© 2021 Autodesk, Inc.
Web Editorial Style Guide

How to use this guide

This guide includes specific rules for writing for our global and local websites and external web properties. It’s based on the rules of the Editorial Style Guide.

Become familiar with the entries in the Editorial Style Guide first, and then consult the entries here for additional guidance. If the title of an entry in this guide is followed by an asterisk, it means that the rule is an exception or addition to the rule in the Editorial Style Guide.

See the Global Site Guidance gateway (access required) for copy and design guidelines, pattern libraries, and interactive prototypes for various web pages.

Table of contents

Abbreviations Free and discounted software
Alt text Headings and subheads
Ampersand Links
Browser titles Links to media
Capitalization Numerals
Captions Meta descriptions
Command, menu, and UI names Product names
Email addresses Product noun phrases
Email subject lines Promos
Feature names Pull quotes
File names and extensions Trademarks
Footnotes Version and extension numbers
Forms Video times

Abbreviations*

Exceptions: It’s okay to use vs. in product center compare tables and browser titles. You may also use abbreviations in tables and charts, if space is tight (for example: avg., hrs./wk., etc., months such as Jan., Feb., and so on).

*See the Editorial Style Guide for the full entry.

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Alt text

Alt text helps visually impaired visitors understand an image’s subject matter. It also helps images show up in image searches. Finally, alt text is necessary for compliance with WCAG 2.0 standards, which is required by law.

Any image on a page that adds value to the content should have alt text.

Make alt text informative and keyword-rich, but don’t keyword-stuff. Include a keyword from the SEO-prescribed list for at least 4–6 images on each page.

If an image is functional, such as when used as a link, the alt text should describe the link’s function.

General guidelines

  • Limit alt text to 128 characters, including spaces. Shorter is usually better.
  • Use sentence case with no ending punctuation.

Video: Overview of new Civil 3D features

Review and compare reports for each nesting study

Alt text for feature images

Write a sentence that describes the image or screenshot. Do not make the alt text identical to the feature description. Do not start the alt text with “Image:”.

NO: Image: Surfaces and point cloud tools let you create models using points and contour data

YES: 3D topographical model of mountain landscape

See more examples

Alt text for videos

Begin with “Video:” and briefly describe the video content.

NO: Reality capture

YES: Video: Use ReCap Pro to import point-cloud data captured with a laser scanner

If a video caption or feature description already communicates the video content, leave the alt text empty:

[Image alt tag] (alt=””)

Alt text for decorative images

For images that are strictly decorative or non-informational (such as those that separate sections of content), leave the alt text empty:

[Image alt tag] (alt=””)

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Ampersand*

Use the ampersand symbol (&) only in these cases:

  • Browser titles in which space is an issue
  • Navigational elements in which space is an issue (use the ampersand in corresponding text links and page titles, as well)

Do not use ampersands in:

  • Non-navigational headings and subheads just to save space. Rewrite the heading if it doesn’t fit.
  • Body copy.

*See the Editorial Style Guide for the full entry.

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Browser titles

A browser title is the text that’s displayed in your browser tab. It’s also displayed as the link text on a search results page (Google, Bing, internal search, etc.). It’s similar to a paid search ad’s heading.

Browser titles are one of the most critical elements for search optimization, both for ranking and for drawing traffic. Every web page should have a unique browser title that accurately describes the page’s content, and is optimized for search.

Guidelines for writing effective browser titles

  • Use the primary search keyword in the first three words. (If a page is already ranking for a particular search term, the browser title may be used to help the rank of a secondary or closely related search phrase.)
  • Maximum length: 70 characters, including spaces.
  • Title Case All The Words
  • Use an ampersand if you’re short on space.
  • Use | To Separate Items | They’re Called Pipes
  • Put Autodesk at the end if the page needs to be branded.
  • Default format for pages without a target keyword: Page Name | Autodesk
  • In product centers, use a version year only on the following pages: Subscribe, Free trial.

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Capitalization*

Sentence case

Use sentence case for all:

  • Headings and subheads
  • Captions
  • Navigational labels and text links
  • Titles of figures and tables
  • Items in a list

In general, do not use ending punctuation, unless the text is in the form of a question.

