Style Guide

Abbreviations and Initials

  1. Kapi‘olani Community College is part of the University of Hawai‘i system. As designated by system policies, the full name of our institution should always be used on first reference: Kapi‘olani Community College
  2. After the first reference, you may then choose to offer an abbreviation in substitution of the full name of the college. Since there is no official policy, the Web and Mobile Development Group (WMDG) has chosen to offer the recommendations of various related campus organizations and communities. College administration encourages the use of the abbreviation KapCC. Kalāualani, (the Native Hawaiian Council) advises the use of Kapi‘olani CC. And yet there remains a strong tradition of using KCC to best represent the traditional, abbreviated name of our institution. Whicheverabbreviation you decide to use in your document or post, remember to be consistent and clear.
  3. No matter how familiar abbreviations might be to some people, there is bound to be some confusion. As a courtesy to readers, give the full name on the first reference with your chosen abbreviation in parenthesis. You can then use that abbreviation or abbreviation on subsequent references. (e.g., University of Hawai‘i (UH) ).
  4. Initials and abbreviations need not have periods. Abbreviations of five or more letters tend to become upper and lowercase words with frequent use (Alcoa).
  5. Use periods with abbreviations that appear in lowercase letters (e.g., a.k.a., ) but do not use periods with abbreviations in capital letters (CELTT, NATO, AIDS).


Use the proper form for the individual or group in question:

  • Alumnus – one man
  • Alumna – one woman
  • Alumnae – more than one woman (a group constituting only women)
  • Alumni – more than one man or mixed group
  • Alum – is an increasingly accepted, gender-neutral term for a group of graduates.

More and more institutions are choosing to standardize gender-neutral terms as opposed to their traditionally accepted Latin counterparts. See Sensitive Content


  • Generally speaking, use boldface only to emphasize a word or phrase. I general, italics are preferred.
  • Do not use boldface in headings.
  • Do not use boldface in entire paragraphs of text. It is better to place the entire paragraph in a text box or use a heading to break out the emphasis.

Capitalization of Proper vs. Common Nouns

Proper nouns are capitalized; common nouns are not:

  • Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra; the orchestra
  • Council of Trustees; the trustees
  • Stapleton Library; the library
  • the University Museum; the museum
  • Indiana University of Pennsylvania; the university

Comma in Series

Use a comma before the “and” in a series. He bought milk, eggs, and bread.

Credits and Credit Hours

See Numbers

Dashes and Hyphens

  • The hyphen is the “dash” character found on your keyboard. Use it for compound words (e.g. read-only file).
  • The en dash is longer than a hyphen but shorter than an em dash.
  • The em dash is the longest dash. Use it to indicate a break in thought, (e.g., All users—except users of Auxmail—should…).
  • There are additional uses of hyphens and dashes. For a more detailed reference, see “Hyphens and Dashes” at


  • When adding the full date to your content, commas are used before and after the year: e.g., The Board of Regents met September 23, 2002, to approve the resolution.
  • Commas are not necessary when only the month is given: e.g., The council met in September 2002.
  • By extension, then, the name of the semester in which this guide was compiled is Fall 2015.

Ordinals with Dates

Avoid such uses as April 21st, 2003. Use April 21, 2003.

Email reference in text

  • Always use “email” without a hyphen.
  • Do not capitalize the word “email” unless it appears at the beginning of a sentence or list. When including an email address in
  • When including an email address:
    • in text in print, set the address in lowercase letters and italicize.
    • in text on the web, do not italicize the address. Instead, hyperlink the address.
    • at the end of the sentence, use a period, but do not hyperlink the period.

Emeritus, etc.

Use the proper form for the individual or group in question:

  • Emeritus – one man
  • Emerita – one woman
  • Emeritae – more than one woman (a group constituting only women)
  • Emeriti – more than one man or mixed group

More and more institutions are choosing to standardize gender-neutral terms as opposed to their traditionally accepted Latin counterparts. See Sensitive Content

Fiscal Year

Our goal is to communicate as clearly as possible, in a way that most people recognize and identify with. With that in mind, it’s probably best to use, if possible, a designation that parallels that of the academic year: the 2015–2016 fiscal year (eight digits).

Freshman, Freshmen

Freshman is an adjective and a noun. Freshmen is never an adjective. The freshman class donated money. Her son is a freshman at KapCC. The new freshmen were shy at first.


Use Heading 2, Heading 3, etc. to mark the structure of a document. E.g., if the document has two main sections, use Heading 2 for the title of each.


Use semantic HTML whenever possible. I.e., use HTML lists to format lists, heading to format headings, etc. Using semantic HTML makes our webpages easier for Google to search and helps us maintain consistency throughout the site, as these elements are automatically styled to match our templates.


