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Web Style Guide

The Pima Community College (PCC) Web Style Guide is a set of guidelines for the writing and formatting of content for all of PCC’s digital publications, including websites, social media and newsletters.

Our style guide sets and enforces style guidelines to improve the consistency and effectiveness of our content. 

Contact the Websystems team at websystems@pima.edu for more information on how to implement web style guidelines.

Associated Press Stylebook (AP) Style

For all content, PCC uses the AP Style Guide  Please review AP Style for overall guidelines and expectations. 

Pima-Specific Style Guidelines

Tone 

Our tone is friendly, accessible and concise. Refer to our web writing guide for tips on developing a consistent and accessible tone. 

Capitalization

There are two main ways to capitalize headings, page titles and names: title case and sentence case

Title Case

In title case, all words should be capitalized, except prepositions that are less than three words and articles.

Use title case to format the following content:

  • Academic program and department names
    • Example: Automated Industrial Technology
    • Example: Office of Dispute Resolution
  • Buttons
    • Example: Learn More
  • Calls-to-action
    • Example: Apply Now
  • Event names
    • Example: New Student Orientation
  • Form field titles and drop down options
    • Example: First Name
  • Table headings
    • Example: Registration Date
  • Page and heading titles, including H1, H2, H3 and H4 headings
  • Page title in both the main and left navigation menus

Sentence Case

In sentence case, only the first word of the phrase and proper nouns are capitalized.

Use sentence case to format the following content:
  • Body text
  • Bulleted list items
  • Hyperlinks

Contact Information

Phone

Use dashes to separate the numerals of a phone number

  • Example: XXX-XXX-XXXX.

Email

Only capitalize letters if they are capitalized in the email address. Otherwise, all letters should be lowercase, even the first letter. Example: websystems@pima.edu.

Format an email address as a hyperlink in webtext. 

Address

For all Pima addresses, you only need to include the building address and street name. 

For all other addresses, include the address number and street name on the same line. On the following line, include the city, state and ZIP code with a comma after the city name.

Write out street, drive, way, etc. 

Abbreviate cardinal directions with their first letter, capitalized: N, S, W, E  

Numbers

Spell out numbers one through nine. For numbers 10 and above, use the numerical form.

  • Examples:
    • Two
    • Nine
    • 11
    • 250 

Use the percent symbol after any number expressed as a numeral. For example: 12%. In APA style, numbers greater than 9 are expressed as numerals and use the percent symbol. For numbers less than 9, write out the number and the percent. Example: nine percent.

Write out “first,” “second,” “third,” etc. instead of using 1st, 2nd, 3rd. 

There are some exceptions to spelling out numbers below 10:

  • For people’s ages, always use the numerical form, even if for ages younger than 10. 
  • For times, dates and addresses, always use the numerical form.

Time

Use the numeral (e.g. 1, 2, 3, etc.) and "p.m." or "a.m." with a space after the number.

  • Example: 7 a.m.

To show a time range, use a dash (-) in between the beginning and ending time.

  • Example: 8 a.m.-1 p.m.

Months

Write out the full name of the month, unless in a button, call-to-action or table. Abbreviate the names of months to the first three letters.

In all abbreviations, include a period at the end of the month abbreviation before the day.

  • Example: Oct. 7. 

Day of the Week

Write out the full name of the day or abbreviate to the first three letters followed by a period.
  • Example: Mon., Tue., Wed., etc. 

When listing dates, do not include the th, nd, st, or rd after the day, only the number.

Do not include a comma in between the month and day. Only include a comma in between the day and the year when the date is written out in full.
  • Example: July 7, 2021. 

 


A to Z Glossary

This section includes guidelines for formatting commonly used words and phrases. 

Abbreviations: spell out all words that can be abbreviated when possible to avoid confusion.

Do not abbreviate titles before a person’s name, except Mr., Ms., Mrs., Mx. and Dr.

Do not use periods after abbreviated degree designations. Example: AA for associate of arts degree. 

Academic degrees: either say "associate of arts" or “bachelor of arts” (no apostrophes), or “associate degree” or “bachelor’s degree” (not “associate’s of arts” or “bachelor’s of arts”). Associate degree has no apostrophe or "s." 

When the degree mentioned is specific: Associate of Applied Science, both the degree and the field are capitalized.

If the word "degree" is used, then it is not capitalized: associate of arts degree.

