Date/​Time, Numbers and Addresses

Dates should be formatted as day, month, year” if the audience is inter­na­tion­al, or month, day, year” if you’ll only have U.S. readers.

  • Don’t include st,” nd,” rd” or th.” Simply put, it’s July 1,” not July 1st.” (Pro tip: numbers written like 1st” are called ordinal numbers. They’re generally a no-no.)
  • You don’t need a comma when writing just a month and year (July 2020). If you include a day, be sure to set off the year with a comma (July 1, 2020). Don’t include commas for our inter­na­tion­al date format (1 July 2020).
  • Abbreviate January, February, August, September, October, November and December when writing a specific date (Nov. 1, 2020). When you aren’t indicating a specific date, write out the full month (November 2020).
  • If you’re really pressed for space, you can abbreviate days of the week and months to three letters. End abbre­vi­a­tions with a period, except for when you’re writing within the product.
  • Always use numerals for years; never spell them out.
  • When expressing decades or centuries, add the letter s” without an apostrophe. Only use an apostrophe before figures for decades when numerals are left out (e.g., the 90s).

Dates can vary for inter­na­tion­al audiences — see more about inter­na­tion­al­iza­tion.

September 28th, 2020

Don’t use ordinal numbers in dates.

7 January 2020

Do format dates as day, month, year for international audiences.

Most of the AP Style rules still apply here, but with less space, it’s more likely you’ll have to abbreviate days and months.

  • Use three-letter abbre­vi­a­tions with no periods (every pixel counts!).
  • Even if space is tight, never shorten the year. It could get confused with the actual day.
  • Even though numbers-only formats for dates are shorter, avoid them. There could be confusion when local­iza­tion rearranges the order. Plus, placeholder zeroes get tricky.

Oct. 6, ‘20

In product copy, don’t shorten years or use abbreviations with periods.

Oct 6, 2020

In product copy, do abbreviate months without periods.

To be as clear as possible about the time you mean, follow these rules:

  • Use lowercase letters and periods to dif­fer­en­ti­ate between a.m. and p.m. times.
  • Don’t include colons for times on the hour.
  • Avoid yesterday” or tomorrow.” Use the specific day of the week instead.

Time formatting can change for inter­na­tion­al audiences — check out our inter­na­tion­al­iza­tion guidelines.

3:00pm

Don’t use colons for exact hour times.

3 p.m.

Do differentiate times with a.m. and p.m.

The training is 11-2.

Don't hyphenate timeframes or leave off clarifying details.

The training is 11 a.m.–2 p.m.

Do clarify time of day and use an en dash in your timeframes.

Only include the time zone when the time pertains to a specific location or event that might not be local. Don’t include S(tandard) or D(aylight) in the time zone — it’s easy to get the two confused over the course of a year, so better to leave it out.

For the sake of space when expressing time, drop the periods in a.m. and p.m and eliminate the space after the last digit, but make sure you still always include am or pm. Also, don’t use a 24-hour format — this will help distinguish the time of day from something like the duration of a video.

Oct 25, 7:30 p.m.

In product copy, don’t include periods and for am and pm.

Oct 25, 7:30pm

In product copy, do use am and pm in every instance.

For items that have a longer life span within the product, like feed cards and exchanges, it’s important to clearly communicate when something was created or shared. Each timestamp should be exact — don’t include about” before them.

  • New within the hour, use ago”: 13 minutes ago.
  • Shared or created that day: 2:16pm.
  • Shared or created yesterday: Yesterday at 2:16pm.
  • New within the last week: Wednesday at 2:16pm.
  • At least one week old, but less than a month: Mar 6, 2:16pm.
  • At least one month old, but less than a year: Mar 6.
  • One year or older: Mar 6, 2020.

We’re a video and data company, so we need to express the time duration of videos and clips often. Here are the guidelines for how we approach this:

  • Always include the digits for minutes and seconds. Hour digits are not required until the video or user activity hits the hour mark.
  • Include a zero as the minute digit for durations less than sixty seconds.
  • Durations under 10 minutes can be displayed as a single minute digit.
  • Milliseconds aren’t required and shouldn’t be used in any static displays of time. If you’re using mil­lisec­onds for elapsed time as the video plays, use a period instead of a colon.
  • Never use h,” m” or s” for hours, minutes and seconds. Stick to the colon format.

