Word list

If the term you're looking for isn't on this page, then consult a dictionary or check the Common Errors in English Usage site.

Closed compounds and prefixes

In general, use the closed form of compound words and words with prefixes; that is, write them without a space or a hyphen. We've included some common examples of the closed form in the word list, such as dataset, metadata, and predefined, as well as our exceptions for well-established terms that commonly use a hyphen or a space, such as multi-region and style sheet. Additionally, in cases where the noun, verb, and adjective versions of a word are treated differently, we explicitly note the differences.

As always, it's fine to deviate from this guidance if that serves your users better. For example, if you determine the hyphenated version of a term in your domain is more appropriate for your users, it's fine to use that instead. We acknowledge that sometimes there are competing forms of the same word in wide use, especially as new terms emerge, and you may have better domain knowledge and have good reasons for deviating from this guidance. Either way, whichever form of a word you choose, make sure to be internally consistent and use the same form throughout your docset.

Word list

#

+1's, +1'ing, +1'ed
2-Step Verification
When referring to Google's 2-Step Verification, use initial caps. If you're referring to generic 2-step verification, use lowercase.
3D; not 3-D

Symbols

& (ampersand)
Don't use & instead of and in headings, text, navigation, or tables of contents; however, it's OK to use & when referencing UI elements that use &, or in table headings and diagram labels where space constraints require abbreviation. And of course it's fine to use & for technical purposes in code.

A

a and an
Use a when the next word starts with a consonant sound, regardless of what letter it starts with. For more information, see Articles (a, an, the).
abort
Avoid in general usage. Instead, use words like stop, exit, cancel, or end. In Linux, abort refers to a type of signal that terminates an abnormal process.
above
Don't use. Instead, use preceding.
access (verb)
Avoid when you can, in favor of friendlier words like see, edit, find, use, or view.
access token
account name
Don't use. Instead, use username.
actionable
Avoid unless it's the clearest and simplest phrasing for your audience. Instead of using it, leave it out or replace it with a phrase like that you can act on or useful. Don't use it in the legal sense without consulting a lawyer.
action bar
Don't use. Instead, use app bar.
add-in; not addin
add-on; not addon
address bar
Use to refer to the URL bar or the combined URL bar and search box in a browser. Don't use omnibox.
ad hoc
Okay to use in database and analytics contexts to mean "free-form" or "user-written" (for example, "ad hoc queries" or "an ad hoc chart"). Don't hyphenate or italicize the term. For other contexts, try to find a more specific English equivalent.
administrator
Don't use. Instead, use admin.
AJAX; not Ajax
At the moment (as of mid-2017), our help site writes the term as AJAX, so that's how we currently write it in developer documentation as well. Our impression is that over time, more people are writing it as Ajax, but AJAX is not uncommon. Jesse James Garrett, who coined the term, says it's not an acronym, but many others treat it as one.
all apps screen
allows you to
Don't use. Instead, use lets you. For more information, see enable.
alpha
Lowercase except when part of a product name.
Recommended: Product Name Alpha
Recommended: Product Name is currently in alpha.
among
See between versus among.
AM, PM
To be consistent with Material Design, use all-caps, no periods, and a space before.
Recommended: 9:00 AM
Recommended: 10:30 PM
and/or
Sometimes and/or is the clearest and most efficient way to express something. It's worth considering whether there's a good way to write around it, but it's not worth rewriting so that the text is harder to understand.
Android (never android)
Android-powered device; not Android device
and so on
Avoid using and so on whenever possible. For more information, see etc.
anti*
See Closed compounds and prefixes.
any time (noun), anytime (adverb)
Recommended: You can change this setting at any time.
Recommended: Anytime you want a good video, you can watch YouTube.
API
Use API to refer to either a web API or a language-specific API. Don't use it when referring to a method or a class. For example, don't write "This resource has one API" when you mean "This resource has one method."
API Console; not APIs console or developer console or dev console
Short for Google API Console. For more information, see console.
API Console key
In most contexts, use API key instead of API Console key. In Apps admin APIs, however, it's okay to use API Console key to distinguish from other API keys.
API key; not developer key or dev key
APIs; not API's
APIs Explorer; not API explorer or other variants
APK; not .apk
app; not application
app bar (formerly action bar)
appendix
Use the plural appendixes, not appendices.
application
Don't use. Instead, use app. The industry trend is toward app. It's okay to use application as part of a common phrase such as application programming interface, but in general usage, app is preferable.
argument (command-line context)
For general usage, use option. Some command-line tools, such as the gcloud command-line tool, uses argument. For details, see command-line terminology.
at scale; not at-scale
authentication and authorization
In general, use the word authenticated only to refer to users, and authorized only to refer to requests that are sent by a client app on behalf of an authenticated user. A user authenticates that they are who they say they are by entering their password (or giving some other proof of identity). The authenticated user then authorizes the client app to send an authorized request to the server on the user's behalf.
When you want to use a preposition with authenticate, use against.
authN, authZ
Don't use. Instead, use authentication or authorization.
auto*
See Closed compounds and prefixes.
autohealing; not auto-healing
autopopulate; not auto populate or auto-populate
autoscaling; not auto-scaling
autotagging; not auto-tagging
autoupdate
Don't use. Instead, use automatically update.

