Writing numbers

Write all numbers 10 and over as numerals, up to 999,999.

Write numbers zero to nine as words unless they are technical or precise, such as dates, figure or table titles, or relate directly to the statistics being presented.

On the one hand…
This is the most effective of the two measures…
7 March 2017
Figure 1

Where a range crosses the 10 boundary, use numerals.

9 to 12 respondents, not nine to 12 respondents

Write out rankings first to ninth, then use numerals. Do not use superscript for “st”, “nd”, “rd” and “th”.


A sequence of numbers should use the same format for both, which should follow the higher number.

6th out of 12

Do not use abbreviations of “numbers”, such as “no” or “nos”. They can be read incorrectly.

Use commas after every three decimal places in numbers of four digits or more, and never spaces. Years should have no punctuation.


Avoid writing sets of numbers together.

In 1961 just over 2,500 births were recorded


In 1961 2,543 births were recorded

Use a 0 where there is no digit before the decimal point in a number.


Do not start a sentence with a numeral. Rearrange the sentence accordingly.

The number of people who drive a car is 52.4 million


52.4 million people drive a car

Do not use a hyphen to indicate a range of numbers, separate with “to”.

Around 15 to 20 people attended the event.

Number rounding

Rounding numbers can make them easier to read and compare, although this must be balanced against the loss of precision.

The level of rounding you use (for example, one decimal place or two significant figures) should be effective, and chosen according to the intended use. It should also be consistent throughout your piece of writing.

For more detail about intended users, go to Number rounding in the Data visualisation section.

For more information about presenting tables and graphs (including rounding on page 7), see the Government Statistical Service’s Good Practice Team guidance.

Generalised numbers

Write out generalised numbers.

hundreds of years
in their thousands
per thousand women

Millions and billions

Write out and use lower case.

2.5 million
148 billion

Do not use “0.xx million” for numbers less than 1 million, unless part of a sequence of numbers

Page numbers

Use the fewest digits possible while remaining clear. Separate them with “to”.

1 to 4
10 to 18
132 to 148<

Plus and minus

In text, when referring to positive and negative numbers, write out “positive” and “negative” in

positive 7
negative 3

In a dataset, use the symbols with no space between them and the number.



Write out and hyphenate fractions.


Avoid using too many fractions as it can be difficult to compare several together.

Also avoid using large denominators.


Write out decimal fractions as numerals. Use the same number format for a sequence of fractions and decimals.

0.75 and 0.45


Use the symbol with no space between it and the number.


Always write “percentage” and never %age.

Use the same number of decimal places for a sequence of decimal numbers.

6.25% and 7.60%

A percentage point is the difference between percentages. A value of 10% falling by 1 percentage point becomes 9% (10% has 10 percentage points). A fall of 1% would result in a value of 9.9%


Use the format “[Date] [Month] [Year]” (depending on what information you have) written out with no commas. If the day of the week is relevant, then put it before the date. No “st”, “nd”, “rd” and “th”.

12 March 2014
Monday 3 March 2014

Write out months in full. If space is limited (such as in a table) use the shortened version with no punctuation, but not for June and July. Do not use shortened versions of months in titles.

Retail sales in Great Britain: September 2017

Date spans

Use the format “[date] to [date]”. If using months, repeat the year after each month if the period spans years.

2009 to 2010
July to September 2014
July 2013 to September 2014

For a period between two dates, use the format “between [date] and [date]”.

between 1986 and 2014
between July and September 2014


Decades should only have an apostrophe when they are a possessive, not a contraction.

a 1960s’ child
the 1960s were great


Use ordinal numbers.

21st century


Define the quarter, the months covered, and the year. Explain which months are included in the quarter in the first instance of each section, and only include the quarter and year in every subsequent instance. Abbreviate the months to three or four characters. In titles write the months in full and avoid using quarters.

Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2019
Quarter 2 (Apr to June) 2019
Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2019
Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec) 2019
The value of goods imported narrowed in Quarter 2 (Apr to June) 2019. Within imports of goods, the largest decreases recorded in Quarter 2 2019 were…

Financial years

For financial years, write the period out in full the first time you use it in each section, followed by the abbreviation FYE for “financial year ending” in brackets. After that, use the abbreviation. This will need to be written out in full again the first instance in each section of your article or page.

financial year ending (FYE) 2011
FYE 2011


Do not use the 24-hour clock. Do not insert spaces between the number and the letters, and do not use any punctuation except as shown.


Use the same number format for time spans.

8:00am to 5:30pm
1pm to 3pm


Use the format “aged [age] years”

aged nine years

Use the format “aged [age] to [age] years”.

aged 10 to 11 years

Include the months or weeks for ages under a year.

aged nine weeks

If you refer to ages as “[age]-year-old”, include the hyphens.

16- to 24-year-old men

Write decades as an age as numerals.

women in their 40s

Limits for age restrictions should use “aged [age] years and over” or “aged under [age] years”. Do not use the plus sign.

aged 75 years and over

aged under 18 years


Use the major currency unit before the amount. Do not use decimals unless using smaller units.


In a sequence of numbers, use the same number of decimal places, even if every number does not have a smaller unit.

£10.43 rising to £12.00.

Don’t use “0.xx million” for amounts less than 1 million, unless in a sequence of numbers.

£3.5 million, £6.5 million and £0.9 million

Write out the smaller unit in full.

15 pence

Currency should use lower case.

The euro is stronger than the pound.

Write out currency as “British pounds”, or “American dollars”.

Measurements and units

Use metric units of measurement, except in specific cases where imperial units are still used as standard.

feet and inches
pints (for beer, cider and milk)
acres (for land registration)

Write out measurements at first mention, then abbreviate. If it is only mentioned once, do not abbreviate.

12 kilometres per hour (kph)

Abbreviations should not have full stops and are always singular. Use a space between the number and the abbreviation, except with one-letter abbreviations.

Write out “miles” and “metres” in full.

12 kph
10 miles

We are constantly improving based on research and best practice. Any significant changes to our guidance are available on the Updates page.