• anchors (HTML anchors)

    Use HTML anchors to provide shortcuts when pointing people to sections inside a page.

    • For example:

      • <a id="2014"> in doc/about/finances to be able to point to https://tails.boum.org/finances#2014.
    • Keep them as short as possible as they appear in the URL.

    • Use hyphens instead of underscores to separate words.

  • boot vs start

    • Use start and restart as much as possible to refer to starting a computer on Tails; boot is almost always unecessary jargon.

    • You might use boot when the word is displayed to the user by the computer or when writing for a technical audience, like in our design documentation.

    • Use boot when referring to boot options, which are only documented for workarounds or a technical audience.

    • For example:

      • Most computers do not start on Tails by default.

      • The following instructions explain how to display the boot menu and start on the USB stick.

      • When starting Tails, add the toram boot option in the Boot Loader Menu. For detailed instructions, see the documentation on using the Boot Loader Menu.

      • To make the display work properly, add the following boot option when starting Tails:


  • bulleted lists

    Refer to this article from NN/g on presenting bulleted lists.

    Always add empty lines between list items to:

    • Make them easier to read.

    • Make them easier to translate. Each item from the list will be put in a separate PO string in PO files by the PO plugin when building the website.

  • Debian and Ubuntu versions

    Refer to Debian and Ubuntu versions primarily by their numbers, and additionally by their codenames.

    • For example:

      • Tails 3.0 is based on Debian 9 (Stretch)

      • Tails Installer is available on Ubuntu 15.10 (Wily Werewolf) or later.

  • earlier and later

    Use to refer to versions of software.

    Don't use lower and higher or newer and older.

    Don't use "regular expressions" like Tails 2.1.*.

    • For example:

      • If you are running macOS 10.10 (Yosemite) or earlier

  • future tense

Whenever possible, use present, not future, tense. Don't switch unnecessarily from present to future tense when present tense is sufficient to express a sequence of steps or events.

Present tense is easier to read than past or future tense. Simple verbs are easier to read and understand than complex verbs, such as verbs in the progressive or perfect tense.

  • GNOME applications: Files, Disks, etc.

    GNOME applications that have a common noun as their name (like Files or Disks) can be confusing when referred to in the documentation.

    Make sure to clarify that you are referring to an application (and not, for example, a set of files or disks):

    • For example:

      • In the title of sections

      • When first referring to the application in a section

    • Use:

      • The Files browser

      • The Disks utility

    Otherwise, use the short name of the application as it appears in the menus when giving instructions to be executed inside Tails.

    • For example:

      • Open /live/persistence/TailsData_unlocked/dotfiles in Files.

    Prepend "GNOME" when giving instructions to be executed outside of Tails.

    • For example:

      • Install GNOME Disks in Debian.

  • graphics card

    And not graphics adapters, graphics, graphical hardware, or video card.

  • Internet

    Capitalize. When used as a noun, always preceded by the.

  • media and installation media

    Use only in rare occasions where it is especially relevant to mention both USB sticks and DVDs.

    Tails is now primarily advertised for USB sticks. We prefer making our text easy to read for the majority of people using USB sticks than to be exhaustive and always mention DVDs, implicitly or explicitly.

    • For example:

      • Tails runs on a USB stick that you can plug in and use on almost any computer.

      • It is not possible to install Tails on a hard disk. Tails is designed to be a live system running from a removable media: USB stick or DVD.

  • network interface, Wi-Fi interface

    And not card, device, or adapter.

    Still, USB Wi-Fi adapters are USB dongles that provide a Wi-Fi interface.

  • persistence feature

    To refer to the features available in the configuration of the persistent storage.

    The word persistence can be omitted if it is redundant from the context (for example on configure).

  • please

    Avoid please except in situations where the user is asked to do something inconvenient or the software is to blame for the situation.

  • procedures (a series of steps)

    • Keep the number of steps low within a procedure (for example, below 10, ideally 7). For longer procedures, split them and give each section a title.

    • Add a blank line between each step.

    • Rely on the automatic numbered of Markdown and number all the steps with 1.

    See also the Microsoft Manual of Style: Procedures and technical content.

    • For example:
1. Make sure that you are connected to the Internet.

1. Start Software Sources.

1. Click on the PPAs button and then choose to Add a new PPA….

  • right-click

    Trackpads on Mac have a single button. Control-click, the usual way of doing right-click on Mac, does something different in Tails (and Windows): it is used to select multiple items.

    Always clarify how to do right-click on Mac:

    • For example:

      • Right-click (on Mac, click with two fingers) on the file and choose Share via OnionShare.

  • Secure Boot

    Capitalize as a brand or feature. Writing secure boot would make it sound more like a magic security feature (which it is not).

  • serial comma

    Place a serial comma immediately before the coordinating conjunction (usually and or or) in a series of three or more terms.

  • Tails Greeter

    Without an article. Not the Greeter. Note the formatting as an application.

  • update vs upgrade

    • Use upgrade to refer to the replacement of a previous version of Tails by another.

    • For example:

      • If you know someone you trust who already did the upgrade, you can upgrade your Tails by cloning from their Tails.
    • You might use update to refer to other operations that update some data or software outside of Tails releases.

    • For example:

      • Make sure to update your dotfiles each time you use the init command of keyringer.

      • The packages from your list of additional software will be updated automatically when you connect to the Internet.

  • vulnerability or security vulnerability

    And not hole or issue.