B

backend
backoff (noun), back off (verb), back-off (adjective)
backup (noun), back up (verb), backup (adjective)
backward compatible; not backwards compatible
bare metal
base64
Except where it starts a sentence or heading, in which case it's init-capped; or where it's part of a name where it's init-capped. Generally not in code font. However, it is in code font if and only if it's a string literal or otherwise quoted from code.
below
Don't use. Instead, use following.
beta
Lowercase except when part of a product name.
Recommended: Product Name Beta
Recommended: Product Name is currently in beta.
between versus among
It's fine to use between when talking about more than two things; however, between isn't interchangeable with among.
In particular, use between when you're talking about two or more distinct things:
  • Recommended: JavaScript introduces dependencies between the DOM, the CSSOM, and JavaScript execution.
Use among when you're talking about things that are part of a group or things that aren't distinct:
  • Recommended: ... a conventional SQL database that can be shared among multiple apps.
More examples:
  • Not recommended: Because screen dimensions vary widely between devices (for example, between phones and tablets, and even between different phones), you should configure the viewport so that your pages render correctly on many different devices.
  • Recommended: Because screen dimensions vary widely among devices (for example, between phones and tablets, and even among different phones), you should configure the viewport so that your pages render correctly on many different devices.
  • Not recommended: You can share services between multiple clients.
  • Recommended: You can share services among multiple clients.
See also Grammar Girl's discussion of "Between" Versus "Among".
big data
Lowercase. Hyphenate if necessary for clarity.
Not recommended: MyPlatform is a powerful Big Data platform.
Not recommended: MyPlatform is a powerful big data platform.
Recommended: MyPlatform is a powerful big-data platform.
blacklist (blacklist / whitelist)
Avoid blacklist and whitelist. Instead, use more precise terms that are appropriate to your domain. For example: denylist/allowlist; blocklist/allowlist. If the command or code you're documenting uses the literal words blacklist or whitelist, then make clear what you're referring to. For example, "Add a user to the allowlist (whitelist) by entering the following: whitelist adduser followed by their email address."
For more information, see the section on inclusive documentation.
boolean
In most contexts, you're talking about a specific datatype in a specific programming language, in which case use code font and the exact spelling and capitalization of the programming keyword. But when referring to the abstract datatype, use lowercase. (In the unlikely event that you refer to Boolean mathematics or Boolean logic, use uppercase.)
branding information
In the API Console and the GCP Console, the phrase branding information refers to the information that Google shows to users when the client asks them to authorize access: specifically, the project's name and logo, and the developer's Google Account. This information is set in the Consent screen page.
built-in
button
In a UI, a link is not the same as a button; don't use the term button to refer to a link.
Use button to refer to mechanical buttons (such as the Home button on the front of the phone and the Volume up/down buttons on the side of the phone) and capacitive touch buttons on the phone. You press mechanical buttons, and tap capacitive and on-screen buttons.

C

cell phone
Don't use. Instead, use mobile or mobile phone or (if you're talking about more than just phones) mobile device. Using phone (without mobile) is fine when the context is clear.
cellular data
Don't use. Instead, use mobile data.
cellular network
Don't use. Instead, use mobile network.
chapter
When referring to documentation that isn't in the form of a book, don't use the term chapter. Instead, refer to documents, pages, or sections.
check
Don't use to refer to marking a checkbox. Instead, use select.
Not recommended: Check Automatically check for updates.
Recommended: Select Automatically check for updates.
checkbox; not check box
clear
Use (as a verb) to refer to clearing a check mark from a checkbox.
Not recommended: Uncheck Automatically check for updates.
Not recommended: Deselect Automatically check for updates.
Recommended: Clear Automatically check for updates.
CLI
Don't use. Instead, use command-line tool or similar noun.
click; not click on
When the environment is a desktop with a mouse, use "click" for most targets, such as buttons, links, list items, and radio buttons.
Not recommended: Click on OK.
Recommended: Click OK.
Hyphenate "right-click," "left-click," and "double-click."
When a click or tap action reveals a collapsed list, you can write "click to expand" or simply "expand."
It's okay to write "click in" when referring to a region that needs focus ("click in the window"), but not when referring to a control or a link.
For Android apps, don't use click. Instead, use tap.
click here
Don't use. For details and alternatives, see Link text.
clickthrough (noun), click through (verb)
client
In REST and RPC API documentation, client is short for client app—that is, the app that the developer is writing. Don't use client as an abbreviation for client library; instead, use library.
client ID
client secret
Cloud
Don't use as short for Google Cloud Platform. Instead, use Google Cloud Platform on first use, and GCP thereafter. For generic references such as the cloud or hybrid cloud, use the lowercase form.
Cloud SDK; not Google Cloud Platform SDK
co*
See Closed compounds and prefixes.
codebase; not code base
codelab; not code lab
colocate; not co-locate or colo
combo box (noun), combo-box (adjective)
command line (noun), command-line (adjective)
compile time (noun), compile-time (adjective)
comprise
Don't use. Instead, use consist of, contain, or include.
cons
Don't use. Instead, use something else, such as disadvantages.
console
Don't use in isolation. Instead, use the name of the specific console, such as the Google Cloud Platform Console or the Google API Console. After giving a console's full name, you can use a shortened version of the name; for the two Google developer consoles, the short names are GCP Console and API Console.
To refer to a sub-page of a console, use the term page.
Container Engine
Don't use. Instead, use Google Kubernetes Engine.
contents (noun)
In its singular form, content can be a noun, adjective, or verb. In its plural form, it's nearly always a noun. In our documentation, we use the noun, so keep it plural.
content type
Don't use when referring to types such as "application/json"; instead, use media type.
Control+S, Command+S, etc.; not Ctl-S or Cmd-S or Cloverleaf-S
To refer to a Control character, use Control+character. (In most cases, use an uppercase letter for character.) Note that in macOS, many keyboard commands use the Command key instead of the Control key, and there's an Option key instead of an Alt key. If your audience includes macOS users as well as Windows or Linux users, then mention both keyboard commands. Example: "Control+S (Command+S on Macintosh)".
CPU
All caps. No need to expand the abbreviation on first mention.
cross-site request forgery
CSV
Don't use a filename extension to refer to a type of file. For example, use CSV file rather than .csv file. For details, see Referring to file types.
curated roles
Don't use. Instead, use predefined roles.