Design every detail with CAD software

Stories from the future of making

Which AutoCAD is right for me?

Support & learning

When working in a copydeck, submit headings in sentence case, even if a page design specifies a different textual treatment.

Title case

Use title case for:

  • Branded feature names

Loop Geometry (but Loop Geometry tool)

Combine Text (but Combine Text tool)

  • Industry names

Oil & Gas

Automotive Manufacturing

  • Titles of movies, books, songs, blogs, etc.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

The Sun Also Rises

“Bohemian Rhapsody”

Infrastructure Reimagined

  • Primary navigation

Autodesk > Industry > Natural Resources > Oil & Gas

  • All words in browser titles, including articles, verbs, and prepositions

Subscription | Revit For Collaboration | Autodesk

What’s New In InfraWorks | Features | Autodesk

Use title case also for dialog box names, on-screen areas, and command options, even if they’re not capitalized that way in the user interface. Capitalize only the item’s name, not its description:

File menu

Setup wizard

Tool palette

Save As option

Editing toolbar

*See the Editorial Style Guide for the full entry.

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Captions

In general, provide a caption of up to 25 words for image and video thumbnails, but follow the copydeck for your project. Captions should help users and not be something generic like “product image.” For videos, include the video playing time (video: x:xx min.). If the time is in seconds, use (video: xx sec.).

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Command, menu, and UI names

Capitalize the names of commands, menus, and user interface elements:

Use the Move option with the Zoom command.

Select Menu, then Products to access the product center.

Do not use these names as verbs or possessives.

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Email addresses

Spell out an email address in a link: “Email John Smith at john.smith@autodesk.com,” rather than “Email John Smith.” Some browsers in some countries, particularly in government organizations, will block the user’s ability to follow an email link.

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Email subject lines

Emails to customers and prospects should be consistent with the Autodesk voice. Do not use the following in an email subject line:

  • All caps
  • Exclamation points
  • Emojis

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Feature names

When software capabilities are used in a generic or descriptive sense, do not capitalize them like proper nouns. Capitalize features only if they’re branded names within the software UI.

NO: The Associative Dimension features in AutoCAD make drawing faster and easier.

YES: The associative dimension features in AutoCAD make drawing faster and easier.

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File names and extensions

The names of PDFs and other downloadable files should be lowercase, using hyphens to separate the main words (autocad-2017-brochure-en.pdf). Make sure that the PDF link name and file name follow standard PDF file naming conventions. See Preparing Your Assets: Naming Guidelines (access required) in the Distributing Marketing Assets Guide on the Brand Hub.

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Footnotes

Use footnotes sparingly. When possible, merge footnote material into body copy so users don’t have to search for information. Also, consider linking directly to more information instead of using a footnote.

When footnotes are necessary, follow these guidelines:

  • Use the asterisk (*) and double asterisk (**). Note: There is no space between the footnote symbol and text.
  • Use italics for footnotes. If the footnote contains a hyperlink, italicize the linked text, as well.
  • For features pages, unless the footnote applies to many or all features, place the footnote in the feature it applies to.
  • Use footnotes or hyperlinks for page-level “one-off” legal disclaimers that apply to a single page or a specific offer.
  • General legal disclaimers that are used across the site (for example, SRP) appear in a centralized disclaimers page instead of in a footnote. Users access these disclaimers through link text on the page. The standard language for this text is “See legal disclosures.”

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Forms

Use sentence case in form field labels.

When a form is submitted, it’s always followed up with a Success/Thank You page, which confirms that the form has been sent. The Thank You page of a live form can only be viewed by filling out the form.

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Free and discounted software

Do not put an asterisk after the word “free” in any heading, promo, or link text. On the final destination page of a “free” reference, add a link to the general legal disclaimer (also known as “See legal disclosures”).

See also Promos.

