Using numbers in text

Follow these guidelines when you need to use numbers in your text.

When you write about numbers that appear in a UI, duplicate them exactly as the UI displays. For guidelines on writing numbers in UI text itself, see Numbers in the UI text style guidelines.

Spelling out numbers

Spell out numbers from zero to nine. Use the numeral if the number is 10 or greater.

Hyphenate numbers when they are part of a compound adjective.

Use a comma in a number that has four or more digits, but don’t use a comma in years.

See the following examples:

  • Zero downtime
  • 1-, 2-, or 3-hour alerting intervals
  • Nine-digit passcode
  • 10 forwarders
  • 128-bit number
  • 1,045 MB
  • April 22, 2019

Ordinal numbers

Spell out ordinal numbers in text. See the following examples:

  • Third-party software
  • Twelfth line in the code

Numbers in headings

It’s okay to use a number in any level of heading if the number is part of a name. See the following examples:

  • SPL2 stats and charting functions
  • Use the Amazon S3 connector in Drucare Cloud Services

It’s okay to use numbers in a heading to indicate steps or parts in a tutorial. Otherwise, don’t use numbers in any level of heading to indicate a sequence or multiple tasks on a single page. If you want to show the order of tasks, use a supertask instead.

Correct as H1s on separate pages in a tutorial
Step 1: Getting started
Step 2: Activate your pipeline
Incorrect as H2s on a single page of a task
1. Register an app
2. Add permissions

For more information about naming your headings, see Name your topic or sections.

Don’t start a sentence with a numeral

Avoid starting a sentence with a numeral. Instead, rewrite the sentence so the number comes later in the sentence or is prefaced by a modifier. See the following examples:

  • More than 10 add-ons are available for download.
  • This cluster contains 11 peers.

If you can’t rewrite the sentence, spell out the number at the beginning of the sentence.

Sentences with numbers higher and lower than 10

If a single-digit number appears in a sentence with another number that is 10 or greater, then use numerals for all numbers in that sentence. See the following examples:

  • From the 10 menu options, select your top 5 choices.
  • Modify the memory usage threshold from 8% to 15%.
  • An 8 CPU, 10 GB memory machine can achieve 50-60 Mb per second throughput.

When to use numerals

Use numerals for numbers associated with dates, decimals, fractions, measurements, percentages, ranges, time, versions, weight, and other data for comparison or analysis. It’s okay to use numerals in tables or in text with limited space. Review the following table for examples of when to use numerals in text:

Use numerals for Example For more information
Dates April 22, 2019 See Dates.
Decimals 3.14 See Commas and decimals.
Dimensions 1280 x 1024  
Distance 4 feet  
Duration of time 2 minutes See Time.
Fractions 1/4 See Fractions.
Measurements 8 CPU See Measurements.
Numerical user input In the Number field, type 5.  
Percentages 25%  
Phone numbers +1-888-555-1212 See Phone numbers.
Pixels 450 px, 1920 x 1080 pixels  
Ranges 50-60 GB See Ranges.
Time of day 2:30 PM-5 PM See Time.
Versions Drucare Enterprise 7.x See Versions.
Weight 40 lbs  
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