D

data
In our usage, data is singular, not plural. Say the data is, not the data are. Also, in our usage, data is a mass noun, not a count noun; for example, say less data rather than fewer data.
data center; not datacenter
data center campus
Use when referring to an entire physical location, which can encompass one or more data centers.
data cleaning; not data cleansing
data flow (noun); dataflow (noun)
If it's possible to replace with the phrase flow of data, then use two words: data flow. If that's not possible, such as when referring to something like "stream processing" or "reactive programming," then use one word: dataflow.
dataset; not data set
data source; not datasource
data type; not datatype
deep linking; not deep-linking
However, if it would work to replace with linking, then do that.
deselect
Don't use to refer to clearing a check mark from a checkbox. Instead, use clear.
Not recommended: Deselect Automatically check for updates.
Not recommended: Uncheck Automatically check for updates.
Recommended: Clear Automatically check for updates.
desire, desired
Don't use. Instead, use a word like want or need.
Not recommended: Set the value to the size that you desire.
Not recommended: Set the value to the desired size.
Recommended: Set the value to the size you want.
Developers Console
Don't use. For more information, see console.
Developer's Guide; not Developer Guide or Developers' Guide
dialog
Use dialog for the UI element sometimes called a dialog box. Use dialogue only for verbal interaction between people.
directory, folder
If the context you're documenting (such as an IDE's GUI) uses one term or the other, use that term. If not, then use directory in a command-line context, and folder in a GUI context. When in doubt, default to directory.
disable
OK to use in reference to turning off a feature or option. See also enable.
disaster recovery
Lowercase except when part of a product name, but OK to abbreviate as DR after first use.
disclosure triangle, disclosure widget
Don't use. Instead, use expander arrow.
display (verb)
Don't use as an intransitive verb. Display is a transitive verb; therefore, it requires an object. It is often misused in technical documentation, as demonstrated by the following example:
Not recommended: The Output Directories area displays.
Recommended: The Output Directories area appears.
Recommended: The Output Directories area is displayed.
The following example demonstrates correct usage of the verb display but means something quite different from the preceding examples.
Recommended: The Output Directories area displays the vector image.
docset; not doc set
documentation or document or documents, whichever is applicable; not doc or docs
double-tap
drag

Use "drag," not "click and drag" and not "drag and drop," though you may use "drag-and-drop" as an adjective.

Recommended: Drag the user to the Authorized box.

In most cases, you can omit drop-down in favor of list or menu. If the omission results in ambiguity, then include drop-down as a modifier.
dummy variable
Don't use to refer to placeholder or similar variables. Use placeholder variable instead.
Also don't use if referring to the concept in statistics known as a dummy variable. Instead, use alternate terms such as indicator variable, design variable, one-hot encoding, Boolean indicator, binary variable, or qualitative variable.