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Headings and subheads*

Follow these guidelines:

  • In general, use sentence case. However, some panels let you use either sentence case or all caps for headings. See the Global Site Guidance gateway (access required) for copy guidelines.
  • Do not use ending punctuation unless there is:
    • More than one sentence in a heading (avoid multiple sentences in subheads).
    • A series of words separated by periods.
    • A question. (But think twice about writing a heading or subhead as a question. It’s not always the most straightforward choice.)
  • Do not use an ampersand (&). Exceptions: Industry names (Oil & Gas, Film & TV) and collections (Media & Entertainment Collection, etc.) use an ampersand.
  • Avoid trademark symbols.
  • Capitalize Autodesk product names, branded terms, and industry names (such as Automotive Manufacturing).
  • When working in a copydeck, apply bold to headings and subheads.

Meet complex project requirements with BIM

Generative design shapes the future of air travel

Generative design: Shaping the future of air travel

Try to use primary keywords in H1 headings, since they’re heavily weighted for search.

*See the Editorial Style Guide for the full entry.

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Well-written link text helps users find what they’re looking for. Be brief, but specific. A link that says only “learn more” is not very helpful.

Follow these general guidelines:

  • Use sentence case unless the link includes a proper noun, such as a product name.

  • If an Autodesk product name is linked, use the short product name, no trademarks (even if it’s the first and only instance on the page). Exceptions: Autodesk CFD and Autodesk Rendering should always begin with Autodesk.

  • Avoid using Click here.

NO: Click here to close this window

YES: Close window

  • Do not put verb phrases in link text. For example, in the sentence Read more about the Maya Masters, put the link on Maya Masters.

  • Skip the mechanics.

NO: To download Firefox, go to the Mozilla website and click Free Download

YES: Download Firefox

  • If you’re linking to a page that requires a password, tell users by putting “(access required)” after the link.

Visit the Brand Hub (access required) for more information on Artifakt. (Put the link on Brand Hub.)

  • If you’re linking to a page that takes you off Autodesk.com, do not use an exposed URL.

NO: Visit www.infrastructure-reimagined.com

YES: Visit Infrastructure Reimagined

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For calls to action for various media, follow these formats. Note that we do not use articles:

  • Video: Watch video
  • Story: Read story
  • Webcast: Watch webcast
  • Podcast: Listen to podcast

Give readers the media type and length in a parenthetical note: (video: 3:20 min.) or, if less than one minute: (video: 35 sec.).

Note: Do not use a zero when a video is an even minute or is less than one minute:

NO: (video: 2:00 min.)

YES: (video: 2 min.)

NO: (video: 0.35 sec.)

YES: (video: 35 sec.)

Be sure to add the period after the abbreviation of minutes or seconds.

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Numerals*

In product center body copy, use figures for all numbers except the number 1, which should be spelled out.

Exception: Use the numeral 1 in 1-on-1, as in 1-on-1 web support.

*See the Editorial Style Guide for the full entry.

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Meta descriptions

A meta description is a general description of a web page that appears in search engine results (Google, Bing, internal search, etc.). This may be your only chance to get users to click through to a page from their search.

  • Write a clear, concise sentence that describes the page and uses your primary keywords.
  • Do not waste space with phrases like “This page is about.”
  • Maximum length: 170 characters, including spaces.
  • Use complete sentences.
  • Do not use trademark symbols.
  • Include Autodesk if the word is not in the browser title.

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Product names*

Use of Autodesk in product names

The word Autodesk is treated differently depending on where it appears. Follow these guidelines:

  • On Autodesk.com: Drop Autodesk from product names for all copy references.

Exceptions: These product names must always begin with Autodesk:

Autodesk CFD

Autodesk Rendering

  • On external web properties (including banners) where the Autodesk brand is not explicit: Retain the full product name, including Autodesk.

Third-party products or names

Do not include trademark symbols for third-party products or names.

Exception: On the Inventor Nastran product center, add the following footnote on the Overview page: NASTRAN is a registered trademark of the National Aeronautics Space Administration.

See also Trademarks in this style guide and the full Trademarks entry in the Editorial Style Guide.

*See the Editorial Style Guide for the full entry.

