This section is included as a reminder of issues that tend to cause confusion. It includes ASU exceptions to AP style.
- Bold: Use sparingly in copy.
- In limited amounts, boldface can help readers quickly scan long format copy for key information.
- Bulleted lists: See Lists.
- Underline: Only use to indicate a link. See Links and URLs below.
- Italics: Do not use.
- Italics create readability issues for readers with visual difficulties, dyslexia or migraine disorders.
- Superscript: Avoid using superscript letters, such as with numerals and ordinals, because this treatment may not always display correctly. Use the same size type as the numeral:
- ✅ Do: 21st century, 🚫 Don't: 21st century.
- ✅ Do: 10th floor, 🚫 Don't: 10th floor.
Exception: Trademark symbols are always superscript in text (e.g., Sun Devil® Athletics, Go Devils™).
Note: Superscript ordinals are the default in Microsoft Word. Learn how to disable this default option.
See Numerals for guidelines when using ordinals.
- See Titles for composition and publication formatting standards.
- See Fonts and typography for body copy styling tips.
- In text, all lowercase: email@example.com
- Email programs do not distinguish between uppercase and lowercase, so there is no need to confuse the reader with them.
- Avoid splitting email addresses between two lines.
- Do not capitalize or hyphenate the word email. See Word list.
- Use the standardized ASU email signature in your correspondence, maintaining its professional appearance by not personalizing or altering it.
- Out of courtesy to your readers, don't add graphics to your signature, as these appear to smartphone users as attachments that must be downloaded.
- Use ASU's official signature generator.
- All expressions of headlines should be in sentence case — the first letter is capitalized, as are all proper names and nouns. Exception: The first word after a colon is always uppercase in headlines:
- ✅ Do: ASU journalism programs hailed by New York Times
- ✅ Do: Beta blockers may halt cancer
- ✅ Do: BT suffers broadband failure: Small businesses are affected the most
- Use figures for all numbers, including those less than 10:
- ✅ Do: 9 ASU students win competitive scholarship
- 🚫 Don't: Nine ASU students win competitive scholarship
- Do not use punctuation, even at the end of a sentence, unless needed for clarity.
- If quotation marks are needed, use single quote marks.
- ✅ Do: Is texting the language of the future? ASU linguists say ‘yes’
- Do not use periods in abbreviations unless needed for clarity.
- ✅ Do: Wall St protests gain steam
- ✅ Do: ASU is the most innovative university in the US
See Fonts and typography for headline styling tips.
Links and URLs
Whether in copy or a link on a webpage, in a presentation, in a Word or Google document or in print, links and URLs should be ASU Maroon and underlined.
- All lowercase in text — URLs are not case-sensitive.
- Do not include https:// and www
- ✅ Do: asu.edu
- 🚫 Don't: https://www.asu.edu
- 🚫 Don't: www.asu.edu
- 🚫 Don't: asu.edu/
- 🚫 Don't: https://asu.edu
Exception: Web addresses in the ASU Academic Catalog must include prefixes.
- If a URL is long or complicated enough to be confusing, consider creating an alias shorter than the full URL.
- If a web address requires two lines, make the split after a symbol.
- If a URL ends a sentence, use a period but do not hyperlink the period.
- Do not use the words, “here,” “go” or “click” in links to digital applications. Use descriptive keywords in links, which support a better user experience and benefit SEO.
- ✅ Do: Learn more about ASU web standards.
- ✅ Do: The Web Standards 2.0 project prioritized user needs based on qualitative and quantitative behavioral data.
- ✅ Do: Read more about President Crow and his vision for the New American University.
- 🚫 Don't: Go here to learn more.
- 🚫 Don't: To learn more about web standards, click here.
- 🚫 Don't: Find more details on this page.
- 🚫 Don't: Read more on news.asu.edu. (Appropriate for print but not digital use.)
- Use complete sentences that explain the activity or subject.
- Supply information the picture cannot.
- ✅ Do: The basketball player’s free-throw shot pictured was for the game’s winning point.
- 🚫 Don't: ASU basketball player.
- Do not include the word hashtag or account.
- ✅ Do: Use #FutureSunDevils, 🚫 Don't: Use hashtag #FutureSunDevils
- ✅ Do: Follow FutureSunDevils on Twitter, 🚫 Don't: Follow our Twitter account @FutureSunDevils
- Do not include symbols for accounts, they’re not necessary.
- ✅ Do: Facebook page: FutureSunDevils, 🚫 Don't: Facebook page: /FutureSunDevils
- ✅ Do: Twitter account: FutureSunDevils, 🚫 Don't: Twitter account: @FutureSunDevils
- ✅ Do: Instagram account: FutureSunDevils, 🚫 Don't: Instagram account: @FutureSunDevils
See Times, days, months, seasons, years.
Web links and addresses
See Links and URLs above.