E

each
Each refers to every individual item taken individually, not a group of items taken collectively. In other words, each is not a synonym for all. For example, a list of each item is ambiguous; a list of all the items or a list of the items is generally clearer.
easy
ecommerce; not e-commerce
e.g.
Don't use. Instead, use phrases like for example or for instance. Too many people mix up e.g. and i.e.
either
Usage note 1: When using either, use parallel syntax—"Do either foo or bar" is fine, as is "Either do foo or do bar," but not "Either do foo or bar."
Usage note 2: We recommend using either only for a choice between two things, not for a choice among multiple things; however, this is a weak recommendation rather than a firm rule. Saying "either A or B or C" will annoy and distract some readers, but if it's the best phrasing for your situation, then use it.
element (for XML and HTML elements); not tag
HTML 4 elements are often referred to as tags, but the equivalent items in modern HTML and XML are officially known as elements.
email; not e-mail or Email or E-mail
As of mid-2017, Merriam-Webster dictionaries still prefer e-mail to email. But the AP style manual switched to email in March 2011, and the New York Times switched to email in October 2013.
In some contexts, mail is a better choice.
emoji
Use emoji for both singular and plural forms. See Don't know the difference between emoji and emoticons? Let me explain and What's the Plural of Emoji?
enable
For turning on or activating an option or feature, use enable. For making it feasible to do something, use lets you.
Not recommended: Turn on the API for your project.
Recommended: Enable the API for your project.
Not recommended: The API enables you to detect features in images.
Not recommended: The API allows you to detect features in images.
Recommended: The API lets you detect features in images.
endpoint; not end point
end user (noun), end-user (adjective)
Also consider just user.
enter
Use to refer to the user entering text. Type is also okay.
Recommended: In the Owner box, enter your name.
Recommended: In the Size box, type a font size.
ephemeral external IP address; not ephemeral IP address or external IP address to refer to ephemeral external IPs.
error-prone (adjective)
etc.
Avoid both etc. and and so on wherever possible, but if you really need to use one, use etc. Always include the period, even if a comma follows immediately after.
In GCP documentation, never use etc. under any circumstances.
Not recommended: Your app might experience instability, high latency, and so on.
Not recommended (but acceptable in non-GCP documentation): Your app might experience instability, high latency, etc.
Not recommended (but acceptable in non-GCP documentation): If your app experiences instability, high latency, etc., follow these steps:
Recommended: Your app might experience problems such as instability or high latency.
Recommended: Your app might experience problems, including instability or high latency.
ETL
OK to use with caution, but write out on first mention: extract, transform, and load (ETL).
execute
Verb commonly used to refer to function calls, SQL queries, and other processes. For more general cases, use run.
expander arrow
The UI element used to expand or collapse a section of navigation or content. We don't often refer to these explicitly in documentation, but when we do, use the terms expander arrow and expandable section rather than terms like expando or zippy.
exploit
Don't use to mean "use." Only use in the negative sense.

F

fail over (verb), failover (noun, adjective)
filename; not file name
file system; not filesystem
fill in; fill out
Use fill in when referring to entering information in individual fields. Use fill out when referring to completing an entire form.
Recommended: Fill out the questionaire. Be sure to fill in the required fields.
firewalls
Don't use in Compute Engine documentation. Instead, use firewall rules.
The term firewalls is acceptable outside of Compute Engine documentation.
flag (command-line context)
Don't use. Instead, use option. For exceptions to this rule, see command-line terminology.
following
Recommended: ... in the following code sample ...
frontend
functionality
On the one hand, everyone knows what this means. On the other hand, it's kinda jargony. So where possible, use terms like capabilities and features instead.

G

Gbps
Short for gigabits per second. By convention, we don't use Gb/s.
gcloud command-line tool
After first use in a paragraph, it's okay to refer to the gcloud tool, but not simply gcloud. Name is always lowercase, and gcloud is always set in code font.
GCP; not Cloud Platform or Cloud
GCP Console
Short for Google Cloud Platform Console. For more information, see console.
GCP project ID; not Cloud project ID
You can also shorten to project ID, but be aware that that term is ambiguous in some contexts.
gender-neutral he, him, or his (or she or her)
Don't use. Instead, use the singular they (see Jane Austen and other famous authors violate what everyone learned in their English class). If you can't stand that, then use he or she, or rewrite to avoid singular gendered pronouns. For example, using plurals can often help. (For more suggestions, if you have access to the Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition, then see section 5.225, "Nine techniques for achieving gender neutrality.") Don't use he/she or (s)he or other such punctuational approaches.
GIF
Don't use a filetype extension to refer to a type of file. For example, use GIF file rather than .gif file. For details, see Referring to file types.
GKE
Short name for Google Kubernetes Engine.
Google, Googling
Don't use as a verb or gerund. Instead, use search with Google.
Google Account, Google Accounts (capital A)
Google API Client Library for Foo (Java, .NET, etc.) (or just "Foo client library" on later use)
Google API Console; not Google APIs Console
OK to shorten to API Console after first use on a given page. For more information, see console.
Google Cloud Platform Console
OK to shorten to GCP Console after first use on a given page. For more information, see console.
Google Developers Console
Don't use. For more information, see console.
Google I/O; not I-O or IO
Google Play services
Google Play services SDK
grayed-out
Don't use. Instead, use unavailable.
guru
If possible, use a more precise term. For example, if you mean expert or teacher, use those terms.

