or turned off instead.
Research tell us customers prefer add over accept, gather, and collect because it sounds less labor-intensive. In QuickBooks we say “add… to” for bank transactions, based on research showing that customers find it easier to understand than other options.
- Add bank transactions to your books.
- Add a user to your Intuit Account.
Note: you add transactions TO your books; you don’t add transactions INTO your books.
"Create" is generally reserved for something that didn't exist before. Create new user, for example, builds a new point of access to an account. Add user implies that there's another, pre-existing user. The two words are nearly interchangeable. Add is the active verb.
Use add-in for programs and add-on for hardware.
adjusted gross income (AGI)
Use admin whether you’re referring to an individual, role, or password. No need to spell out the full word (administrator) nor capitalize it.
- Only the admin can add new users.
- Enter your admin password.
- You need admin privileges to add inventory items.
We break with AP style for this one. Use advisor for US copy. For UK and RoW, use adviser.
Don’t use in customer-facing content. See specialist for generic use instead.
Previously in our agent handover experience, where the bot hands off to support specialists in the chat panel, we’ve used agent. There may be some moments where the length of the word specialist over agent creates some problems, but we can figure it out.
We also sometimes refer to my humans to help play up the fact that the bot is artificial. So we have buttons like talk to a human where we might otherwise have said talk to an agent.
Finally, in the bot space, agent can also be used to refer to the bot itself, such as digital agent or virtual agent. We've stayed away from this usage because it's ambiguous (a virtual agent could still be a real person).
In the accounting world, aging means the length of time that an invoice or a customer credit has been outstanding. In your day-to-day life, aging is an irrevocable chess game with Father Time.
A report that lists the length of time that an invoice or a customer credit has been outstanding. Don’t capitalize this.
It's OK to use the acronym for Artificial Intelligence. But it should only be used in content intended for tax and accounting professionals.
all rights reserved
A legal phrase indicating that the author of an original work holds all of the rights afforded to him or her under copyright law. Lowercase is fine here.
allows, allows you to
Don’t use allow—it can have legal ramifications. Use let or can instead. You could also try rewriting sentences to be crisper and more focused on the customer benefit.
- QuickBooks lets you keep your business finances organized.
- Keep your business finances organized with QuickBooks.
Alternative Minimum Tax
Capitalize as shown.
You can use this acronym for Alternative Minimum Tax after you spell out the full term.
and so on
This phrase is preferred over etc., but try to avoid the use of either. Be specific and concise.
This is redundant, don’t use. The slash alone will suffice, if the options truly are one or the other (or both).
We follow AP Style, which specifies using a hyphen for readability and easily remembered consistency. There are some exceptions. Here are a few (check AP Stylebook for others):
any time (adj.), anytime (adv.)
Use two words when it’s an adjective modifying a noun (it answers the question “what?”), or when the word at is in front of it. Use one word when used as an adverb modifying a verb (it answers the question “when?”).
- I won’t have any time until next Tuesday.
- Download the PDF anytime for a step-by-step guide.
- Security is available at any time of the day or night.
Don’t capitalize. It's OK to use for desktop/web/mobile applications. Specify the name of the app when using this word.
- The Desktop web app helps you manage your business finances online.
- QuickBase is an app that lets you easily create a web database for your business.
- SnapTax is one of Intuit’s mobile apps.
OK to use, especially when data populates. But opens is preferred for lists and windows that open. See also display.
- When you open Windows Explorer, a list of folders and files appears.
arrears (bill in arrears)
Overdue debts. It's OK to use this term in content intended for tax and accounting professionals.
Don’t use. Help is our preferred term—it's clearer and more conversational.
For clarity, spell out automated sales tax (AST) on first use on the page or screen and just AST after that. This term is more common in the developer site and experience. It’s probably not something we talk about with other customers.
at the top, at the bottom
AP Stylebook doesn’t have firm guidance on using hyphens for combining forms like auto-. Our stance is to go for clarity always. If it’s not an industry term and you have to use it, add a hyphen to avoid ambiguity.
Some terms, like autopay, are recognizable and an industry standard. But don’t make up your own auto- words. If it’s not something you’d say out loud, you shouldn’t be using it. If it looks funny to you, it’s going to look funny to the customer. Test words with customers for comprehension.
You might also consider whether there’s a clearer way to say what you’re trying to say. Here’s a real live example: A button could say Auto add. Whether it’s Auto-add or Auto add, the hyphen isn’t the issue here. The term is unclear (are you adding a vehicle? What’s going to happen after you click the button?). Instead, you could say Add for me. Always consider the context.
Not autocategorization or autocat.
Hyphenate as shown.
Autopay is a QuickBooks feature that an SMB’s customers can enable to pay their invoices automatically. We also use this in Mint. Use autopay as a noun to describe the feature. Avoid using as a verb. It’s OK to say automatic payments as well, where appropriate. Don't capitalize.
- With autopay, get paid on time, every time
- Set up automatic payments so you never miss a bill again
- Autopay your bill every month
- View autopayments
Terms like these are confusing and can raise contextual issues: Is it a customer’s payment? Is it a payment they’re giving to someone else? Always choose the clearest language—even if that means it’s a little longer.
back up (v.), backup (n., adj.)
One word or two, depending on use, but never hyphenated.
- To back up your data, choose File and then Backup.
- The flash drive contains the latest backup file.
Hyphenate if needed for clarity when used as a modifier. Otherwise, two words.
- The back-end service may interact directly with the front-end app.
- Find the HDMI port at the back end of the device.
One word, not hyphenated.
One word, not hyphenated.
Use bank for references to banks in the U.S.
The transfer of funds between bank accounts. Note the differences between the U.S. and other regions.
In the U.S., bank transfers include transfers through ACH (more common) and direct bank-to-bank transfers (less common). Use bank transfer or bank transfer (ACH) when referring to a method of payment. Bank transfer is usually sufficient. If the context is about fees for different payment types, adding ACH in parenthesis can be helpful. Use transfer when referring to money movement across a person’s accounts. Examples (U.S.):
- Set money aside automatically with recurring transfers between your checking and savings accounts.
- Pay using a debit card or bank transfer for free.
- $10 maximum fee for payments made by bank transfer (ACH). Additional service charges added for credit card payments.
In the UK and Australia, bank transfer means different things depending on placement. Use bank transfer in CTAs, headings, and subheads/body text if referring specifically to the internal transfer of funds between bank accounts within the same bank by the same person.
Use Pay or Make a payment in CTAs and headings if referring to external transfers of funds between bank accounts owned by different people, or run by different banks. In subheads or body copy, it’s OK to use bank transfer for added context. Examples (UK):
Set up bank transfers
Set aside money automatically with recurring bank transfers between your current and savings accounts.
Make a payment
Send money by bank transfer.
See also: ACH
Use this phrase (written as shown) instead of empty, jargony phrases like “industry-leading technology” or “TLS encryption.”
Don’t write based upon.
best selling (n.), best-selling (adj.)
Write as shown. Don’t say bestselling or best selling software.
Use sparingly and consider clearer alternatives (like pilot study) depending on the context. It’s not an acronym, so don’t use all caps (BETA).
Don’t use. Be specific and as clear as possible to avoid any confusion.
- twice a month
- every two months
Two words as shown. Alternatively, you can use birthday, which is more conversational.
Don’t use. Be specific and as clear as possible to avoid confusion.
- twice a week
- every two weeks
Don’t use. In general, avoid metaphorical terms where black means mysterious, shady, or bad and white means good, accepted, or true. Use a more literal term, such as confusing or unclear. Learn more about antiracist language
black hat (hacking)
This term enforces the “white is good” and “black is bad” paradigm. Don’t use it. Try unethical hacker/hacking. Learn more about antiracist language
Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC)
Capitalize as shown.
blacklist (n., v.)
This term enforces the “white is good” and “black is bad” paradigm. Don’t use. Instead, use an alternative that’s appropriate to the context, such as block or deny (for verbs) or deny list (for nouns). Learn more about antiracist language
bottom left, bottom right
Location and directional cues aren't accessible, so we don't use them. It's fine to just name to whatever UI element you need to refer to, without mentioning where it is.
Yes, box 14 with a lowercase b is an important thing for TurboTax customers. Don’t write Box 14.
Don't use this term. It refers to intra-racial discrimination from the segregation era. Try lunch and learn or lunch meeting. Learn more about anti-racist language
Avoid words that might create unnecessary anxiety or diminish trust, like bug. Instead, use issue or situation.
Write business name if you’re referring to the customer’s business or to the legal business name. Company name refers to what the customer named their business inside QuickBooks.
One word. It’s the drudgery that QuickBooks eliminates for users.
Don't use. When you need to direct a customer to a specific CTA, just tell them what the button says, without calling it a button.
- When you're done, select Save.
- When you're done, select the Save button.
Capitalize as shown. Don't add a hyphen to the full name. If you abbreviate, add a hyphen.
- You may use this form if your business is a C corporation.
- The rule applies to S-corp and C-corp businesses.
- You may want to form an C-Corporation.
- Select C corp from the menu.
Canadian dollar. Abbreviate as shown.
Don't use. This term refers to plantation owners who held contests in which enslaved people competed for a cake. Later, it was popularized through racist minstrel shows. Try being more clear and using words like simple or effortless, depending on the context. Learn more about anti-racist language
Can is more conversational than allowed to or enabled. We use can when we can.
We try to keep things conversational, so we don’t write cannot or can not.
canceled, canceling, cancellation
In the U.S., spell the past tense version of the verb and the gerund with only one L. To keep things interesting, the noun form (cancellation) uses two Ls. Don’t use British spelling with two Ls for verb forms (cancelled, cancelling), unless you're in the UK.
