Abbreviations

Use abbreviations and acronyms for organisations and terms that appear frequently. Only use them where they are helpful. Never use full stops or italics.

Write the name or term out in full the first time you use it, followed by the abbreviation in brackets. After that, use the abbreviation. Acronyms need to be written out in full again the first instance in each section of your article or page.

The Labour Force Survey (LFS) is a continuous survey. Users of the LFS…

Exception

In text, use UK Statistics Authority the first time and then The Authority. Never use UKSA, as this is the registered trademark of the UK Shareholders Alliance.
You should repeat the full term if you need to refresh the reader’s memory, for example at the beginning of chapters. Be aware that, on GOV.UK, if a user hovers their mouse over an acronym the full term is shown.

Commonly known abbreviations

Where something is commonly known by its abbreviation, only use the abbreviation.

UK
EU
US
BBC
IT
NHS
G7
G20

Capitalisation

Abbreviations and acronyms generally use capitals (BBC, NATO), even when the subject may be lower case (initial teacher training = ITT). Sometimes they can be a mixture of upper and lower case (VoIP, DfE). This usually occurs in brand names like PowerPoint, PlayStation, iPhone.

Cross references

If you are referring to something in the same document, use upper case:

this is mentioned in Chapter 2
see Table 3
Figure 4 shows this

Pages should always be lower case:

page 37
pages 346 to 358

In references, always use lower case:

Example for references and indexes

ch 2
table 3
fig 4
p 37
pp 346 to 358<

Make sure that:

  • there is a space between “pp” and the figure
  • there are no full stops after any abbreviations

Foreign abbreviations

Never italicise these. The following list shows the only foreign abbreviations that should be used.

ad hoc

This means “for this special purpose”. It is never hyphenated, even when used as a compound adjective.

ad hoc request

eg

Exempli gratia means “for example”. Use this expression only in tables, where space is limited, and in internal correspondence.

etc

A contraction of “et cetera” which means “and other things”.

ie

This means “that is”. Only use this in tables, where space is limited, and in internal correspondence.

NB

Don’t use this, write ‘Note:’ instead.