H

hackathon; not hack-a-thon
hamburger, hamburger menu
Don't use. Instead use the aria-label for that particular icon. For example, Menu . For more information, see Buttons and icons.
hardcode (verb), hardcoded (adjective)
high availability
Lowercase except when part of a product name, but OK to abbreviate as HA after first use.
higher (for a range of version numbers); not later
Not recommended: Use version 2.2 or later.
Not recommended: Use version 2.2+.
Recommended: Use version 2.2 or higher.
high performance computing
Lowercase and no hyphen.
hit
Don't use as a synonym for click.
hold the pointer over
Use this verb phrase when referring to the user holding their mouse over a UI element, but not clicking the UI element. This action involves waiting for the UI to react—for example, waiting for a toolip to open or waiting for a submenu to open.
See also point to.
Not recommended: In the Admin menu, hover over File, and then click New.
Recommended: In the Admin menu, hold the pointer over File, and then click New.
home screen
hostname; not host name
hover
Don't use. Instead use hold the pointer over.
HTTPS; not HTTPs

I

IaaS
Write out on first mention: infrastructure as a service (IaaS).
IAM
Write out on first mention: identity and access management (IAM). When referring to UI text, write this the way it's written in the UI.
ID
Not Id or id, except in string literals or enums. In some contexts, best to spell out as identifier or identification.
i.e.
Don't use. Instead, use phrases like that is. Too many people mix up e.g. and i.e.
If
Wondering whether to use if or whether? See whether.
impact
Use only as a noun.
Not recommended: This issue impacts user experience.
Acceptable: This issue has an impact on user experience.
Recommended: This issue affects user experience.
index
Use the plural indexes unless there is a domain-specific reason (for example, a mathematical or financial context) to use indices.
ingest
Avoid in most cases when referring to data. Instead, use import or load.
in order to
If at all possible, don't use in order to; instead, use to. Very occasionally, in order to does clarify meaning or make something easier to read.
interface
OK to use as a noun, but don't use as a verb. Instead, try interact, talk, speak, communicate, or other similar terms.
internal IP address; not network IP address
internet
Changed to lowercase in August 2017, in part because several other style guides have recently made this change.
I/O (see also Google I/O)
IoT
OK to use as an abbreviation for Internet of Things. Note the lowercase o.
IP
IP alone is an abbreviation for "intellectual property." If you mean an IP address, write IP address.

J

jank
Use with caution. Think about whether your audience will understand it.
JPEG
Don't use a filename extension to refer to a type of file. For example, use JPEG file rather than .jpg file. For details, see Referring to file types.

K

k8s
Don't use. Instead, use Kubernetes.
Kbps
Short for kilobits per second. By convention, we don't use Kb/s.
kebab, kebab menu
Don't use. Instead use the aria-label for that particular icon. For example, More . For more information, see Buttons and icons.
key pair
A pair of keys, such as a public key and a private key. Contrast with key-value pair, which refers to a pairing that specifies a value for a variable (as in configuration files).
key-value; not key/value, especially as in key-value pair
kill
Avoid. Instead, use words like stop, exit, cancel, or end. For exceptions to this rule, see command-line terminology.

L

later (for a range of version numbers)
Don't use. Instead, use higher.
lead-in (noun)
learnings
Don't use.
legacy
If possible, use a more precise term. If you do use legacy, include or point to a definition to clarify what you mean in the current context. Do not use legacy with any sort of pejorative connotation.
let's (as a contraction of let us)
Don't use if at all possible.
Not recommended: Let's click the OK button now.
lifecycle; not life cycle or life-cycle
lifetime; not life time or life-time
limits
In an API context, often refers to usage limits (number of queries allowed per second or per day). Where possible, best to specify the kind of limit you mean, using terms like usage limit or service limit; the word limit can refer to many different kinds of limits, including rules about acceptable use. See also quota.
lint
Write both command-line tool name and command in lowercase. Use code font except where inappropriate.
livestream; not live stream
lock screen
login (noun or adjective), log in (verb)
For the verb form, sign in is generally better, but if you're documenting a tool that uses the term log in, then use the term that the tool uses.
long press
Don't use. Instead, use touch & hold. (Not touch and hold.)

M

macOS
The operating system formerly known as OS X has been rebranded as macOS. If you're referring to a specific version of the Apple operating system, then use its official name at the time of its release (such as OS X 10.11); but if you're referring to the operating system in general, use macOS.
markup (noun), mark up (verb)
No hyphen. As a verb, it's two words.
Material Design
matrix
Use the plural matrixes unless there is a domain-specific reason (for example, a mathematical context) to use matrices.
may
In general, reserve for official policy or legal considerations. To convey possibility, use might instead. To convey permission, use can instead.
Mbps
Short for megabits per second. By convention, we don't use Mb/s.
media type
In most contexts, use media type instead of content type or MIME type.
meta*
See Closed compounds and prefixes.
metadata (no hyphen)
metafeed (no hyphen)
method
In programming contexts where method refers to a member of a class (as in Java), avoid also using the word generically to mean "approach" or "manner."
microservices
MIME type
MIME stands for "Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions," and thus refers specifically to email. In non-email contexts, use media type instead. If you feel that'll be ambiguous to an audience familiar with the term MIME, then you can write media (MIME) type for clarity.
ML
Okay to use as an abbreviation for "machine learning" after the first mention of that term.
mobile, mobile device, mobile phone
Use one of these terms instead of cell phone.
mobile data
Use instead of cellular data.
mobile network
Use instead of cellular network.
multi*
See Closed compounds and prefixes.
multi-cloud
Include hyphen. We generally prefer to close prefixed words, but this is an exception because it is an established term.
multi-cluster
Include hyphen. We generally prefer to close prefixed words, but this is an exception because it is an established term.
multi-region
Include hyphen. We generally prefer to close prefixed words, but this is an exception because it is an established term.