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Product noun phrases

We use product noun phrases to refer to a product consistently for both clarity and organic search. These phrases:

  • Highlight the top features or functionalities of the software
  • Help us follow legal requirements to use trademarks as adjectives
  • Optimize content for search

Using consistent product noun phrases is especially important for new products that have little brand recognition or that are in competitive spaces.

Use a product noun phrase after a product name on first reference. After that, try to use software, app, service or another appropriate noun occasionally throughout the copy.

FIRST REFERENCE: Revit building design software

LATER: Revit software

FIRST REFERENCE: SketchBook drawing app

LATER: SketchBook app

See the list of suggested product noun phrases (access required).

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Promos

Promos highlight new products, time-bound offers, or opportunities for customers to engage with us further. They’re not limited to price promotions. Promo copy appears in the promo bar pattern, which can be used on a product center’s Overview page.

Follow these guidelines:

  • Heading: N/A
  • Body copy: 70 characters, one line max. Use ending punctuation.
  • CTA: 25 characters, one line max, all caps. Must be in the form of an action (such as SAVE NOW or ACT NOW).
  • Make the text descriptive, clear, and compelling. Avoid clever language or puns, which are not effective for a global audience.
  • Do not use trademark symbols, exclamation points, or asterisks.
  • Weave in any material limitations, such as “current customers,” “up to X off,” “when you trade in a license,” etc.

Promo writing tips:

  • What is the destination page? Be sure it delivers what the promo promises.
  • Test your copy: Does it make sense when read on its own, out of context?

See also promo bar guidance on the Global Site Guidance gateway (access required).

See also the Legal Marketing Guidelines (access required).

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Pull quotes

Use quotation marks around pull quotes. Attribution begins with an em dash (add a space between the end quotation mark and the left side of the dash), followed by name, title, and company affiliation. Quoted text should be 20–40 words. Use title case for titles, even after a name.

“We knew we had a viable solution, but we had to come up with a viable way to manufacture it.” —Robert Simmons, Co-founder and CTO, ConXtech

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Trademarks*

We rarely use trademarks on our website.

Which web pages require a trademark symbol?

Use a trademark symbol only on a product’s Overview, Features, and Subscribe pages. Put the appropriate symbol (® or ™) after the product name on first reference only:

  • Overview page (body copy in descriptive overview panel)
  • Features page (intro copy)
  • Subscribe page (after the bolded product name that’s next to the product badge)

The product name does not need the trademark on any other product center. For example, Maya LT needs a trademark on the Overview, Features, and Subscribe pages in its product center, but does not need a trademark if it’s mentioned in the Stingray product center.

Do not use trademark symbols on:

  • Search landing pages
  • Case studies or customer stories
  • Gateways
  • Any other page that isn’t the product’s Overview, Features, or Subscribe page

Where does the trademark go on the page?

Use trademark symbols in body copy only. Do not use them in:

  • Page titles, headings, subheads, and captions**
  • Links
  • Navigational items
  • Promos
  • Pull quotes
  • Meta descriptions and keywords
  • Alt text

**Exception: On an external site, use a trademark symbol in the banner’s heading.

Submitting web copy

When working in copydecks, do not apply superscript to the trademark symbol; just insert the symbol. We do not superscript symbols on the website.

Do more with Inventor® software.

See also Product names.

*See the Editorial Style Guide for the full entry.

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Version and extension numbers

In product centers, use year designations on these pages only:

  • Features and Compare Releases (in page content)
  • Subscribe and Free Trial (in metadata and browser titles)

Exceptions: BIM 360, Fusion 360, and InfraWorks do not use year designations in content or metadata.

Do not use extension numbers (2018.1, 2018.2., etc.) with a product name.

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Video times

Give readers the media type and length in a parenthetical note: (video: 3:20 min.) or, if less than one minute: (video: 35 sec.).

Note: Do not use a zero when a video is an even minute or is less than one minute:

NO: (video: 2:00 min.)

YES: (video: 2 min.)

NO: (video: 0.35 sec.)

YES: (video: 35 sec.)

Be sure to add the period after the abbreviation of minutes or seconds.

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