Headings and titles

Use descriptive headings and titles because they help a user navigate their browser and the page. It's easier to jump between pages and sections of a page if the headings and titles are unique.

Heading and title text

Write document titles based on the primary purpose of the document. If a document is primarily a tutorial, but it has a conceptual introduction, write a task-based title. Write section headings based on the type of content that's in the section.

Guidance Recommended Not recommended

For a task-based heading, start with a bare infinitive, also known as a plain form or base form verb. In English, the imperative mood also uses the base form verb, so it looks the same as the bare infinitive.

Task-based headings are frequently used in quickstarts, how-to documents, and tutorials.

Create an instance Creating an instance

For a conceptual or non-task-based heading, use a noun phrase that doesn't start with an -ing verb.

Noun-phrase headings are frequently used in concept documentation.

Migration to Google Cloud Migrating to Google Cloud

It's OK to use task-based and conceptual heading styles in the same document. If a single document includes both task-based and conceptual sections, then use the appropriate phrasing for each section's heading.

When possible, avoid using -ing verb forms as the first word in any heading or title.

Recommended: Transfer data sets

Not recommended: Transferring data sets

An -ing verb form is a present participle or gerund. These verb forms are inconsistently translated when they're used as the first word in a title, and they increase character count in limited spaces.

Sometimes, there might not be a better alternative to using a gerund, such as the following examples:

  • Billing
  • Pricing

It's OK to use a gerund in these cases.

It's OK to use an -ing verb form later in a heading or title, such as Introduction to BigQuery monitoring.

Example headings

The following example is a task-based document that includes a conceptual heading and a task-based heading.

Recommended:

# Log serving requests by using AI Platform Prediction

This task-based document shows how to monitor machine learning models. The
document title starts with a bare infinitive.

## Overview of ML model monitoring

This section provides a conceptual overview of ML model monitoring. Its title is
a noun phrase.

## Configure notebook settings

This task-based section provides a series of steps to set variables in a
notebook. Its title starts with a bare infinitive.

Heading and title format

  • Use sentence case for headings and titles. For more information, see Capitalization in titles and headings.
  • Don't include numbers in headings to indicate a sequence of sections.
  • Use punctuation in headings sparingly, if at all. Punctuation can be a sign that your heading is too complicated. Consider rewriting.
  • When using an abbreviation in a heading or title, spell out the abbreviation in the first paragraph that follows the heading or title. For more information, see Abbreviations.
  • In general, guidance that applies to text also applies to headings—for example, contractions.
  • Avoid using code items in headings when possible. If you must mention a code item in a heading, add a descriptive noun to the item in code font. For more information, see keywords.
  • Tag headings using heading elements. In HTML: <h1>, <h2>, and so on. In Markdown: #, ##, and so on.
  • Use API levels for Android versions.
  • To change the visual formatting of a heading, use CSS rather than using a heading level that doesn't fit the hierarchy. Don't make up your own formatting for headings.
  • Don't put a link in a heading because it can easily be confused as a style applied to a heading instead of a link.
  • Use a heading hierarchy and take the following items under consideration:
    • Use a level-1 heading for the page title or main content heading. In some publishing systems, a level-1 heading might be generated automatically based on a page title that you supply.
    • Don't skip levels of the heading hierarchy. For example, put an <h3> only under an <h2>.

      Recommended:

      # Transfer data sets
      This article provides a high-level overview of ways to transfer your data to GCP.
      ## Estimate costs
      

      Not recommended:

      # Transferring data sets
      This article provides a high-level overview of ways to transfer your data to GCP.
      ### Estimating costs
      
    • Don't use empty headings or headings with no associated content.

      Recommended:

      ## Migrate VMs to Compute Engine
      Migration is not just a single step. The following sections describe the recommended steps.
      ### Design the migration
      

      Not recommended:

      ## Migrate VMs to Compute Engine
      ### Design the migration
      

Refer to subsections

In a section of the page that summarizes the subheadings that follow—for example, an H2 section that discusses the following H3 sections—use the phrase in the following sections to connect the headings together. Don't use the phrases in this section or in these sections because these phrases are too ambiguous.