Use snap instead of capture if you're referring to taking a photo on a mobile device. In user tests, folks liked snap because it felt easy, understandable, and friendly. It's also a harder-working verb than take a photo.
- Snap a photo
- Snap or upload photos of receipts
- Snap receipts once and save them forever
Cash flow is always two words. When you use it as an adjective, don't hyphenate it (cash flow forecast).
Don’t use. Instead, use mobile device or phone or tablet. Avoid saying just phone unless you’re creating separate content for tablet users (25% of mobile customers use a tablet).
That’s the sound of money being made. The other sound is ka-ching. Use both sparingly.
chart of accounts
A primary list of accounts a company records transactions against in its general ledger. Set in lowercase.
- We call this your chart of accounts.
- We call this your Chart of Accounts.
check (US), cheque (UK, CA)
Set lowercase as shown when you're writing about the financial document. In Canada and the UK, the financial document is spelled cheque.
Always one word, no hyphen.
Child and Dependent Care Credit
Capitalize as shown.
Child Tax Credit
Capitalize as shown.
Use choose to refer to a customer decision that isn’t UI-related. Use select for clickable or tappable items.
- Choose whether you want to consult a bookkeeper or an accountant.
- Choose the best partners for your business.
circle the wagons
Don't use. This phrase is based on racist notions of Indigenous peoples. You could say something like gather folks together or unite instead. Learn more about anti-racist language
Click isn't device-agnostic, so it's better to use select to be inclusive. You should also avoid writing Click here for links or buttons. Instead, use a verb phrase that provides clear context for where the CTA will take the customer. See also double-click.
- Select Create (+) > Vendors > Bill
- Get pricing info
- Click the Create button.
Use client when talking to an accountant or expert about their own customers or Intuit customers they’re working with.
Use close for closing windows, documents, or files. Use exit for Windows applications and quit for Mac applications. Don’t use shut down.
cloud, cloud-based, cloud-based computing, cloud computing
Avoid using cloud, except in marketing materials and overviews. It's vague and can make customers feel that we don’t have control over their data. You want to make sure customers understand exactly where their data is going. Focus on the action the customer is taking or be specific about the location. Try phrases like online, on the web, and anywhere/anytime access.
- File saved and synced online.
- Your transactions successfully synced with QuickBooks.
Collapse is a bit jargon-y. Use more conversational words, like close or hide.
This is what a customer sets up in QuickBooks to track financial data for a business. A customer can have more than one company associated with their Intuit account.
For QuickBooks Desktop, use company file. This refers to the financial data a business has in their QuickBooks account. For customers who already moved or are switching from QuickBooks Desktop to QuickBooks Online, use company data. For all other QuickBooks Online customers, use company.
Use computer, not PC or machine. PC is OK to use when differentiating between types of computers.
Confirm conveys a formal, serious tone, so avoid it unless you think the context truly calls for that. Try make sure, double-check, or take a final look instead.
Try to be purposeful about when you congratulate. It's better to use it for unique situations rather than in flows that customers might see on a recurring basis. You can also say congrats instead to be more conversational. Learn more about celebrations
- Congrats! Your loan was approved.
- Congratulations on finishing this week's payroll.
Use connect when a customer wants to include info from a non-Intuit entity in their Intuit experience (transaction info from their bank or an app, for example). It can also refer to speaking with a pro or other subject-matter expert. Use connect contextually, and only in reference to bank accounts that have already been linked in QuickBooks.
A connection may be established and ongoing, like a bank connection to QuickBooks, or a temporary one, like an online connection on a mobile device.
For more on language around bank connections, see link
- We can't connect to US Bank right now.
- One of your bank connections stopped working.
This term has ties to colonization. Be mindful of how the idea of dominance—often of a people or place by force—shows up in words like this. Other words you could try instead: win, overcome, defeat. Learn more about anti-racist language
This word can mean different things: someone who provides services but isn’t an employee or someone who works in the construction business. Make sure the context is clear wherever you’re using the word.
In the context of migrating data from desktop to online, use copy instead of transfer. Transfer makes users feel like there’s a possibility that their information could get lost, or isn’t being stored for some period of time.
Don’t use. Corrupt is imprecise and, in some contexts, associated with dishonesty and guilt. Instead, use damaged or offer suggestions to fix the situation.
The CRA (Canada Revenue Agency). No need to spell it out; it’s commonly understood. And don’t forget the the! (Lowercase t if not at the start of a sentence.)
Don’t use. We never want to cause or instill panic in our customers. If their computer stops working properly, or we know a program is going to malfunction and shut down altogether, be straightforward and let them know, but don’t say crashed. Instead, use “stopped responding” or other nonalarmist language that softens the message. Offer a solution or timeline when possible.
It’s OK to use crypto pretty much everywhere. It’s short, easy to read, and customers understand what it means. Cryptocurrency may work better in educational content, if you’re providing a general overview of what crypto is. Even in those cases, though, it’s fine to switch to crypto after first mention.
You can say crypto or cryptocurrencies when you’re referring to the multiple types collectively (bitcoin, ethereum, tether, and so on). Use crypto to describe any one of the cryptocurrencies. Only refer to a specific type by name if the customer needs that info for context. There's no universal symbol for cryptocurrency. Each type has its own.
In some broader contexts, we use crypto as an umbrella term that includes related technologies and applications. Check out the Intuit Crypto Center of Excellence
Use cursor when you mean the vertical blinking line that shows where text you type will appear. Use pointer when you mean the arrow that moves around onscreen when you move your mouse.
But mostly, consider whether you need to say these terms at all in your writing, since they're not very accessible and not applicable if you're using a screen reader.
People who use Intuit products are our customers. You can also use customer when talking to a small business about their customers. See also: client
Customer Support, TurboTax Help Team, help team
These are the options for referring to the TurboTax help team. We don’t write just Customer Care, Customer Service, or agents. See also: expert
Use customize (U.S.) or customise (UK and other regions) when you’re personalizing something (such as a template or form) for your own use. Use change or edit instead for changing data (such as a customer name or email).
- Reports that you customize and then save will be listed here.
- Change user ID, e-mail, or password
OK to use. Refers to the hue or light levels of a design. Dark in this context is literal, not figurative. Note this is different from a term like dark UX or dark web, where dark is a metaphor for something shady, tricky, or nefarious. Learn more about how to determine if a word is harmful
dark UX, dark patterns
Don’t use. Avoid metaphorical terms where dark means mysterious, shady, or bad. These reinforce research findings that suggest people have a tendency to perceive someone with darker skin as more likely to commit an immoral act. Use deceptive design patterns, deceptive design, or deceptive UX instead. Learn more about anti-racist language
Data and information are the best terms when discussing privacy issues or other sensitive topics with customers, as they convey the importance of the message and align with legal standards.
It is OK to use info as an alternative in less formal, more conversational contexts.
day care, day-care facility, family day care
Day care is two words as a noun and hyphenated as an adjective. These terms can be important for TurboTax users. Write day-care facility not day care facility or daycare facility.
DBA; Doing business as
DBA is the standard legal acronym for doing business as. If you’re reading this, you might be writing an interface field label, in which case legal business name is probably the better option. Use sentence case in UI field labels (that is, Legal business name).
Try to avoid using deactivate because it sounds like technical jargon. For turning a preference on or off (as in a toggle button), use turn on/turn off, on/off, or use visual clues. For removing filters or unselecting checkboxes, use clear.
Avoid dear as in, “Dear Valued QuickBooks Online Account Customer.”
We aim to be modern and forward-thinking in our writing. Dear can feel formal and old-fashioned. Consider friendly alternatives like hi or hello.
Try to avoid using default in customer-facing copy because of its associations with failure to pay or a failing generally.
This word means “to blacken” and further perpetuates the “black is bad” stereotype. Use clearer language—check the thesaurus or rewrite what you're trying to say to be simpler. Learn more about anti-racist language
Department of Revenue
Capitalize as shown.
Select is OK, but don’t use deselect. Instead, use clear. The term deselect causes a problem for localization and sounds overly technical.
For experiences where you know what device users will be on (i.e. Android or iOS), consider specific terminology.
For responsive pages, where users may be on a range of devices, device, mobile device, or phone or tablet can all work well. Avoid saying just phone unless you’re creating separate content for tablet users.
Spell as dialog rather than dialogue. Avoid using dialog as a verb. Look to alternatives like talk.
Don’t use. Use unavailable instead.
Use direct debit, lowercase. Don’t use as a verb. Don’t capitalize, even when referring to the direct debit service offered through QuickBooks Payroll. Learn more about capitalizing feature names
Avoid if possible. Use less technical and more inclusive terms, like turn off, uncheck, unavailable, and clear.
Exception: Disabled may sometimes be a term mandated by governing agencies.
Short on space? Turn off is just 1 more character than disable. Off can be used, too.
You may also consider using other UX elements such as radio buttons, a toggle switch, or checkboxes to indicate a change can be applied to this feature.
- You can turn off autopay in Settings.
- Turn off time tracking for Ben Black?
- Uncheck Enable autopay
- To disable autopay, go to Settings.
- Disable Ben Black?
- Disable autopay
Don’t use. Opt for a more specific term. Most people back up or upload from a CD, external hard drive, USB flash drive, or the cloud.
We use this specifically for ending an existing connection. This refers only to the act of removing the connection itself, not to removing or deleting the data, so don't assume it covers that piece. See connect, connection.
Don’t use when you’re talking about closing a card, window, or other similar interface elements. Instead, say close, as in “Close this window.”
Use display to refer to the device that displays computer information, whether it’s attached to a laptop, is freestanding, or is part of a mobile device. Don’t use monitor or screen.
A window opens or appears. You can also use show.
- Your monitor displays a blank invoice.