N

namespace; not name space
NAT
To turn into an adjective, use NAT-translated, or rephrase. Don't use NATted or NAT-ted.
neither
Say neither A nor B, not neither A or B.
network IP address
Don't use. Instead, use internal IP address.
non*
See Closed compounds and prefixes.
nonfatal; not non-fatal
non-key
An exception to our usual preference for closed forms.
notification drawer

O

OAuth 2.0; not OAuth 2 or OAuth2 or Oauth
OK or okay; not ok or Okay
omnibox
Don't use. Instead, use address bar.
once
If you mean after, then use after instead of once.
on-premises; not on prem or on premise
Use to refer to a customer's resources that they manage in their own facilities. Don't use peer. Hyphenate when used as any part of speech. It can be acceptable to use on-premises as a noun when it would be awkward to repeatedly write out a full phrase like "an on-premises environment." However, it's preferable to use the more complete phrase whenever possible.
Recommended: An on-premises database
Recommended: The database runs on-premises
OK: Moving data from on-premises to GCP
open source (no hyphen, not even as an adjective or verb)
option (in command-line context); not argument or flag or parameter
For exceptions to this rule, see command-line terminology
OS
Okay to use as a shortening of "operating system."
outpost
Don't use. Instead, use channel.
Recommended: social media channels
overview screen
Don't use. Instead, use recents screen.

P

PaaS
Write out on first mention: platform as a service (PaaS).
page
Preferred term when referring to a web page in general, and to a sub-page of a console in particular.
parameter
In our API documentation, parameter is usually short for query parameter; it's a name=value pair that's appended to a URL in an HTTP GET request. In some contexts, however, the term can have other meanings.
parent-child or parent/child; not parent – child or parent—child
path
Avoid using filepath, file path, pathname, or path name if possible.
PDF
Don't use a filename extension to refer to a type of file. For example, use PDF file rather than .pdf file. For details, see Referring to file types.
persist
Don't use as a transitive verb, and best to avoid using as a verb at all, especially in passive voice.
Not recommended: The token is persisted ...
Not recommended: To persist the token ...
OK: To make the token persist ...
Recommended: To make the token persistent ...
persistent disk; not PD
Lowercase except at the start of a sentence.
plain text (but plaintext in cryptography context)
please: see tone
plugin (noun), plug-in (adjective), plug in (verb)
PM
See AM, PM.
PNG
Don't use a filetype extension to refer to a type of file. For example, use PNG file rather than .png file. For details, see Referring to file types.
point to
Use to refer to the action of pointing the mouse pointer (focus). This action doesn't imply a length of time waiting for the UI to react to user action. This is similar to the action "hold the pointer over" (hover). In most cases, it's better to use the verb phrase "hold the pointer over" because we want the user to wait for the UI to react.
POJO
If you're not actually writing about a Plain Old Java Object for a Java audience, use simple object. It's acceptable to write "a simple object, similar to a POJO in Java" if that will help your audience.
populate
OK to use if you're writing about a process populating a table or other entity. If you're writing about a person, use fill in.
Not recommended: When you have finished populating the form ...
Recommended: When you have finished filling in the form ...
Recommended: The SQL command populates the table with sample data.
pre*
See Closed compounds and prefixes.
preceding
Recommended: ... in the preceding example ...
precondition; not pre-condition
predefined; not pre-defined
preemptible; not pre-emptible or pre-emptive
prerecorded; not pre-recorded
press
Use when referring to pressing a key or a key combination to cause an action to occur. Also use for mechanical buttons. Use tap for on-screen and soft (capacitive) buttons.
Recommended: Press Control+C (or Command+C on Mac).
project
In GCP documentation, don't use. Instead, use Google Cloud Platform project or GCP project.
property
In our API documentation, a property is an element in a resource. For example, a Task resource has properties like kind, id, and title.
pros
Don't use. Instead, use something else, such as advantages.

Q

quota
In API contexts, often refers to API usage limits. Where possible, best to use a more specific term than quota, such as usage limit; the word quota means many different things to many different people. But in some contexts, such as GCP documentation, the standard term is quota, so use that.

