Website Writing Guide

Web writing and presentation style


Acronyms and abbreviations are useful for reducing the words on a page and avoiding any possible distraction due to the repetition of a title or name.

It is best to avoid using them unless you can be certain that the intended audiences are very familiar with them.

Rules for using acronyms

  • Always seek alternative ways of writing a sentence to avoid using an acronym.
  • If the full title or name is only two words, do not use the acronym.
  • If an acronym must be used, spell it out in full at its first occurrence and display the acronym in brackets immediately after. This must be done on every page it appears because you can't assume the user has seen its explanation elsewhere.
  • Do not use an acronym more than four times on any Web page. Judge whether a page contains too many acronyms and if so find ways to avoid them.
    Solutions: split the content over other pages, find alternative ways of expressing it or use the full title or name.
  • Do not provide an acronym in brackets after the first occurrence of a proper noun if the acronym is not then used on that Web page. Readers may scan the page for other occurrences of the acronym when they first see it and think they are missing something if it is not used elsewhere.


These rules do not apply to acronyms that are widely understood by the intended audiences. For example: UN, TAFE, ATM and GST.


Other topics in this section

Guide Home | Write directly and succinctly | Paragraph and sentence styles | Heading hierarchy |
Web page navigation
| Scrolling and page length | Making content accessible |
Presenting instructions | Writing for Google | Capitals in headings | Hyperlinking styles |
| Brackets | PDFs |


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