  • Link text should identify the item being linked to. Avoid using “click here.”
  • Don’t make surrounding punctuation—such as periods, commas, or quotes—part of the link.
    Examples: See the Travel Expense Voucher. Or, just Travel Expense Voucher .
  • Make links meaningful. Repeat usage of click here does not make it easier for your readers to locate the information they need. Instead, write your link text to describe the page it links to.

Bad: To learn to publish, click here.
Good: To learn to publish, see Learning to Publish. (Avoid this redundancy)
Better: To publish in Web Central, see Learning to Publish.
Bad: For information on HTML, click here


  • Give first name, surname, and title on first use. Use just surname thereafter, without designations. e.g., Mr., Mrs., Dr.
  • Avoid initials—either in the middle of a name or at the beginning. Exception: when two people have the same first and last names and might be confused by the reader.


  • Spell out one through nine; use numerals for 10 and higher. e.g., Chicago section 9.3, page 464.
    Exceptions: Use numerals for percentages and in other mathematical or scientific contexts. Spell out numbers 10 and higher when they begin a sentence.

The three new parking lots at KapCC will provide space for 500 more cars.
The property is held on a 99-year lease.
About 7 percent of the property is wooded.

Number Ranges

Either include “to” or use an en dash.  (Mac: option+-, Win: alt-0150; use the keyboard number pad)

  • 10 to 50, or 10–50

Years use an en dash, in this format:

  • 2008–15
  • 1998–2004


Percentages are always given in numerals. In running type, spell out the word percent.
Example: Only 5 percent of the students voted in the election.

Phone Numbers

Our format for ten-digit phone numbers is nnn.nnn.nnnn

  • 724-357-3062
  • Not (724) 357-3062 or 724-357-3062

Publication Names

Our web style does not italicize articles at the beginning of a publication’s name. e.g., Kapi‘o, not The Kapi‘o.


Do not use the word full as an adjective for professor. e.g., Each year certain faculty members are promoted to professor, not to full professor.


  • Use a capital letter when referring to a specific semester. e.g., During the Fall semester, plans were made for the next year’s Summer sessions.
  • When only a season, not a semester or session, is referenced, use lowercase: In the fall, we’ll plan courses for the following summer.


  • Use only one space after punctuation at the end of a sentence and after a colon.
  • The space between paragraphs, before headings and around list items is handled automatically by WordPress.


  • Abbreviate according to the following list. Avoid use of postal abbreviations (PA, CO, etc.) for anything other than addresses.
  • Avoid using Pennsylvania after such obvious locations as Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Erie, Altoona, etc.

Alaska, Ala., Ark., American Samoa, Ariz., Calif., Colo., Conn., D.C., Del., Fla., Ga., Guam, Hawaii, Iowa, Idaho, Ill., Ind., Kans., Ky., La., Mass., Md., Maine, Mich., Minn., Mo., Miss., Mont., N.C., N.Dak., Neb., N.H., N.J., N.Mex., Nev., N.Y., Ohio, Okla., Ore., Pa., P.R. or Puerto Rico, R.I., S.C., S.Dak., Tenn., Tex., Utah, Va., V.I. or Virgin Islands, Vt., Wash., Wis. or Wisc., W.Va., Wyo.


  • Use a colon and zeros for on-the-hour times, and lowercase the a.m./p.m. Use noon and midnight to avoid confusion. e.g., 7:00 a.m.
  • Use the en dash when giving a range of times. This is between an em dash and a hyphen (the width of an “n”): Office hours are 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

Titles and Offices

  • Capitalize a title when it immediately precedes a personal name. e.g.,  President Lincoln; the president; Dean Mueller; the dean.
  • Avoid stacking titles before the name; choose one and use others elsewhere. For instance, avoid Fine Arts Dean Mr. Michael Hood in favor of Fine Arts Dean Michael Hood and, on second reference, Mr. Hood or Dean Hood.

URLs in running text

Do not put URLs in running text meant to be read by users. For instance, instead of “Find out more at,” use “Find out more on the Campus Life page.” This is easier for users and good Search Engine Optimization.

URLs in page names

Although URLs such as, we strongly prefer that all URLs in print items include the www. e.g.,


  • Do not hyphenate Vice Chancellor, Vice President or any other titles using the combining form “vice”.
  • Use a hyphen when writing a phrasal adjective such as vice-presidential. Note that this form does not require capitalization.

Web, Website

Capitalize the “W” in the Web

Use lowercase for website and webpage, and write both as single words.

-wide words

When using words containing wide, the suffix should be added without a hyphen, e.g., campuswide, universitywide, worldwide.

Kapi‘olani Community College x