You can refer to punctuation for additional information.
Alternative text (alt text)
- Images used in digital documents and web pages require alt text that conveys the function or purpose of that image to someone using a screen reader.
- Alt text should be concise. It should complement rather than repeat surrounding content and captions.
Example: An image whose purpose is to identify Joe Smith can have an alt text of “Joe Smith.”
- Avoid including unnecessary details, such as clothing, background or facial expression.
- Don’t use “photo of” or “picture of” at the start of the alt text, unless it’s necessary to indicate the medium of the image.
- Larger infographics, charts and tables may need a longer description or HTML version of the content.
Place the official acronym of the degree and graduating year (last two digits) after the name of a Waterloo alumnus. The last two digits of the year should follow a left-facing apostrophe. Where space is limited (e.g., social) showcase only one degree, using the most recent degree.
- Body copy, digital and publications: Richard Yim (BASc ’16, MBET ’17).
- Social and advertisements: Richard Yim (MBET ’17).
- You can bold words for emphasis, but do so sparingly.
- Bolding should only be applied to paragraph or list text. Headings will be automatically formatted.
- Bold formatting is most commonly used with headlines, subheadings, and when you’re referencing field names or actions that need to be taken online or within a form.
Example: Click submit when you’ve completed the form.
- Items in a list can be complete sentences or they can
be just a few words, with or without punctuation,
but do not mix styles.
- Items in bulleted lists should have parallel grammar structure to help readability (i.e., with or without punctuation).
- Use unordered lists (no numbers) when items don’t have to be in a specific order.
If you drive north, prepare for the trip.
- Map out your route.
- Install your snow tires.
- Pack your woollies.
Another type of list is constructed as a complete sentence.
If you plan to drive north, you should
- bring a good map,
- install snow tires and
- pack your woollies.
- Captions are always written in the present tense.
- Captions must be direct, readable and informative.
- Credit the photographer in the body of the caption.
- Do not use uppercase in email addresses.
- If the address appears at the end of a sentence, include end punctuation. No extra space is necessary between the address and the end punctuation. Avoid when possible.
- When including a link in a digital document or web page, hyperlink the email address rather than the person’s name.
Example: Contact Jane Smith at email@example.com, for more information.
Headings and subheadings
- Headings and subheadings provide a way for users to preview content.
- Create headings to provide an outline of your content and answer your users’ top questions.
Examples: “Steps to hiring a co-op student” and “Top funding opportunities.”
- A good rule of thumb is to ask “does this heading make sense out of context?”
- Headlines need to quickly capture your audience’s attention. Keep headings short and direct.
- Capitalize only the first word when using sentence case (unless there are also proper nouns later in the sentence).
- Headlines, subheadings and calls to action should be written in sentence case.
- Headings should be used in proper order (i.e., H1, H2, H3).
- Punctuation is not necessary in headlines or subheadings. Exceptions are made for when headlines are questions and subheadlines have more than one sentence.
- Avoid overuse of abbreviations or acronyms.
- Commonly known acronyms may be used in headlines (e.g., IQC, NASA, SLC). When using abbreviations, spell out the full name at the first mention, followed by the abbreviation in parentheses. After that, you can just use the abbreviation.
Headline: HeForShe scholarships awarded to exceptional first-year STEM students
Body copy: The University of Waterloo has awarded six first-year students with HeForShe IMPACT scholarships in the fields of science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM).
Note: Copy in design layout may not appear in sentence case. A designer may choose another letter case to increase white space, attract attention or increase readability.
- Use hyperlinks when you want to give the reader an opportunity to link to a document or web page or to send an email. Examples: Waterloo events calendar, Apply now, Faculty of Engineering.
- The word or phrase you choose to link from (your hypertext) should provide context and be relevant to the action you want them to take. Avoid ambiguous link text such as “click here” and “read more.”
- If the link is a file to download, indicate the file type in the link text. If the file is large, users also appreciate knowing the size. Capitalize file type when placed in brackets as descriptions (e.g., DOCX, DOC, PDF).
Examples: Job Description Template (DOCX), University of Waterloo logo (ZIP), Request for Brand Name Drug Coverage (PDF).
- When linking to social media, use the profile name or handle as the link text.
Example: Follow @uwaterloo on Twitter
- Punctuation for inline links (e.g., image) comes after the link (it is not part of the link text).
- In digital documents and web pages, avoid using the web address as the link text. Instead, use link text that represents the destination.
Example: About Waterloo, not uwaterloo.ca/about
- Make sure to copy the same letter case as used on the web page when creating a hyperlink.
Example: About Waterloo
- Do not use italics for decoration or emphasis.
- Use italics for non-English words, unless they have become part of the language.
- For general publications, do not italicize scientific names.
- Use italics for the titles of books, published academic papers, broadcast programs, films, plays, poems, songs, speeches, works of art and other compositions.
- Use numbered lists when you’re describing a sequence or steps in a process.
- Use complete sentences.
Follow the steps below to update your personal information in Workday:
- Click on the Cloud icon and select View Profile.
- Click the Contact tab and select the Contact subtab.
- Click Edit to view the edit options. Each section will have an Edit icon (pencil) to change existing information or you can click Add for new information.
- Click Submit.
- Do not underline text unless that text is a hyperlink. When the reader clicks on a hyperlink, they are immediately taken to another section of a document or website.
Example: Have you seen our University of Waterloo documentary on YouTube?
Web addresses (urls) in print
- In print, use the following form for most web addresses: uwaterloo.ca. Most browsers automatically add http:// or https:// to web addresses, and this form promotes readability. Unless the URL does not work without the “www.”, remove it from the URL.
- Long URLs should be avoided since readers are not likely to type them in. WCMS site managers can create short cuts (called redirects in the WCMS) if a URL is needed for a print piece.
- If the URL comes at the end of a sentence, include end punctuation. However, avoid this placement when possible.