Academic majors: when used with the general word "degree," lowercase all majors except those that are proper nouns, like a language (German, French, English, Spanish). Example: She has a welding degree. If the major is with a specific degree award, it is capitalized. Example: Associate of Science in Nursing. 

If you are referring to a specific academic program, see Programs. 

Academic terms: Capitalize when referring to a specific term: Fall 2021. Do not capitalize when referring to the season in a generic way: Our program has a larger enrollment in the spring term. Do not capitalize “semester,” “term,” or “academic year.”

Academic year: Use a dash to refer to an academic calendar year: 2020–21

Acronyms: In general, use acronyms sparingly. Think of them as an option, not a common practice. When you use an acronym, the first use of the noun is spelled out: Career and Technical Education. 

In the following mention, the acronym follows the full phrase in parentheses: Career and Technical Education (CTE). After that, the acronym, CTE, can be used consistently in place of the words Career and Technical Education throughout the text.

Never use an acronym on first reference. Even common acronyms, like Pima Community College (PCC). 

Alumnus, alumni or alum:

  • Alumnus: a graduate or former student of a specific school or college
  • Alumni: plural for alumnus
  • Alum: the shortened, informal version of an alumnus or an alumna. Preferred.

 a.m., p.m.: Always lowercase with periods and a space after the number.

Ampersand: Only use as part of a proper department, program or navigation tab name. Otherwise, write out “and.”

Arizona: Lowercase “state of” except when it is part of the official name of a government agency, like the State of Arizona Justice Department. Do not abbreviate "Arizona" in the main body of the text. Arizona state refers to the state of Arizona. Arizona State refers to Arizona State University.

Awards: Capitalize all award titles. Example: Student of the Year Award.

Basic skills: Not capitalized unless part of a proper noun or formal program title. Example: You will improve your basic skills in world languages.

Board, board of directors, board of trustees: Only capitalize when a part of a proper name. For example: The Pima Community College Board of Directors meeting will be today. Otherwise, use lowercase. Example: The board of directors approved the meeting notes. Also: It’s Governing Board, not Board of Governors.

Certificates: Capitalize specific certificate program names: Carolina received her Welding Certificate.

Don’t capitalize certificate when using it in a general way: John will graduate with his certificate. 

Chancellor/vice chancellor/dean: In the body text, capitalize academic titles, including chancellor, only when they precede someone’s name: Chancellor Lee Lambert. Lowercase titles when used alone or when following names: Lee Lambert, chancellor. Or: The chancellor gave a speech today.

Dates: No comma after the year in a date in text. September 1, 2008 is reserved for your event. It is preferred to use the year after the date.

Departments: See Programs.

Email: No hyphen and lowercase when used in a sentence.

FAQs: Plural with no apostrophe. 

Full-time vs. full time; part-time vs. part time: Hyphenate only when used as an adjective preceding a noun. Example: Genesis is a full-time instructor. Otherwise: Anna works part time. 

Italic type: Italicize titles of publications, movie titles, works of art, foreign language phrases, legal case names or sparingly, for emphasis.

Noncredit vs. non-credit, forcredit vs. for-credit: Noncredit should be spelled as one word with no hyphen. For-credit should be spelled with the hyphen. 

Pima Community College: Pima Community College is always capitalized. You can shorten Pima Community College to the following abbreviations:

  • Pima
  • the College. Capitalize “College” when used with “the.” Do not capitalize “the” unless at the start of a sentence.
  • PCC. When using the acronym “PCC” for the first time in a text, write out Pima Community College in full and include PCC in parentheses after (i.e. Pima Community College (PCC)). 

Programs: Always capitalize a specific program or department. Always spell out the full program name first, then use acronyms in parentheses for each reference after that: English as a Second Language (ESL). Use the ampersand (&) to represent “and” in a program or department name. Example: Arts & Humanities. Do not capitalize the word “program” or “department” after the title. Example: Aviation Technology program. 

Room: Only capitalize when referencing a specific room number: English will be held in Room F. Lowercase in all other references.

Staff: Use a plural verb with staff. Example: Pima staff are preparing for the event. Don’t capitalize staff in general text.

Technology: Below is a list of how to format commonly used computer and Internet terms, acronyms and software programs:

  • Banner
  • D2L
  • MyPima
  • User ID
  • Password

Veterans services: No apostrophe used.

Wailtlist: Written as one word. 

Workforce: written as one word with no hyphen.

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