- Once added, the monitor shows a new entry on the client list.
Don’t use. Instead, use user ID.
Hyphenated. Use instead of confirm or validate, which can seem formal and technical.
Hyphenated and used without on.
- Double-click the customer name.
When using native mobile apps, users can double-tap content or an image to zoom in or out. (Double-tapping also be used as a secondary gesture for text selection.)
Avoid this term—it sounds negative and judgmental. Use change plans instead.
Download is an acceptable way to describe moving or copying a file from one location to another. Export is another option, though it may seem more technical to users.
For some users, download may imply bringing something into the local computer, while export may mean sending something away to a different location. Keep these possible interpretations in mind when choosing between download and export and test them with your customers to find out what works best.
- Download your most recent bank statement.
- Export all PDFs to your cloud drive.
Use drag to mean picking up and moving an item to a different part of the screen. Use swipe when talking about native mobile apps to mean a side-to-side, upward, or downward motion across the screen.
This is an internal term. Use panel instead. Better yet, look for opportunities to replace copy with an icon that’s easy to understand.
A graphical control element that shows a list of options when selected. As of October 2019, we do not hyphenate this term.
Capitalize as shown—all lowercase unless it starts a sentence. In general, hyphenate "e" words like e-commerce and e-business, following AP style. However, don't hyphenate ebook or email.
E-File & Pay
1099 E-File & Pay—with capital "e" and "f"—is a service offered by QuickBooks Payroll. See also e-file.
e-file, e-pay, e-signature, e-payments, e-service
Always hyphenate, with lower case letters as shown (unless the word appears at the head of a sentence or it's the property name of a product or service, like eSignature). Because many of these "e" terms are becoming outdated, try to reword when possible. Also, electronic signature is a more common choice for e-signature.
- Using e-file is a convenient way to file taxes.
- E-payments can be requested using a mobile device or laptop.
- You make E-Payments on your taxes from within TurboTax.
This is how consumers file their taxes in Australia. The government there officially calls it electronic lodgment service, abbreviated e-lodge.
Don’t use Latin abbreviations. They don't translate well and they're just confusing. Replace with for example.
Use lower/higher when referring to numerical software product versions. Use earlier/later when referring to dated software product versions.
- If you use Point of Sale 6.0 or earlier, you can upgrade for free.
- Get help updating your TurboTax 2020 for Windows Individual software.
Earned Income Credit
Capitalize as shown. Don’t write earned income credit.
Easy Extension, TurboTax Easy Extension
Capitalize these branded Intuit products as shown. Don’t write “EasyExtension.”
Use with caution. Ease is subjective. What’s easy for us might not be easy for our users. And if something really is easy, it should speak for itself.
Lowercase, except at the start of a sentence. Don’t hyphenate.
Use edition when you need to differentiate between product or vertical offerings. Use version to differentiate between product years. Often, for customer-facing content, you don't need to use either edition or version. Usually, the product name is clear enough.
Capitalize as shown when writing about the earned income credit. Don’t write E.I.C.
Spell out Employer Identification Number when the term first appears in text. It’s OK to use EIN for subsequent references. Don’t use FEIN. Don’t write “Employer’s Identification Number (EIN)” or “employer’s identification number (EIN).”
electronic check, eCheck
Also known as bank transfer or ACH. Use ACH, bank transfer, or bank transfer (ACH) instead of eCheck. It's a form of internet payment that performs the same function as a conventional paper check. Because the payment is in an electronic format, financial institutions can process it quicker, and it has more security features than a paper check. Electronic check and eCheck used to be industry standard terms, but are no longer commonly used (except in QuickBooks Desktop).
Lowercase, except at the start of a sentence. Never hyphenate. OK to use email instead of email address when you need the extra space. Don't use webmail. Email is sufficient.
Employer Identification Number (EIN), Employer ID Number (EIN)
Spell out Employer Identification Number when the term first appears in text. It’s OK to use EIN for subsequent references. Don't use FEIN. Don’t write Employer’s Identification Number (EIN) or employer’s identification number (EIN).
Use employer-provided, not employer provided or employer-sponsored.
Avoid this, except for switch labels on mobile, for example, Enable auto-tracking (which doesn’t change when the switch is flipped, per Apple guidelines). Try turn on or set up instead. Once something is available, consider adding a visual indicator for clarity, such as a checkmark.
Ensure means to make certain. Insure means to protect against financial loss. These terms imply a promise, but without the details defining what is being promised.
In general, avoid terms like these because they might have legal implications. Instead, define the specifics of the offering. If you really must use these terms, use a qualifier (like “help”) to offset any legal implications. And always have your legal partner review any language that hints at any kind of guarantee. See also: guarantee
- QuickBooks can help you get your books ready for tax time
- We’ll work to make sure you get your best refund
- Using QuickBooks ensures that your books will be ready for tax time
- We’ll ensure you get your best refund
Use enter to describe typing or inserting information into a field. Don't use type. It's not accessible—not everyone is typing.
enter zero, enter 0
Sometimes we tell customers to do this when they’re doing their taxes. Don’t capitalize Enter 0.
Avoid Latin abbreviations. Anyone who didn’t grow up speaking English may not be familiar with them. Instead, be specific and concise. Also check out and so on.
Use exit for Windows applications. Use quit for Mac applications. Use close for closing windows, documents, or files.
An expert in the Intuit ecosystem is someone with an advanced level of domain knowledge who provides a service, guidance, or information to customers. This includes bookkeepers, accountants, CPAs, tax attorneys, or others with relevant credentials in our service areas or focused training on Intuit product usage.
In most cases, it’s best to use a specific term rather than expert to make it clear for customers who they’re interacting with. If we overuse expert, it loses its meaning.
If you use expert, don’t be vague. Include profession-specific terminology to indicate the type of expertise—for example, bookkeeping expert, tax expert, payroll expert. Whenever possible, qualify at first mention on a page or within a flow. You can use expert on its own if the surrounding content provides enough context for the customer to know what kind of expert you mean.
If we’re meeting customers’ expectations about the type of expert involved, you can use expert as an adjective to modify a product, service, or feature. For example, "expert setup" implies that someone with knowledge about how to set up a product will be helping the customer.
Use specialist or product expert to refer to a member of our sales team whose role it is to help customers with purchasing our products.
- Expert support when you need it.
- Trusted experts. Guaranteed accurate books.
This is how we present this part of TurboTax. We don’t write Explainwhy or explainwhy.
Correlates with import. OK to use, but be as conversational and straightforward as you can.
Use lowercase for filenames and extensions. Don’t use bolding, quotes, or semicolons to set off filenames, and be sure to include a period between the name and the extension. Always capitalize universal file types, such as PDF or JPG. For the plural form, add a lowercase s.
- Search for the file myittybitty.doc in the Carousel folder.
- You can upload PDFs to the website.
Write frequently asked questions on first reference and FAQ on second reference. Don’t write FAQs.
- Check out our frequently asked questions
Avoid referring to part of a product as a feature. Instead, just use the feature’s name. That way you're concise and helpful. In marketing, it’s okay to use feature in a more general way.
- Features that fit your business
Federal Information Worksheet
Capitalize as shown.
federal, your federal return
Don't capitalize federal unless it's part of a proper noun. Otherwise, stick with lowercase when used as an adjective to distinguish something from state, county, city, town, or private entities.
- Federal Trade Commission
- your federal return
- the federal government
- federal assistance
- federal court
Don’t use. See EIN.
Using fetch can sound forced, and it's not something we say in real life. Don’t say things like “An error occurred while fetching your data.” Try something more human.
Don’t use. In tech, this term refers to folks who are researching or engaging with users or customers. But it has ties to migrant workers, enslaved people, and prison labor programs, all instances where people were—or are—underpaid (or not paid at all) and exposed to harsh working conditions. Use another word depending on the context, like researcher or field service representative. Learn more about anti-racist language
Use lowercase f for flash drive or flash memory. Use uppercase F to refer to Adobe Flash Player. (Use full name at first reference, and Flash thereafter, if you like.)
flexible spending account
Write flexible spending account. It's okay to use the acronym FSA on second reference.
Don't use. Write scroll instead.
Hyphenate flow-through because the combination of words modify the noun, entity.
Folder is best, although subfolder works, too. Don’t use directory, except in documentation for developers.
Spell out for example when you need to. Even though it's longer than e.g., it's clearer. Don’t write e.g. or any other Latin abbreviation.
A one-page summary or compilation sheet that a tax-exempt organization (a nonprofit) is required to file. It shows the totals of the information returns that a person or entity is submitting to the IRS.
Stick with the classic Form 1096, or 1096, not variations like 1096 form.
Form 1099-K, 1099-K
When writing it, stick with the classics shown—not 1099-K Form or any other variation. The long name of Form 1099-K is Payment Card and Third Party Network Transactions.
When using the proper name of the form, include the preceding word Form (note the capital F). When referring to common forms, like a W-2, it’s usually not necessary to have Form before them.
- Form 1099-R
- Form 8839
- W-2 forms or W-2 copies
Franchise Tax Board
Capitalize as shown.
Don’t use. Use suspicious activity instead. This communicates that there's a potential issue without causing unnecessary stress for the customer. We should avoid words that might have legal implications.
In the product, don’t capitalize it and don’t write it in all caps. Marketing writers may have more creative freedom when using this term.
If the trial is free, great! Don’t capitalize free. Especially don’t write it in all caps: FREE. And under no circumstances whatsoever should you ever link it to legal disclaimer text elsewhere on the page.
Position the unique benefits of the trial as just that—unique—and note that the trial is free secondarily, as icing on the cake.
Don’t use this imprecise, catchall word. Focus on what the customer really needs and understands.
Use money. Okay to use for content geared to tax and accounting professionals or when referring to payroll.