59s

00:08:14

1:23:15:41

Don’t use zero placeholders.

0:59

8:14

1:23:15.41

Do always include minutes and seconds.

Write out num­bers one through nine, and use numer­als for 10 or high­er. (You can use numerals for numbers under 10 when writing addresses, ages, monetary values, dates, times, sizes/​dimensions, percentages, speeds or temperatures.)

Twenty-eight teams competed in the tournament.

Don't spell out numbers 10 or higher.

Nine players were paid $12 million.

Do spell out numbers one through nine.

Here’s a few more general rules to keep in mind:

  • When using age as an adjective phrase before a noun, use hyphens. Drop them if the noun comes first.
    • My 34-year-old friend remains impres­sive­ly athletic.
    • My friend is 34 years old.
  • Thousands,” millions” and billions” may be shortened to K,” M” and B” when displayed in a graphic treatment.
  • For percentages, use the % sign, no space, paired with a numeral.

The average number of home runs per game increased 15% this season.

  • Avoid starting sentences with a number, unless referencing a year.

1977 was the last year the Minnesota Vikings went to the Super Bowl.

  • Finally, when talking quantities, it’s always more than,” not over.”

We have more than 10 million users.

For clarity and accuracy, decimals are always written as numerals, even if the number less than nine. In basketball, 3-pointer” is also written as a numeral since it’s a statistic.

Johnson averaged 8.4 points per game last season.

Smith hit four 3-pointers in the win.

When two numbers come next to each other in a sentence, spell out one of these numbers. The main purpose of this rule is to avoid confusion for the reader. This could require you to write out a number larger than nine.

The Tigers won with fifteen 3-pointers.

Always use numerals when writing a score, even if the number is from one to nine. This is most common in sports with low scores like soccer, baseball, softball, etc.

The Longhorns defeated the Bears, 5-3.

Similar to writing a score, rankings with the AP abbre­vi­a­tion for number (No.) will use a numeral, even when below 10.

Jackson Miller is the No. 5 rated quarterback in the nation.

However, if you’re writing just the ranking and it’s less than 10, you’ll write the complete word. For rankings 10 and above, use numerals.

Matt Jensen is the fifth-ranked running back in the nation.

Josh Carson is the 12th-ranked wide receiver in the country

Use numerals for yard lines, even those below 10.

The Rockets had the ball at the 7-yard line.

Don’t use numerals for downs — these follow the less than 10” rule mentioned above. For down and distance, use dashes.

The Spartans had third-and-two from the 38-yard line.

Use numerals for the data, but spell out feet,” inches,” meters,” centimeters,” etc. Obviously only use when applicable and necessary, for instance when sharing a player’s vitals. Refer to our acces­si­bil­i­ty section for more guidance.

Johnson is 6 feet, 3 inches tall and 270 pounds.

The 6-foot-3-inch defender Johnson is first-string this year.

Write out all generic parts of street names (avenue, north, road) when you’re not talking about a specific address. Otherwise, include a street number, and abbreviate avenue (Ave.), boulevard (Blvd.), street (St.) and directional parts of street names.

Also, heads up! State abbre­vi­a­tions differ from postal service abbreviations.

  • Nebraska is shortened to Neb.” instead of NE.”

Most of them live on that St.

Don’t generally abbreviate parts of street names.

They live at 202 Federal St.

Do use approved abbreviations for specific addresses.

Here’s an exception to AP Style. When referring to specific addresses in UI copy, use postal abbre­vi­a­tions to save space.

70 Federal St.

Lincoln, Neb. 02210

In product copy don’t use AP Style abbreviations with periods.

70 Federal St

Lincoln, NE 02210

In product copy, do use postal abbreviations.

Last Updated: 17 Sep 2020 at 11:17am CDT