Text Style Guidelines

Text is prevalent throughout the FxPlug hosts for such things as parameter names, menu labels, and help tags. Consistent and clear text use is a critical component of UI design.

In the same way that it is best to work with a professional graphic designer on the icons and images in your plug-in, you should work with a professional writer on text that is visible to your users. A skilled writer can help you develop a style of expression that reflects your plug-in’s design, and can apply that style consistently throughout your plug-in.

For guidance on Apple-specific terminology, the writer should refer to the Apple Style Guide. The guide covers style and usage issues, and is the key reference for how Apple uses language.

For issues that aren’t covered in the Apple Style Guide, Apple recommends three other works: The American Heritage Dictionary, The Chicago Manual of Style, and Words Into Type. When these books present conflicting rules, The Chicago Manual of Style takes precedence for questions of usage and The American Heritage Dictionary for questions of spelling.

Label Interface Elements

Make labels for interface elements easy to understand and avoid technical jargon. Try to be as specific as possible in any element that requires the user to make a choice, such as pop-up menus, checkboxes, and push buttons. Although it’s important to be concise, don’t sacrifice clarity for space.

The type of interface element dictates the capitalization style. For information on the proper way to capitalize the words in labels for different types of interface elements, see Capitalize Labels and Text.

Include an ellipsis (...) in the names of menu items and buttons that produce a dialog. For details on when to use an ellipsis, see Using the Ellipsis Character. The dialog title should be the same as the menu command or button label (except for the ellipsis) used to invoke it.

Capitalize Labels and Text

Use either title-style or sentence-style capitalization for all interface element labels.

In title-style capitalization, capitalize every word except:

In title style, always capitalize the first and last word, even if it is an article, a conjunction, or a preposition of four or fewer letters.

In sentence-style capitalization, the first word is capitalized and the rest of the words are lowercase, unless they are proper nouns or proper adjectives. If the text forms a complete sentence, end the sentence with proper punctuation; otherwise, do not add ending punctuation.

For more information about text style, see Text Style Guidelines in OS X Human Interface Guidelines.