- Funds are withdrawn the day your employees get paid.
- Money in. Money organized.
Outside of Help, go to is acceptable if it fits with the tone of the first-time experience, message, webpage, or email.
grandfathered, grandfather clause
The "grandfather clause” originally described policies exempting illiterate white people from discriminatory Jim Crow voting laws. Don’t use it. Say legacy, exempt, or find another way to write what you’re trying to say. Learn more about anti-racist language
Don’t use. Instead, refer to it as unavailable or turned off.
- Box 12 is unavailable until you complete your profile.
Guarantee has a strict legal meaning: if Intuit doesn’t deliver on a guarantee, we have to provide some form of compensation. It implies a promise, but without the details defining what is being promised. If you’re using this word in any copy, make sure your legal partner reviews it. See also: ensure, insure
Don’t use hacked to explain a data security problem to customers. We want to avoid words that might create unnecessary panic or anxiety. Use compromised instead, and be sure to provide clear next steps and offer solutions whenever possible.
Don’t use hang tight or sit tight. Hold tight is OK.
Use hard drive, not hard disk.
Everyone uses hash marks (#) for hashtags in tweets. Where we don’t use a hashtag is in place of the word number unless there are significant space restrictions, such as in mobile screens. The preferred abbreviation for number is no. with a period.
As a hashtag, use the symbol directly in front of the term you’re tagging. Use camel case for multiword hashtags (#LikeThis) to aid readability. It's more accessible for people with dyslexia or cognitive disabilities, as well as folks who use screen readers. The screen reader can discern camel case hashtags as separate words, rather than reading gobbledegook.
Head of Household
Capitalize this tax filing status as shown.
Two words as shown.
health savings account (HSA)
Wherever this term appears, write it as “health savings account (HSA)” in the first reference and then HSA for all subsequent references. Don’t refer to it as an HSA account. That’s redundant, like PIN number.
An adverb that substitutes for really or very. Only use it when describing baked goods, specifically ones created or provided by Stacey Chase.
Capitalize Help when referring to a Help system or one of its components: in-product Help, the Help window, the Help icon, and so on. Don’t capitalize if you’re referring to getting aid.
- Select the Help icon to view details about the window.
- For help setting up your company, consult a QuickBooks ProAdvisor.
Use hide or show to refer to something in the product that’s turned on or off by a user interface element. Don’t use active, inactive, activate, or deactivate. When referring to something in the UI, capitalize the word.
- To show instructions, select Show.
- To hide instructions, select Hide.
high income (n.), high-income (adj.)
Write high income as a noun. Use a hyphen (high-income) if it's an adjective.
- You don’t qualify for this credit because of your high income. We’ll check to see if you can get other credits.
- High-income individuals should plan ahead for tax time.
Use lower and higher when referring to numerical product (software) versions. Use earlier and later to describe previous or subsequent dated versions of a product or software.
Don’t use as a verb. Instead, use select.
It’s OK to use hmm… to make your copy more conversational, but be intentional about it. Use it sparingly and write as shown, with 2 m's and an ellipsis.
Acronym for Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs. Note there is no “the.” It’s just HMRC.
hold down the fort
Don't use. This phrase is rooted in racism, originating from settlers and soldiers building forts in and on indigenous lands to forcefully claim and colonize them. Other words you could use instead: take over, take the lead. Learn more about anti-racist language
Hold tight is fine. Don’t use sit tight or hang tight.
Use Home by itself if you want the customer to select a Home icon. Note capitalization.
- Select Home to return to the dashboard.
Write homepage, all one word, lowercase. Don’t write Home page, Homepage, or home page.
Hyphenate both the noun and adjective forms of how-to. When calling out how-to lists in info links or elsewhere, write them as shown.
- This how-to video shows the steps to snap a receipt.
- There’s an entire list of how-tos to go through when onboarding someone.
Avoid Latin abbreviations. They don't translate well and are often confusing to remember which one's which. Replace with that is. Or write in a conversational way that avoids this altogether.
Don’t use. Use user ID instead.
Don’t use. Be more conversational and write your info instead.
It’s OK to say “import transactions,” but if you can find a more conversational way to write it, even better. “Download transactions” also works.
in order to
This phrase pads a sentence with extra words. Just use to. See more tips for writing small
in vs. on
When to use in:
- in a center
- in a field
- in a list
- in the system tray
When to use on:
- on the homepage
- on a page
- on a tab
- on a toolbar
Note the hyphen and the capital H in Help.
Don't use unless you're referring to a UI element that includes the word. Try unavailable or turned off instead.
Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)
Don’t write I.T.I.N.
An info link is something you can select on a screen to display some content that you can read and then dismiss. Use info links for brief definitions or further explanations. In QuickBooks, info links appear with a blue underline.
It's OK to use info unless you're discussing privacy issues or other sensitive topics. In those situations, information or data are better for reassuring customers and conveying the importance of the message.
Proceed with caution. Only use when describing information that has been processed by machine learning and gives the "so what" or the “why” of raw data. Don’t use for charts, graphs, or raw data used to create the actual insight. Providing business intelligence or a chart doesn't automatically mean we're providing insights.
Anomalies are good examples of insights. For example, “Your income from Customer A went down 20% last month. They spent $2,500, but they usually spend $5,000 a month.” We’ve noticed a trend, done the math for the customer, and alerted them to a part of their business that may need attention.
Internal Revenue Service, IRS
This one is common enough that it’s OK to use the abbreviation. It’s the U.S. government agency responsible for tax collection and tax law enforcement. Don’t write I.R.S.
Lowercase as shown.
Lowercase as shown.
Intuit 1099 E-File Service
Capitalize and hyphenate as shown.
A set of credentials (user ID, password, and security answer) that allows access to Intuit offerings. Don’t use account interchangeably with company.
There’s no such thing as a TurboTax account or a QuickBooks account. All Intuit customers have an Intuit Account.
An Intuit Account is the thing customers sign in and out of. It’s also where they go to make changes to their account preferences and details.
The A in Intuit Account is always capitalized, though it can be referred to as just “account” in subsequent references.
- You can update your preferences on when we reach out to you in your Intuit Account.
- All the data you share with us is stored in your Intuit Account. You can see all the info we've saved to your account by requesting to download your data.
Why is the A capitalized? Our ecosystem is laden with "accounts" that a customer can interact with (and access through the same navigation). Giving Intuit Account this proper treatment was in service to building the ecosystem mindset and differentiating this account from other accounts. This decision came from benchmarking, user research, and legal attention to how we use data from one account to the next.
Intuit GoPayment, GoPayment
Write as shown.
Avoid using. Invalid isn't an inclusive word, and it also sounds technical. Try wrong, not working, or not right. It's OK if you need to use a few more words to write around it.
Use invoice as a noun, referring to the document. Use verbs like send or create when you need to describe providing an invoice to a customer. You can use invoicing as a noun if the context includes other gerunds like reporting and billing, but try to avoid that. See also: open invoice
- Create an invoice for your customer.
- Invoice your customers.
Don’t write “Itemized Deductions” or “Itemized deductions.”
jump-start (v.), jumpstart (n.)
Hyphenate as a verb. One word as a noun.
- Get a jumpstart on your taxes this year.
- Jump-start your personal finance goals with Mint.
That’s the sound of money being made. The other sound is cha-ching. Use both sparingly.
Don’t use KB or KBA to refer to knowledge-base articles. Use support article instead.
Two words. Generally, though, refer to the support site or support articles instead of using knowledge base. See also: KB, KBA
Key performance indicators (KPIs) demonstrate how effectively a company is achieving key business objectives. Use with caution—it's jargon. This term should only be used in content intended for tax and accounting professionals.
Capitalize this professional tax product name as shown. On first mention in body copy, use the full product name: Intuit Lacerte Tax. In subsequent mentions and in headlines, subject lines, or limited space, use the simplified product name: Lacerte.
Don’t use landing page in customer-facing copy unless you’re making a marketing suggestion for their small business.
Don’t use launch or start. Use open for apps and turn on/off for hardware.
- Select the Printer icon to open the printer utility.
Use compromised instead. This clearly communicates the status of a customer's data. Leak might have legal implications and could cause unnecessary stress for the customer.
Learn more as link copy doesn't test well with customers. More casual phrases work better, like Find out more or Get more info. To make a link more accessible, include some additional context, like Review your options or Get pricing details.
legal business name, legal name
Use lowercase in text. If used as a user interface field label, use sentence case.
In accounting, a liability is a debt or financial obligation. Loans, accounts payable, mortgages, deferred revenues, and accrued expenses are examples of liabilities.
When using an accounting term, define the term first and then introduce the technical term.
Include all of your debts, like loans and mortages. In accounting, these are called liabilities.
Lowercase as shown.
Lifetime Learning Credit
Capitalize this tax term as shown.
line 13, salaries and wages
This might be the most important part of Form W-2. Capitalize as shown.
Enter the amount in Line 13, Salaries and wages from your W2.
Find the W2 Line 13, Salaries and wages amount.
Subtract the amount in line 13, Salaries and Wages from your total.
Used in reference to first-time bank connection in QuickBooks. This is to minimize any security or privacy concerns that people may have. Link is less intrusive than connect. Only use it for bank connections, not apps.
Once a connection has been established and is ongoing, you can use connect/connection.
log in / log on (v.)
Don’t use. Use sign in instead.
log out / log off
We use sign out instead.
long-term, long term
Hyphenate this expression as an adjective. Set it as two words when it’s a noun.
- Apply for your long-term loan. Your loan is available for a long term.
low income (n.), low-income (adj.)
Write low income as a noun and low-income as an adjective.
- Your dependents usually have no or low income.
- Some low-income tax credits might be available.
lump sum (n.), lump-sum (adj.)
