Abbreviations and acronyms

Abbreviations and acronyms can help a reader scan quickly through text. Avoid excessive use and don’t invent your own abbreviations or acronyms. Too many abbreviations and acronyms can make text cluttered and hard to parse. If a better alternative exists, choose that instead.

Our A–Z word list contains guidelines for many Anaplan-specific abbreviations and acronyms that are familiar to our customers. It specifies which ones require an abbreviation accompanying the spelled-out first reference, or if you need to spell it out at all. Also, if an abbreviation or acronym appears in Merriam-Webster(opens external page), you can safely use it without spelling it out.

Localization considerations

Avoid creating unnecessary acronyms. They might form catchy phrases in English but may not make sense in other languages as the respective word and initial letters of words comprising the acronym will be different.

When writing UI string descriptions or alt text, be sure to write the full word to support localization and to ensure screen readers read the actual word instead of spelling out the abbreviation or acronym.

Also, be careful with acronyms that form common English words, such as RAM. If the acronym appears outside the parentheses and without the spelled-out version, there’s a risk of incorrect translation.


An abbreviation is a shortened form of a word or phrase, used to represent the whole.

The four main types of abbreviation are:

  • Shortenings
  • Contractions
  • Initialisms
  • Acronyms

Abbreviations are often lowercase or a mix of lowercase and uppercase.

If you think customers might not be familiar with an abbreviation, spell out its first occurrence on a page. Put the spelled-out version first, with the abbreviation in parentheses.


A shortening is an abbreviation where the end of the word has been cut off (app for application, ad for advertisement; prof. for professor).


A contraction is an abbreviation where the middle of a word (or words) has been cut out (MB/s for megabytes per second; kg for kilogram; we're for we are).

View also: Contractions

Best practice: Abbreviations


Avoid using Latin abbreviations as they are not localization-friendly.

The time descriptors a.m. (ante meridiem) and p.m. (post meridiem) are the exceptions to this rule. 

e.g. (for example), et al. (and others), etc. (and so on), i.e. (that is)

For example, and others, and so on, that is, or equivalent phrases


To indicate the plural of an abbreviation or symbol of a unit of measure, use the same form as the singular (1 GB and 20 GB).


Don’t use periods except in abbreviations for non-metric units of measure (ft., in.) and in the abbreviations a.m. and p.m. 

Units of measure

Use abbreviations only with numbers in specific measurements, such as 20 MP, and don't follow the abbreviation with a period.

Acronyms and initialisms

An acronym is an abbreviation you would speak as a word, for example, ROM (for read-only memory). In a spoken conversation, you would say it phonetically (Rawm) and not pronounce each letter (R-O-M). Other examples include radar and scuba, which started out as acronyms but are now considered words in their own right.

Acronyms are almost always all caps, regardless of the capitalization style of the spelled-out form.

An initialism is a type of acronym that comprises a group of initial letters used as an abbreviation for a name or expression. If you were using the acronym in a spoken conversation, you would enunciate each letter: H-T-M-L for Hypertext Markup Language or A-L-M for Application Lifecycle Management (use initial capitals in this spelled-out case as it’s an Anaplan capability). 

Spell out lesser-known acronyms or initialisms on first use, then follow with the acronym or initialism in parentheses. After this, throughout the rest of your page or document,  use the acronym or initialism alone.

You can use Single-Sign-on (SSO) to sign in to the Excel Add-in. You may need to ask your administrator to enable SSO.

internet service provider (ISP)

Where the acronym or initialism is more commonly used than the full phrase, for example, URL, HTML, or API, you do not need to follow this spell-it-out rule.

View also: A–Z word list and Merriam-Webster(opens external page).

Best practice: Acronyms


Which article (a or an) you use depends on whether the acronym begins with a letter that sounds like a consonant (a URL, a SQL Server database) or a vowel (an HTML table, an app).

File types and extensions

Use all caps for acronyms of file types (a JPEG file).

Filename extensions, which indicate the file type, should be in lowercase (.jpg, .xlxs).


Don't use apostrophes for plural acronyms.



Titles and headings

Avoid using an acronym for the first time in a title or heading. If the first use of the acronym is in a title or heading, introduce the acronym (in parentheses, following the spelled-out term) in the first body text that follows.

U.S., UK, and EU

In all content types, refer to the U.S. with periods, except in headings. Don't use periods in UK or EU.

US, U.K., E.U.

U.S., UK, EU

Note that UK (United Kingdom) is preferable to Great Britain in most cases. UK refers to England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, and Great Britain (GB) refers to just England, Scotland, and Wales. 

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