DigitalOcean Documentation Style Guide

The DigitalOcean Product Documentation Style Guide outlines the voice and tone we use in our docs, as well as our conscious decisions on grammar, punctuation, capitalization, and other elements of style.

Above all, we make choices to provide clarity to our readers. We also make decisions about the small details to keep our docs consistent and to prevent us and other contributors from repeatedly making the same calls.

Our style and our documentation are constantly evolving. Because we don’t always update all of our existing docs when we update our style guide, you may see older content that isn’t consistent. Always err on the side of following this guide.


Voice and Tone

  • Be friendly and informative.

  • Write for accessibility and a diverse, global audience.

  • Humanize our tone by using active voice.

  • Use first-person plural when speaking as the author and second-person singular when addressing the user.

  • Avoid bombastic fluff.

Language and Grammar

  • Use title case for headers, titles, and link titles.

  • Use sentence case for items in bulleted and numbered lists.

  • Capitalize Droplet, Spaces, 1-Click Application, and anything preceeded by DigitalOcean. Lowercase regular nouns, like load balancer, volumes, and control panel.

  • Use serial commas, hyphenated compound modifiers, and suspended hyphens.

  • Use a single space to separate sentences.

  • Use the RFC-reserved domains (e.g. and IP ranges (e.g. for documentation.

  • Use use_your_<variable> for placeholders, like use_your_droplet_ip.

Formatting and Shortcodes

  • Use bold for GUI text.

  • Use in-line code for IP addresses, domains, commands, package names.

  • Use relrefs for internal links.

  • Use notices to call out notes and warnings.

  • Use includes to duplicate content.

Detailed Reference

Voice, tone, and audience.
Word usage, punctuation, grammar, mechanics, and other linguistic conventions.
Syntax and usage for custom front matter, custom shortcodes, and other Hugo features.
When to include screenshots and what to include when you do.
Content types and structure for product sections.
How to write and structure glossary articles for the Product Docs glossary section of the website.
How to document and format code in our docs.
How to write and structure tutorials for the Product Docs tutorial section of the website.