Don’t write lumpsum.
Use Mac in most instances, whether you’re referring to a computer or an operating system. Note that we generally use Mac for Intuit product names (QuickBooks for Mac, Quicken Essentials for Mac). Refer to desktop apps as Mac app and Windows app, not desktop app, PC app, or Apple app.
Don’t use machine. Be specific: computer or mobile device.
Use this term to describe when the user can take any number of actions, such as add, edit, and delete, in one area. We might use the word at the top of a dropdown menu that lists the ways a customer can manage something: Add, Edit, Copy, Delete.
- Manage records
Married Filing Jointly
Capitalize as shown.
Married Filing Jointly
married filing jointly
Married Filing Joint
married filing joint
Married Filing Separately
Capitalize as shown. Don’t write “married filing separately,” “Married Filing Separate,” or “married filing separate.”
Married Filing Separately
married filing separately
Married Filing Separate
married filing separate
master (n., v., adj.)
Don’t use. In some contexts, it connotes a hierarchical relationship of control and ownership. In any form, it’s connected to the idea of dominance and is a harmful term that comes with a history of oppression. Choose another word, such as main or primary (nouns) or ace (verb).
Note: Be mindful of how this idea of dominance—often of a people or place by force—shows up in other words. “Conquer,” for example, has ties to colonization. Learn more about anti-racist language
- Primary admin
- Key password
- Main options
- Principal hierarchy
- Use your money with finesse
- Master admin
- Master password
- Master options
- Master hierarchy
- Master your money
Don’t use. This shows up in engineering code and documentation. Intuit uses primary/secondary instead. Learn more about anti-racist language
may, might, can
May implies permission. Might implies possibilities. Can implies the ability to do something.
- You may see the doctor now.
- You might have a virus on your computer.
- You can install an antivirus program.
Try not to write about user interface elements unless you absolutely have to for clarity. Use menu to make it clear that we are talking about the menus in the menu bar. When navigating customers through menus, follow these guidelines: Outside of Help, it’s OK to use go to or from when navigating the customer to a menu, especially if it fits with the tone of the wizard, first-time use experience, message, web page, or email that you’re working on.
For Help content, use select as the verb: Select Transactions and Banking to see your bank transactions.
This is in line with how we write about user interface objects like buttons and icons. The exception to this is QuickBooks Desktop. For these desktop products, other indicators such as go to and from are acceptable.
mobile device, device
Use mobile device when talking about any mobile device, like a mobile phone or tablet. You can also say phone or tablet. Avoid phone unless you’re creating separate content for tablet users (25% of mobile customers use a tablet). Refer to mobile content guidelines specific to the product for more information.
Always consult your legal partner. Make sure to include any legal disclaimers. Refer to market guidelines specific to product for more information.
mouseover, mouse over
Don’t use, as this term isn't accessible. Instead, use move the pointer or hover over.
We follow AP Style for prefixes, which means multi- words are generally not hyphenated. When referring to how you interact with the UI, like in CUI or Help content, follow the capitalization and spelling of the product’s UI. For more, see capitalization guidelines for writing about the interface.
An exception is when multi- butts up against i words. Another exception is multi-user in QuickBooks Desktop.
my vs. your
Use your, not my, in the UI and related text. There are some exceptions. You can use first person sparingly in buttons and other CTAs, and in places with tight space constraints, like mobile.
Using second person maintains a consistent voice and promotes a friendly, conversational quality.
Don’t use, unless you’re on a ship or working with a GPS device. Be as clear as possible so customers can find their way easily. Use your judgment and aim for clarity. Use find, browse, locate, or go to instead.
Find is a good alternative to search when you want the customer to feel empowered. For example, it’s more effective in the UI to use the phrase Find customers instead of Search customers because the word find implies success. Find is also a good option for simplicity and maintains a friendly tone.
Browse or locate are good choices when directing customers to files, folders, or drives on their desktop. Browse is the common button name in the desktop interface that customers click to see their files list, so telling them to browse helps associate the action with the button. Browse is often used for folder locations. Locate works well when the customer has actively saved or stored a file themselves and you don’t need to be specific about the location of the folder.
Go to gives the sense that the customer is moving away from where they are and going to another location. Use go to when you need to direct the customer away from their current workflow or location in the product—for example, when you need them to go to a specific URL. Don’t use go to for menu commands.
- Find the customer you want to send the invoice to.
- Browse to the folder where you stored the backup file.
- Locate the mylogo.gif file.
- Go to maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source for a map to the conference.
A payment term component that indicates the full amount is due for payment in the number of days indicated. Net 30 terms mean that the full payment is due in 30 days. The term may be abbreviated to n instead of net.
When writing an accounting term, define the term first and then introduce the technical term.
- Select the net terms for your invoice.
- Invoices with terms n60 and longer
OK to use in the product, as in a step flow. Capitalize.
We follow AP Style. In general, don’t hyphenate unless combined with a proper noun.
Hyphenate this tax term as shown. Note state is the name of any state. Consult legal partner depending on context.
- non-New York obligation
- non-California obligation
Lowercase as shown.
Don't use unsure. Be more conversational. Use not sure thoughtfully. Don't use not sure to refer us as a brand. We want to evoke trust with our customers.
Notifications should be brief, clear, and reassuring. If servers are going to be down for scheduled maintenance, don’t be alarmist about it. But feel free to incorporate some personality into it. Also, don’t refer to the notification area in the product. Work with design to solve for this another way.
Refer to the In-Product Notifications page for more information.
number, no., #
Don’t use # in place of the word number unless there are significant space restrictions, such as in a mobile UI. The preferred abbreviation for number is no.
As a hashtag, use the symbol directly in front of the term you’re tagging, as in #hashtag.
This is an acceptable abbreviation for open authorization, but only for the developer site and experience. Avoid this kind of technical language in the rest of our products and services.
OK, OK’d, OK’ing, OKs. Don’t use okay or o.k. A simple OK usually looks better in user interface designs.
- If this amount looks OK, we'll continue.
- Your info looks okay.
- It's o.k. to skip this step.
on demand (n.), on-demand (adj.)
Hyphenate if it's an adjective.
on the go
Mobile users aren’t necessarily on the go. Many people use a phone or tablet at home or in the office. It’s OK to use on the go sparingly, as long as it isn’t the main message.
Generally no hyphens here. Exception is when the phrase is functioning as a compound adj.
on the left, on the right
Don't use. For accessibility reasons, we strongly discourage using location cues. Try to refer to an exact area in text like a step number.
To learn more, refer to the accessibility guidelines.
Don’t write onsite or on site.
Don’t use interjections like these. Our customers rely on us to know what we’re doing in the world of taxes and accounting. We don’t earn anyone’s confidence by saying things like oops.
Don’t use launch or start. Use open for programs and turn on/off for hardware.
Don’t use open for invoice status. Use unpaid.
Avoid. Use unpaid invoice. This refers to an invoice that has not been paid yet, showing the amount owed and the due date for the payment.
Open is pretty much used as a synonym for unpaid in more formal accounting environments, but if a partially paid invoice is Open then it’s not also Unpaid—it’s Not fully paid. Open invoices are one piece of the puzzle—and could be both unpaid and possibly overdue—but consider things like open purchase orders and open bills. Because the term requires explanation every time, and is considered accounting-speak, try not to use it.
When writing an accounting term, define the term first and provide the technical word second.
opt in (v.), opt-in (n.) (adj.)
This is typically referring to how we obtain permission for collecting and sharing data. When using the word as a noun or adjective, hyphenate. When using as a verb, it’s two words.
- Enter your email to opt in
- You can opt out of these emails by unsubscribing
Don't use overwrite. It's technical and unclear, and likely to cause or instill panic in our customers. If data is going to be erased and replaced with something else, use replace instead, or find other clear, nonalarmist language.
paid family leave
Don’t capitalize as Paid Family Leave.
Refers to the separate areas of a split window. If a pane has a clearly named title, capitalize the name. If not, use lowercase. Try not to refer to user interface elements in content.
A business structured so that all business income is treated as personal income of the owners. A common tax term. Hyphenate as shown.
One word, lowercase as shown. In Canada and the UK, the correct spelling is paycheque.
A person to whom money is paid or is to be paid, especially the person to whom a check is made payable. Look for other ways to communicate this in your writing, if you can. Payee is a little stiff for our voice.
Don’t spell this term as payor. Better yet, don’t use either term. Come up with a more conversational way of saying this.
When referring to a universal file type, such as PDF or JPEG, use uppercase; for the plural form When referring to a universal file type, such as PDF or JPEG, use uppercase. For the plural form, add a lowercase s. See also extensions, filenames.
Don't use. This phrase originally referred to the cheapest section of seats during the vaudeville era in the U.S. In the segregated South, seats in the back or upper balcony levels were mostly reserved for Black people. Instead, you could try crowd or rowdy group. Learn more about anti-racist language
personal identification number, PIN
Since the abbreviation is probably more conversational than writing it out, abbreviating (in all caps) as PIN is fine. Don’t write pin or P.I.N. or PIN number.
Don’t use. You could say zoom in, zoom out, or (for mobile) double-tap to zoom instead.
These terms mean different things. Pixelated with an “e” means an image’s pixels are visible, usually unintentionally. Pixilated with an “i” means mentally unstable, bemused, or whimsical. Most dictionaries autocorrect for the second term, which usually isn’t the meaning we want. To avoid unintended meanings, use language that discusses poor resolution or improper display instead.
Use your best judgment when it comes to saying please. Avoid using it unless you’re asking the customer for extraordinary effort, or if a major error or defect occurs. To learn more about how we handle errors and bad news, see our bad news content pattern.
plug in (v.), plug-in (n.)