R

RDP
Don't use as a verb. Instead, use connect using RDP. Or, if it's clear from context that they're using RDP, then just use connect.
re*
See Closed compounds and prefixes.
real time (noun), real-time (adjective), Realtime (as part of product name)
Recommended: We report on system health in real time.
Recommended: We offer real-time reporting.
recents screen; not overview screen
regex
Don't use. Instead, use regular expression.
Representational State Transfer
Don't use. To people unfamiliar with REST, this acronym expansion is meaningless; better to just refer to it as REST and don't bother trying to explain what it theoretically stands for.
review
If you mean "read, potentially for the first time," then use read instead of review. Of course, if you mean "read critically, commenting on problems" (as in code review), then review is fine; the usage to avoid is phrasing like "If you've never heard of OAuth, then review the OAuth documentation."
RFC
When referencing an RFC specification, use a space between RFC and the number (for example, RFC 2318).
RTFM
Don't use. Instead, use something like "For more information, see...."
runbook; not run book
runtime; not run time

S

SaaS
Write out on first mention: software as a service (SaaS).
SAP
Pronounced as the individual letters S, A, P, so write an SAP system, not a SAP system.
screenshot (noun); not screen shot or screensnap
Don't use as a verb; instead, use take a screenshot.
Search Console
select
Use to describe choosing an item from among multiple options, selecting text, or marking a checkbox.
Not recommended: Check Automatically check for updates.
Recommended: Select Automatically check for updates.
service
It's OK to refer to Google products as services, such as Google Kubernetes Engine or Compute Engine. However, if the term services lead to ambiguity, use the product names.
setup (noun or adjective), set up (verb)
SHA-1
Not SHA1, except in string literals/enums and in hyphenated phrases such as HSA-SHA1.
should, should be
Generally avoid.
In most cases, should is ambiguous. Clarify what you mean. Exactly how to do so depends on the context, but often involves clarifying what action a user must take or what process is responsible for an action, or including instructions on what to do if whatever is being discussed isn't as expected.
For example, when telling the reader what to do, should implies the action is recommended but optional, which leaves the reader unsure of what to do. Instead, consider using must, or rephrase the sentence so that it is a clear imperative instruction such as "Do the following before you continue."
For another example, when describing the state of something such as the value of a variable, avoid writing "The value should be true." Instead, clarify whether this means "You must set the value to true", "The server sets the value to true", or "If the value is false, follow these steps to change it to true."
For more about clarifying "who does what," see the article on Active voice.
For another example, when telling the reader what "should" happen, such as "The process should return ten items," clarify whether this means "The process returns ten items" or "The process generally returns ten items but may return nine if...," or "the process returns ten items. If it doesn't, do the following..." Also provide instructions on what to do if what's expected doesn't happen.
Not recommended: The Classroom Share Button should conform to our min-max size guidelines and related color/button templates.
Recommended: Ensure that the Classroom Share Button conforms to our min-max size guidelines and related color/button templates.
Not recommended: The column of the data table that the filter should operate on.
Recommended: The column of the data table that the filter operates on.
Not recommended: Whether it's a brand new project or an existing one, here's what you should do.
Recommended: Whether it's a brand new project or an existing one, perform the following steps.
sign-in (noun or adjective), sign in (verb); not log in or signin
sign into
Don't use. Instead, use sign in to.
sign-on, sign on
Don't use either form on its own. Use the hyphenated version as part of single sign-on.
sign-out (noun or adjective), sign out (verb); not log out or signout
simple
since
If you mean because, then use because instead of since. Since is ambiguous; it can refer to the passage of time. Because refers to causation or the reason for something.
single most; not singlemost
single sign-on (noun or adjective)
slave (master / slave)
Avoid the word slave. Instead, use alternative terms appropriate to your domain. Some possible options include: master/{drone, worker, replica, minion, servant}; primary/{secondary, replicated}. If the command or code you're documenting uses the literal word slave, then make clear what you're referring to. For example, "Invoke the secondary (slave) process directly when debugging issues between the primary and secondary processes."
smartphone
Don't use. Instead, use mobile phone or phone.
spin up
As in "spin up an instance". Avoid using spin up unless you're referring to a hard disk; instead, use a less colloquial term like create or start.
ssh and SSH
To refer to the terminal tool ssh (used for creating a secure terminal connection), use lowercase, both for noun and verb: "use ssh to connect to your remote shell" or "Then ssh into your remote shell."
SSH (uppercase) can refer more generally to a secure communications protocol, such as for running commands in a remote shell environment over secure connections, for tunneling, or for port forwarding.
ssh'ing
Use alternatives to ssh'ing unless there is just no way around it.
Recommended: ... connect/connecting using SSH.
Recommended: ... use/using SSH to connect/forward/tunnel/log in.
startup (noun or adjective), start up (verb)
static external IP address; not static IP address or external IP address to refer to static external IPs.
status bar
STONITH, STOMITH
Avoid. See avoid graphically violent terms. This acronym's letters stand for an extremely graphic and violent act.
style sheet; not stylesheet
This is the official spelling, per the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).
subclass; not sub-class; noun or verb
sub-command; not subcommand
sub-element
subnet
OK to use as a shortening of subnetwork. However, be consistent in using one or the other in a single document. For more information, see Subnets vs. subnetworks.
subtree; not sub-tree
surface
Avoid as a transitive verb; use a more specific term, like "to make people aware of" or "to expose."
Not recommended: In order to surface audit logs, you must configure the monitoring system.
Recommended: In order to make the audit logs available, you must configure the monitoring system.
sync (noun, verb); not synch
Recommended: in sync
Recommended: sync, syncing, synced

