Because we write our documentation in an informal tone, feel free to use most types of contractions.
In particular, it's fine to use -n't contractions, such as isn't, don't, and can't.
One reason that such contractions are useful is that it's sometimes easy for a reader to miss the word not, whereas it's harder to misread don't as do.
In general, avoid contractions formed from nouns and verbs.
Not recommended: The browser's fast, simple, and secure.
Recommended: The browser is fast, simple, and secure.
The second example above is better because using 's in place of is could cause the reader to think that browser's is the possessive form.
In some cases, it's OK to use a noun+verb contraction, such as "If you want to display information, a table's your best option." But in general, it's best to avoid that kind of contraction.
Not recommended: The following guides're a good way to learn to use Universal Analytics.
Recommended: The following guides are a good way to learn to use Universal Analytics.
Here, guides're just sounds clunky and weird.
Don't use double contractions
Double contractions contain not just one but two contracted words. Some examples of double contractions are as follows:
- mightn't've (mightn't have → might not have)
- mustn't've (mustn't have → must not have)
- wouldn't've (wouldn't have → would not have)
- shouldn't've (shouldn't have → should not have)
Its and it's
Don't confuse its with it's. It's just not right!