Two words or hyphenated, depending on use. It can also be called an add-on or an extension.
- Plug in your headphones and download the LoudBass plug-in for your browser.
Write as uppercase, no periods, with a space between time and designation (8 PM). Don’t say p.m. For more guidance, see format for time.
Use pointer when you mean the arrow that moves around onscreen when you move your mouse. Use cursor when you mean the vertical blinking line that shows where text you type will appear.
pop-up (n., adj.)
Hyphenate as shown unless it's functioning as a verb.
- An ad will pop up on the screen.
- This is a pop-up ad.
- Pop-ups are annoying.
Canada Post capitalizes it, but many places don’t. Check with your localization team to figure out how to get it right.
Don’t use for turn on or turn off. Using powered can have a double meaning, as in powered by (for example, Turbo powered by TurboTax) and can even have legal connotations. Look for ways around using this term.
A powwow has cultural and spiritual significance for many Indigenous communities. It’s not a cute term for a meeting. Instead, just say meeting, chat, brainstorm. Learn more about anti-racist language
We follow AP Style for prefixes. Generally, don’t hyphenate unless combined with a proper noun. Exception: pre-fill
- pre-World War II
Don’t use. For native mobile, use tap for activating a control or selecting an item, touch and hold for holding down on an element, and drag for moving an element across the screen.
prior-year return, in a prior year
Don’t write prior year return, prior year’s return, or in a prior-year.
- Review your prior-year return.
- These expenses were filed in a prior year.
- Find the revenue reported in the prior year's return.
- This income was included in a prior-year.
Capitalize the name of this professional tax product as shown. On first mention in body copy, use the full product name: Intuit ProConnect Tax. For subsequent mentions and in headlines, subject lines, or limited space, use the simplified product name: ProConnect. (Do not use ProConnect Tax Online, as that name is outdated.)
profit and loss
Don't capitalize this term. When writing an accounting term, define the term first and provide the technical word second.
- profit and loss statement
- profit and loss report
- Profit and Loss statement
- Profit and Loss Report
- P&L Statement
Don’t use. Instead, use application (desktop) or app (web or mobile).
property, plant, and equipment (PP&E)
This is a standard accounting term that you can abbreviate as PP&E. But remember, when writing an accounting term like this, define the term first and provide the technical word second.
Capitalize this professional tax product name as shown. On first mention in body copy, use the full product name: Intuit ProSeries Tax. For subsequent mentions and in headlines, subject lines, or limited space, use the simplified product name: ProSeries.
OK to use pull or pull down to refresh for native mobile, but don’t use it for responsive. In general, stay away from device-specific terms for responsive. Refresh is a good alternative (as in “Refresh to see new transactions”). See more on native vs. responsive web
purchase order (PO)
Write it out if it’s the first time the user is encountering it. It's not a proper noun, so no need to capitalize. After that, you can use PO. Read more about acronyms and abbreviations
Don’t abbreviate QuickBooks or QuickBooks Online. Spell out these product names. The only exception is when we're writing about the QBO Blog.
Capitalize as shown. This is the only instance where QuickBooks Online is abbreviated.
Qualifying Widow, Qualifying Widower
In TurboTax, capitalize these terms as shown.
Quantity on Hand, quantity on hand, on-hand quantity
This accounting term means “inventory” in QuickBooks Online. Technically, we’ve also used “on-hand quantity.” Inventory is a more conversational term and you should use it when you can. Lowercase these terms in text and capitalize for UI labels.
Hyphenate as shown. Abbreviate as QTD where space is a concern.
We use the French spelling even in English. Don’t shorten Revenu Québec to RQ.
Write as shown: capital “Q” capital “B.” Don’t do any of these: Quickbooks, Quick books
- You can customize your dashboard in QuickBooks.
- Quickbooks has your back.
- Quick books is ready when you are.
QuickBooks data, QuickBooks file
Don’t use QuickBooks data or QuickBooks file. Don't say QuickBooks data if you actually mean company data. Use company file instead for QuickBooks Desktop.
In rare instances, you might need to use QuickBooks data when referring to a collection of files that includes more than the company file (such as log files, an accountant’s copy file, and template files).
It's OK to say QuickBooks Desktop in customer-facing content. Avoid using Desktop alone. No need to specify the operating system. According to customer research, saying Mac or Windows just further complicates things. If you need info on QuickBooks products, go to the QuickBooks site.
QuickBooks for Mac
Don't use. According to customer research, specifying the operating system just complicates things. Just use QuickBooks Desktop instead.
QuickBooks Live Community, QuickBooks Community
A community where QuickBooks users can find answers to their questions, and get help from experienced users and QuickBooks employees. Capitalize as shown.
QuickBooks mobile app
Inside the app, we call ourselves QuickBooks (not QuickBooks Mobile, The QuickBooks App, or other variations). Outside the app, we call ourselves the QuickBooks mobile app or just the mobile app (note that only QuickBooks is capitalized).
Open the QuickBooks mobile app.
Download QuickBooks Mobile.
Spell out and capitalize as shown. And be mindful of how much we repeat the product name in a single context. You can sometimes get away with using QuickBooks instead of repeating the full name.
We should present the brand clearly and consistently, so don’t use QB Online in text or graphic form. QBO is an internal term and shouldn’t be used in customer-facing content. Acronyms just lead to internal and external confusion.
Be mindful of how much we repeat the product name in a single context. We found in some cases that we repeated QuickBooks 10 times on a single screen. You can still get away with incorporating online instead of repeating the full name. Same goes for Desktop.
QuickBooks support site
Capitalize as shown. Use QuickBooks support site the first time you reference it, and support site (lowercase s) in following references. If you’re referring to a third-party website, use a lowercase s (for example, the Apple support site).
Don’t use quit unless you’re discussing a Mac program. Use close instead. See entry for close
Generally, don’t hyphenate unless the word has two distinct meanings (recover and re-cover or resent and re-sent). The meaning that more clearly means “do again” takes a hyphen. When in doubt, check Merriam Webster or AP Stylebook.
- Re-enter your password.
- You may recreate after you re-create the invoice.
- She resorted to re-sorting the inventory list.
Follow our guidance for re- words. If it means "do again," we use a hyphen. You could also recast the sentence to say download again, which might be longer but is clearer.
Hyphenate as shown.
real-time, real time
When using as a modifier noun, use a hyphen. When it’s just a noun, don’t hyphenate.
- real-time signal processing
- this is happening in real time
This is an accounting process used to compare two sets of records to ensure the figures are in agreement and are accurate. It's OK to use this term after explaining it first, but you can probably find a better way to write it than reconciled. Look for opportunities to use conversational language. There’s a good chance this is one of them.
Don’t use. In design, redlining refers to marking changes, providing specs, or highlighting priorities. But the term originated from systemic segregation and discrimination, when financial institutions would draw red lines on maps around "risky" neighborhoods (predominantly Black and Latino) where people were deemed more likely to default on a mortgage.
Some alternatives, depending on context: priority list, special case, replacement list, or UI annotations. Learn more about anti-racist language
Refresh is a great alternative to device-specific terms, which we try to stay away from.
- Refresh to see new transactions.
- Pull down to see new transactions.
Capitalize this product name as shown. Don’t write refund monitor or Refund Meter.
For things like web pages and emails, as long as the ® is embedded in the logo, you don’t have to show it again in the text. Always check with your legal partner if you have questions.
For any trademark or registered trademark logos, put punctuation directly after the symbol, not before.
Use lowercase if the reference is generic. Use uppercase if you’re referring to a specific update or download. Use the letter R and release number (no spaces) when combined with the full product name.
- Check which release you have by pressing F2.
- You need to download Release 7 for that feature.
- The issue is resolved in QuickBooks Pro 2012 R7.
Relevé 1 slip (CA)
Include the accent, even in English. It's not a Relevé 1 form, and don’t shorten to Relevé or RL-1. If there are severe space constraints, it’s OK to shorten to Relevé 1, but avoid this if you can.
Use the acronym phrase REST API. More commonly, use just API. This term is only for the developer site and experience.
run a report
In QuickBooks, customers run reports. Not create, generate, or anything else.
run vs. execute
Use run to run a command at a command line. We never use languages that hints at violence, such as execute. (And anyway, it's not as conversational.)
Capitalize as shown. Don't add a hyphen to the full name. If you abbreviate, add a hyphen.
- You may use this form if your business is a S corporation.
- The rule applies to S-corp and C-corp businesses.
- You may want to form an S-Corporation.
- Select S corp from the menu.
Save and Next; Save & Next
Capitalize as shown.
save time, timesaver (n.), time-saving (adj.)
Use these phrases about as often as you would use an exclamation point—not very often. These phrases are are used so often that they're meaningless now. They're generic and can be applied to any other application. Be more specific and cut to the time-saving benefit. If you must use, hyphenate as shown.
Don’t ask the user to scan, skim over, or any other variation of read. Use read or review.
Schedule C, Schedules C
When writing about taxes, a schedule refers to an individual attachment to the Federal Form 1040. In addition to Schedule C, there are many other schedules (A, B EIC, R, SE, and so on).
- Schedule C
- Schedules C
- Sch. C (if space constraints)
- schedule C
- Schedule Cs
- Schedule C's
In general, try to avoid describing the user interface whenever possible. When it is necessary: For native mobile apps, use screen instead of page or window.
However, when talking about a page or window on web, use those terms instead of screen, since web pages and browser windows don't necessarily take up the entire screen.
- To make changes, go back to the previous screen.
- To make changes, go back to the previous page.
Use user ID instead.
One word, no hyphen.
Avoid using technical terms when talking about errors. Technical terms can be intimidating and unclear to users. Instead, use more conversational language that empowers the user to address the problem and puts them at ease.