T

tab
When referring to the sub-pages of a console, use page instead of tab.
table name
Two words. Set specific table names in code font.
tablet
Tablet is OK. If you don't know whether it's a tablet or a phone, use device.
tap
Use for on-screen and soft (capacitive) buttons. Use instead of "click" when the environment is definitely a touch device. For mechanical buttons, use press.
Use instead of touch. However, touch & hold (not touch and hold) is OK to use.
"tap & hold" or "tap and hold"
Don't use. Instead, use touch & hold. (Not touch and hold.)
tarball
Don't use. Instead, use tar file.
tar file
Don't use a filename extension to refer to a type of file. For example, use tar file rather than .tar file. For details, see Referring to file types.
target
Avoid using as a verb when possible, especially in reference to people. For some readers, has aggressive connotations. Instead of "targeting" audiences, we try to attract them or appeal to them or make their lives easier. (Using it as an adjective, as in "target audience," is probably fine.) Alternatives include terms such as intended for, looking for, focused on, and interacting with.
terminate
Avoid. Instead, use words like stop, exit, cancel, or end. For exceptions to this rule, see command-line terminology.
textbox
In GCP documentation, don't use. Instead, use field. For example: "In the Instance field, specify a value less than 64 characters long."
their (singular)
they (singular)
This is our preferred gender-neutral pronoun. Whether used as singular or plural, it always takes the plural verb. For example, "A user authenticates that they are who they say they are by entering their password." See also gender-neutral he.
this, that
Where possible, put a noun after this or that for clarity. If doing so results in clunky prose, then don't do it; but even then, try thinking about what the noun would be. If you aren't sure what noun this or that refers to, then consider rephrasing.
timeframe; not time frame
Avoid where possible, or use an alternative such as period, schedule, deadline, or when. But if you do use it, then write it without a space in the middle.
timeout (noun), time out (verb)
timestamp; not time stamp
time zone (noun), time-zone (adjective)
tl;dr:
Don't use. Instead, use something like "To summarize," or revise the sentence.
touch
Don't use. Instead, use tap. However, touch & hold is OK to use.
"touch & hold"; not touch and hold
touchscreen; not touch screen
traditional
If possible, use a more precise term.
Not recommended: Traditionally, Python function names are lowercase, with words separated by underscores.
Recommended: Conventionally, Python function names are lowercase, with words separated by underscores.
Not recommended: This tutorial explains how to migrate from a traditional data warehouse to BigQuery.
Recommended: This tutorial explains how to migrate from an on-premises data warehouse to BigQuery.
transpile; not transcompile
turn on
Don't use in procedural instruction. Instead, use enable.
When the sentence is not a procedural instruction, use phrases like "turn on" and "turn off" instead of "enable" and "disable." It's also okay to use "toggle" for a control that switches back and forth between on and off states.
Recommended: To turn on Magic Mode, follow these steps.
Recommended: You can toggle Magic Mode in the Settings window.
trojan
Lowercase when referring to malware.
type
Okay to use. See enter.
typically
Use to describe what is usual or expected under normal circumstances. Don't use as the first word in a sentence, as doing so can leave the meaning open to misinterpretation.

U

uncheck
Don't use to refer to clearing a check mark from a checkbox. Instead, use clear.
Not recommended: Uncheck Automatically check for updates.
Not recommended: Deselect Automatically check for updates.
Recommended: Clear Automatically check for updates.
Unix-like
unselect
Don't use. Instead, use clear for checkboxes, and deselect for other UI elements.
URL
All caps. Plural is URLs.
Write a URL rather than an URL, because the most common pronunciation starts with a consonant sound. For more information, see a and an.
For information about how to style URLs, see the Code in text page.
user base; not userbase
username; not user name

V

v (abbreviating version)
Use lowercase.
via
Don't use.
virtual machine instance
Use when first introducing virtual machines on a given page. For subsequent instances, you can use VM instance or instance.
voila
Don't use.
vs.
Don't use vs. as an abbreviation for versus; instead, use the unabbreviated versus.

W

wake lock (noun), wake-lock (adjective)
walkthrough; not walk-through
web (lowercase)
web page; not webpage
But where possible, avoid both by using page.
website (lowercase w); not web site
whether
whitelist (blacklist / whitelist)
See blacklist.
whitespace; not white space
Wi-Fi; not wifi or WiFi
When possible, instead use wireless.
wildcard; not wild card
wish
Don't use. Instead, use a word like want or need.
with
Don't use with when expressing ownership:
Not recommended: A handset with 2 GB of RAM.
Recommended: A handset that has 2 GB of RAM.
Don't use with when expressing use:
Not recommended: Debug this tool with the debugging tool.
Recommended: Use the debugging tool to debug.
World Wide Web
Don't use. Instead, use web.

Y

YAML
Don't use a filename extension to refer to a type of file. For example, use YAML file rather than .yaml file. For details, see Referring to file types.
ymmv
Don't use. Instead, use something like "Your results may vary."

Z

zip
Don't use a filename extension to refer to a type of file. For example, use zip file rather than .zip file. For details, see Referring to file types
zippy
Don't use to refer to expander arrows, unless you're specifically referring to the Zippy widget in Closure.

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Google Developer Documentation Style Guide
Google Developer Documentation Style Guide