It’s OK to say scroll down, but in general, stay away from device-specific terms. Work with the visual or interaction designer to find a solution where the customer flow is clear. The flow shouldn't rely on written instructions alone.
Software development toolkit. This term is only for the developer site and experience. Use the acronym SDK in all instances.
Don’t capitalize as Section 179 unless it’s at the beginning of a sentence.
Use select (instead of choose) when referring to an item that is clickable or that is a choice between two or more items. A dropdown list is a good example. Avoid using deselect. Instead, use clear. (The term deselect causes a problem for localization.)
- Choose whether you want to consult a bookkeeper or an accountant.
- Choose the best partners for your business.
- Clear the text in the field.
- Go to Toaster. Select Toast, and then Grill.
- Choose Sales and then Invoices to start billing your clients.
- Deselect the radio button to clear that choice.
Wondering when to use self-employed vs. independent contractor vs. freelancer? You’re not alone.
An independent contractor is different from a freelancer, but they both fall under the umbrella of self-employed. While most Lyft drivers won’t necessarily refer to themselves as “independent contractors" (or any of the above, for that matter) we lean into self-employed as much as we can. When you’re talking about the product, write it as: QuickBooks Self-Employed. Otherwise, lowercase (unless you’re starting a sentence, in which case it is: Self-employed).
One word, don’t hyphenate.
set up (v.), setup (n., adj.)
2 words as a verb, 1 word as a noun or an adjective. Never needs a hyphen.
- After you set up your accounts, you're ready to go.
- Setup is complete. Restart your computer before continuing.
- We'll finish set-up next.
Shake is an action available with certain types of phone apps. It's better to use a specific term (undo/redo, select, initiate, skip, or navigate) to indicate the action the user should take.
Shopping cart dates from the early Internet, a time of loud plaid shirts and louder grunge bands. Be one of the cool kids and use cart instead.
short-term(adj.), short term(n.)
Hyphenate this expression as an adjective. Use 2 words as a noun.
- Apply for a short-term loan.
- Your loan is available for a short term.
Use shortcut menu, not right-click menu or pop-up menu.
- Right-click the Start button and choose Explore from the shortcut menu.
Use “show” and “hide” to refer to something that is turned on and off by a UI element.
- To show the Art Tools toolbar, choose View > Toolbars > Art Tools
Don’t use shut down when you're talking about exiting an application. Use exit for Windows applications, or quit for Mac applications. For computers, use turn on or turn off. For apps, use sign out.
sign in (v.), sign-in (n.) (adj.)
Hyphenate when using the word as a noun or adjective. But if it's a verb, it's 2 words.
- You can sign in to your account.
- The sign-in field will open first.
- Log in to QuickBooks.
- To make changes, log on.
sign in to
Use sign in to (“in” and “to” are separate words here), not sign into.
- Sign in to your account to view your balances
- Sign into your account to view your balances.
Don’t use. Use Sign in instead
sign out (v.)
Be sure to pair up sign out with sign in. Don’t sign in and log out.
sign up (v.), sign-up (n.) (adj.)
When using the word as a noun or adjective, hyphenate. When using as a verb, it’s 2 words.
Use sign up when inviting a customer to start using an offering (so that includes button copy and CTAs). Use create an account as an alternative action on a sign-in page. See Single sign-in.
Try not to use these words. Simplicity is subjective. What’s simple for us might be complex for our users. And if something really is simple, it should be self-evident.
since vs. because
The primary definition of since has to do with time, although it’s used conversationally to mean cause and effect. Because is preferred for cause and effect because it’s unambiguous. Don’t use since when you mean because. Don't use due to the fact that, ever.
- Online payments are faster because the money goes directly into your account.
- Since I started using online payments, I get paid faster.
- Online payments are faster since the money goes directly into your account.
If you're referring to a tax filing status, capitalize Single. Otherwise, leave it lowercase.
Hyphenate sign-in for this use. Our customers access our online products and services (both on the web and on mobile devices) through a single sign-in account, called an Intuit Account. This makes it easier to manage multiple products and services seamlessly. It’s important that we describe and present sign-in access consistently across all our products and services.
Here’s how to think of this: Customers create an Intuit Account to sign up for our online products and services. They sign in to their account with their user ID and password. We use the phrases user ID and password, instead of sign-in or login.
Use sentence case in button content, and don’t use punctuation: Sign in
Social Insurance Number, SIN
Capitalize as shown. OK to refer to it as SIN if there are space constraints, or if you’ve already spelled it out on the screen. It's never SIN number.
Capitalize as shown.
Social Security number, SSN
Spell out and capitalize as shown. Don’t use Social. Use SSN only if there are space constraints.
sold down the river
This phrase originated in the Mississippi region of the U.S. during slave trading days. Enslaved people who caused trouble were sold from the northern slave states into the much harsher conditions on plantations in the lower Mississippi. It’s not only rooted in racism, but it’s just unclear to begin with—like most idioms. You could say betrayed instead. Learn more about anti-racist language
When a selection option is Sole proprietorship and the other options are LLP. LLC, S corp, and C corp, lowercase the p. And if you're not sure, go ahead and lowercase.
Apologize only when we’ve failed to meet expectations or deliver on something we’ve promised. Don’t say sorry as filler or when you mean something different.
Specialist can refer to a member of our sales team whose role it is to help customers with purchasing our products. You can also use specialist to indicate someone who provides general assistance to customers but doesn’t have specific credentials or extensive training in a particular product area.
Use specialist when you’re not sure who will be helping a customer in a given situation, even if customers may end up talking with someone who has accounting, tax, or other professional credentials. In these cases, specialist can include bookkeepers, accountants, CPAs, tax attorneys, or others with relevant credentials, in addition to sales or support agents.
In most cases, you don’t need to qualify specialist. The context should clearly convey the area of specialization.
Don't use. A spirit guide or Spirit Helper is sacred and represents a larger spiritual culture within Indigenous and other cultures. It’s not a reference to your inner personality. Instead, you could try kindred spirit. Learn more about anti-racist language
Only capitalize spouse at the beginning of a sentence.
Capitalize as shown.
- Your Standard Deduction may exceed your itemized deductions.
- You may choose to use your Standard deduction.
- Enter your standard deduction.
Don’t use start or launch. Use open for apps and turn on/off for hardware.
- To install the update, open QuickBooks Desktop.
state, your state return
Hyphenate as shown.
Hyphenate as shown.
Hyphenate as shown.
Hyphenate as shown.
Hyphenate as shown.
A division of an account in a chart of accounts. Previously Sub Account (capitalized, two words). Now 1 word, not capitalized. Don’t write sub-account.
Submit is OK to use when the action is presenting something for the approval, consideration, or decision of another or others. It can also be used for submitting a plan or application.
You may also want to use submit when you need to match specific wording, like on a government form or in a third-party tool.
Avoid using submit for primary actions. There are more human, conversational ways of guiding users to take action.
- Submit timesheets
- Submit expenses
- Submit VAT tax
- Buy now
- Add vendor
- Add customer
- Start my free trial
- Start TurboTax
- Use when there is another action that will follow, like approval.
- Use sparingly.
- Be human.
- Don't use when there is a next step by the customer.
- Don't use with sign-up forms.
- Don't use if the action is complete once the button is selected.
In the U.S., we use one L in versions of this word, even when the dictionary has two correct U.S. spellings. In the UK and many ROW regions, two Ls is correct.
Don’t use this term to mean phasing out a product. Instead, use no longer supports or no longer available.
In help content, use Support to refer to the organization. Don't use customer care. If we’re instructing the customer to contact us, we’ll say contact us (and include the link to the contact page).
Write as shown (lowercase) and use instead of fraud or crime. This communicates that there's a potential issue without causing unnecessary stress for the customer. We should avoid words that might have legal implications.
On native mobile, use swipe to mean a side-to-side, upward, or downward motion across the screen. To indicate direction, say swipe right, swipe left, swipe up, or swipe down.
On the other hand, use drag to mean picking up and moving an item to a different part of the screen.
For accessibility, always provide an alternative way to perform the same action for people who aren’t able to swipe. For example, if swiping deletes an item, you might also give the option to tap the item, and then tap Delete.
Do not use. Use card reader.
Use switch instead of toggle.
Use sync, synced, and syncing. Don’t use synch, synched, synching, or synchronize.
Use notification area instead. (Per the Microsoft style guide, the system tray is now called the notification area.)
Not T4 form. If there are severe space constraints, it’s ok to shorten to T4, but this should be avoided.
Use tap when we know the customer is using a touchscreen device, like a phone, tablet, or smartwatch. When we don’t know the device, use select instead. A safe bet is to always use tap in native mobile apps and select everywhere else.
Tax Pro Center
A free resource for tax professionals seeking updates on industry news, insights, etc. Use title case.
Set lowercase as shown, unless it’s at the start of a sentence.
Use lowercase tax year unless specific to a product name or beginning of a sentence.
Don’t capitalize unless it’s at the start of a sentence.
Taxpayer Information Worksheet
Capitalize as shown.
These are OK when talking about text messages. Don’t use SMS.
thanks, thank you
Only write thank you for extra effort or inconvenience. Don’t thank customers for completing tasks they would normally do anyway. Consider writing Thanks instead, which is a little less formal.
- Thanks for your feedback.
The QuickBooks Team
When you sign off an email, don’t specify a team. It detracts from the overall brand. While we might have several different internal teams, to our customers we're just QuickBooks. Learn more about writing emails
- The QuickBooks Team
- The QuickBooks Online Account Team
- The QuickBooks Payroll Team
Use they with a singular antecedent instead of he or she, which is awkward. You can also try rewriting the phrase using plurals.
- Each employee must enter their Social Security number.
- All employees must enter their Social Security numbers.
third party, third-party
Spell out third-party and hyphenate it when using it as an adjective. As a noun, leave out the hyphen. Don't use ordinal numbers (3rd party).
- You can access this info through third-party apps.
- A third party joined the conference call.
- This won't apply to 3rd-party vendors.
Don’t use. This term originated from “tiger force,” which was a WWII bomber squad meant to bomb Japan. Tiger Force was also a US military unit that committed war crimes against Vietnamese civilians during the Vietnam War. It’s a loaded term that has ties to military aggression against Asians, even though it’s now used as corporate jargon.
It’s also unclear, especially for non-native English speakers. Other words you could try instead:
- small team
- specialized team
- mission team
- name the team(s) individually
Avoid—use until instead. Till is more informal, which is OK in principle, but the word may localize as cash drawer. To avoid this, stick with until.
timeout, timed out
One word, no hyphen. If you’re writing about a session that’s timed out, be conversational (and don’t use a hyphen).
Transport Layer Security encryption. Don’t use. Write bank-level security instead.
Don’t write in order to. Just to is plenty.
To Do’s, to-do, to-do’s
This is an awkward phrase no matter how you write it. Avoid it if you can, and use only if your product has this feature. Use title case when calling out an interface label. Learn more in writing about the interface.
- Select the To Do’s button to add your activities for the day.
- Be sure to add backing up your files to your list of to do’s for the day.
Don’t write toggle. Speak their language and say something more natural if you can.
In the U.S., use only one L in versions of this word: total, totaled, totaling.
Don’t use. Use tap when we know the customer is using a touchscreen device, like a phone, tablet, or smartwatch. When we don’t know which device the customer is using, use select instead. A safe bet is to always use tap in native mobile apps and select everywhere else.
touch and hold, touch + hold
Don’t use. When describing how the user can select text, position cursor, or display a magnified view, just use hold to select or a variation that fits.
Don’t use trademark symbols in text for Intuit products. For third-party products, trademark on first use in print, but not for later uses. For online content, avoid trademark symbols unless specifically instructed otherwise. Trademark symbols are difficult to render correctly online. Also, it’s hard to determine a customer’s “first use” encounter with a trademarked product online or in help because of the hippety-hoppety nature of browsing.
Capitalize as shown. Don’t write Traditional IRA unless the phrase starts a sentence.
It’s OK to say import transactions, but if you can find a more conversational way to write it, even better. Download transactions also works.
When you’re referring to migration of data from desktop to online, write copy instead of transfer. Transfer makes customers feel like there’s a possibility their information could get lost, or isn’t being stored.
In the U.S., use only one L in versions of this word: travel, traveled, traveling, traveler.
Don't use. A tribe is not just a group of people. Words like this have important meaning in Indigenous and other cultures, and should be used mindfully in casual conversation. Instead, try one of these words:
Write as shown. Never Turbotax or Turbo Tax. Use "we" when possible—it's more conversational.
turn on, turn off
Use open for programs and turn on/off for hardware. Only use start, stop, launch, or shut down if you're talking about servers.
- Turn on your computer, and open QuickBooks Online.
- Before you shut down a server, talk to your systems expert.
Don’t use. Use enter instead.
uh-oh, uh oh
Don’t use these. Our customers rely on us to know what we’re doing in the worlds of taxes and accounting. We don’t earn anyone’s confidence by saying things like uh oh. See also whoops.
Don’t use periods when abbreviating United Kingdom.
First, work with design to make sure the menu or option is physically grayed out. Be sure to have text on the page that explains why that menu or option isn’t available.
OK to use when referring to a service that might be unavailable.
- The statement storage service is unavailable outside the U.S.
OK to use for checkboxes. Use select and uncheck for the actions you take on checkboxes. Don’t use clear.
Use unpaid for invoice status. Don’t use open.
- You have 4 unpaid invoices.
up-to-date, up to date
Use hyphens if the phrase precedes the word it’s modifying, but not if it follows the word it’s modifying.
- Use your most up-to-date QuickBooks info to bring your TurboTax return up to date.
There’s a difference between upgrade and update and change plans. Use upgrade to mean added functionality and added cost. (Be sure that the functionality is more valuable from our customer’s perspective, not just from ours.) It’s fine to use free upgrade when there's added functionality, but we’re basically waiving the added cost. Use update to mean added functionality but no added cost. Use change plans to mean moving from one plan to another similar or lesser valued plan.
Only use in developer documentation. It means uniform resource identifier.
Don't use periods when abbreviating United States unless doing so would cause confusion with the word us.
USB flash drive
This is our preferred term for the small, portable drive you insert into a USB port. Don't use other terms like thumb drive, stick, key chain, or jump. Better yet, just back up your data to the cloud.
United States dollar. Abbreviate as shown.
Calling a customer—or anyone—a user or end-user is dehumanizing and impersonal. It can make us lose sight of being customer backed. Follow our voice guidelines of being conversational and avoid this word. There are many alternatives you can use instead: anyone, you, person, people, someone, customer, customers.
Exceptions are in developer content and when you have to talk about sign-in roles, permissions, or logins, such as when you need to differentiate between a systems admin and a systems user.
Even in these situations, you can still use warmer language like person/people in sub copy, buttons, and less prominent content areas to add a dash of humanity.
Always try to use language that fits your customers’ mental model.
Capitalize User ID only when you’re writing it as a field name. In the middle of a sentence, write user ID. Note that user ID is always two words, and we don't say username.
- user ID
- User ID (field name)
- user name
- sign-in name
Use verify sparingly to convey accuracy of data. Use be sure or check when suggesting to investigate a condition.
- Be sure you're editing the right invoice.
- Verify your Social Security number.
- Verify that you're updating preferences for the right user.
versions, version number
Use earlier/later to describe previous or subsequent dated versions of a product or software. Use lower/higher when referring to numerical versions. If abbreviating a version number, use a lowercase v with no space between the v and the number.
- Update to Google Chrome v91.7.0 for the latest enhancements.
- We support version 5.1 and newer.
OK to use . But also consider by, using, or through.
W-2, W-3, W-4
As shown, with a hyphen. See Forms. When using the proper name of the form, include the preceding word Form (note the capital F). When referring to these forms informally or in a general way, include the lowercase word form or copies following the form number.
If space is an issue, as in a mobile UI, it’s OK to say W-2s, but avoid it if you can.
- These include W-2 forms.
- Locate Forms W-2 and W-4.
- Enter this amount from Form W-3.
Use we sparingly. While we want to use a conversational tone, be careful about sounding creepy or making the product sound like a real person. Save we for direct, sincere communication with the customer.
Hang in there. We're almost done checking your system setup.
We noticed you haven't signed in for a while.
Website is one word, all lowercase.
- Web site
- web site
Don’t use. Refers to top-notch service. This term is unclear to begin with, and more importantly, it has ties to racist minstrel shows. Choose a clearer term. Some alternatives, depending on context: top-notch care, meticulous attention, premium or VIP service. Learn more about anti-racist language
white hat (hacking)
This term enforces the “white is good” and “black is bad” paradigm. Don’t use it. Try ethical hacker/hacking. Intuit has historically also used the more euphemistic “security researcher.” Learn more about anti-racist language
Even though the term white label may not be directly assigning a value judgment to color, it’s doing so indirectly. Additionally, the term is unclear and not easily translatable. Instead, try custom branding. Learn more about anti-racist language
whitelist (n., v.)
This term enforces the “white is good” and “black is bad” paradigm. Don’t use. Instead, use an alternative that’s appropriate to the context, such as trust or allow (for verbs) or allow list (for nouns). Learn more about anti-racist language
Whoops, woops, oops
Don’t use these. Our customers rely on us to know what we’re doing in the worlds of taxes and accounting. We don’t earn anyone’s confidence by saying things like oops. Also see uh oh.
Capitalize as shown.
Don't use this term in customer-facing content. It's techy, breaks the cardinal rule of talking about the UI, and it doesn't translate. Rewrite what you're trying to say, or talk about the thing itself rather than the container (for example, graph or chart instead of widget).
Use window to refer to a container (usually a box) that overlays the UI and presents info to the user or requests a response from them. Suitable for web and mobile. Try to avoid referring to the container itself, but if you need to, window is the term to use. Not modal, screen, popup, popover, or dialog box.
One word as shown. Use sparingly—there are other words you can use to congratulate, especially for smaller spaces (Yeah! Nice! Way to go!). For more guidance on ways to convey good news, check out our celebrations pattern.
Don’t use variations like wahoo. Not only is it a type of fish, but more importantly, it was used historically as a racial slur against Native Americans in the U.S.
- Woohoo! You haven’t paid any fees in 3 months.
Don’t use—it's a little too conversational and harder to translate. Use "what you can try now” or solution or alternative instead.
This is an acceptable abbreviation for workers’ compensation insurance. The apostrophe follows the s in workers.
write off (v.), write-off (n.)
When using it as a verb phrase, it’s two words with no hyphen. If you’re talking about a tax write-off or using it as a noun, use a hyphen.
A percussion instrument. We include it here because no letter of the alphabet should be unrepresented in our word list.
Hyphenate as shown. You can abbreviate for short spaces.
year-to-date, year to date, YTD
Use hyphens if the phrase precedes the word it’s modifying, but not if it follows the word it’s modifying. You can also shorten to YTD in tight spaces, like tables or mobile.
- Add the year-to-date balances from your accounts to bring your report up to date.
- Year to date is the period of time between the beginning of the year and the current date.
When written out in copy like marketing content or blog posts, spell out zero. In columns, most lists, and currency amounts, use the numeral 0.
Did you know this stands for Zone Improvement Plan in the U.S.? Note capitalization. OK to use just ZIP in field labels to save space.