Recommended word list

To help ensure consistency in the documentation, the Technical Writing team recommends these wording choices. The GitLab handbook also maintains a list of top misused terms.

For guidance not on this page, we defer to these style guides:

@mention

Try to avoid @mention. Say mention instead, and consider linking to the mentions topic. Don’t use backticks.

2FA, two-factor authentication

Spell out two-factor authentication in sentence case for the first use and in section headings, and 2FA thereafter. If the first word in a sentence, do not capitalize factor or authentication. For example:

  • Two-factor authentication (2FA) helps secure your account. Set up 2FA when you first log in.

above

Try to avoid using above when referring to an example or table in a documentation page. If required, use previous instead. For example:

  • In the previous example, the dog had fleas.

Do not use above when referring to versions of the product. Use later instead.

Use:

  • In GitLab 14.4 and later…

Instead of:

  • In GitLab 14.4 and above…
  • In GitLab 14.4 and higher…

access level

Access levels are different than roles or permissions. When you create a user, you choose an access level: Regular, Auditor, or Admin.

Capitalize these words when you refer to the UI. Otherwise use lowercase.

administrator

Use administrator access instead of admin when talking about a user’s access level.

admin access level

An administrator is not a role or permission.

Use:

  • To do this thing, you must be an administrator.
  • To do this thing, you must have administrator access.

Instead of:

  • To do this thing, you must have the Admin role.

Admin Area

Use title case Admin Area to refer to the area of the UI that you access when you select Menu > Admin. This area of the UI says Admin Area at the top of the page and on the menu.

agent

Use lowercase to refer to the GitLab agent for Kubernetes. For example:

  • To connect your cluster to GitLab, use the GitLab agent for Kubernetes.
  • Install the agent in your cluster.
  • Select an agent from the list.

Do not use title case GitLab Agent or GitLab Agent for Kubernetes.

agent access token

The token generated when you create an agent for Kubernetes. Use agent access token, not:

  • registration token
  • secret token
  • authentication token

air gap, air-gapped

Use offline environment to describe installations that have physical barriers or security policies that prevent or limit internet access. Do not use air gap, air gapped, or air-gapped. For example:

  • The firewall policies in an offline environment prevent the computer from accessing the internet.

allow, enable

Try to avoid allow and enable, unless you are talking about security-related features.

Use:

  • You can add a file to your repository.

Instead of:

  • This feature allows you to add a file to your repository.
  • This feature enables users to add files to their repository.

This phrasing is more active and is from the user perspective, rather than the person who implemented the feature. View details in the Microsoft style guide.

Alpha

Use uppercase for Alpha. For example: The XYZ feature is in Alpha. or This Alpha release is ready to test.

You might also want to link to this section in the handbook when writing about Alpha features.

and/or

Instead of and/or, use or or rewrite the sentence to spell out both options.

and so on

Do not use and so on. Instead, be more specific. For details, see the Microsoft style guide.

area

Use section instead of area. The only exception is the Admin Area.

below

Try to avoid below when referring to an example or table in a documentation page. If required, use following instead. For example:

  • In the following example, the dog has fleas.

Beta

Use uppercase for Beta. For example: The XYZ feature is in Beta. or This Beta release is ready to test.

You might also want to link to this section in the handbook when writing about Beta features.

blacklist

Do not use blacklist. Another option is denylist. (Vale rule: InclusionCultural.yml)

board

Use lowercase for boards, issue boards, and epic boards.

box

Use text box to refer to the UI field. Do not use field or box. For example:

  • In the Variable name text box, enter a value.

bullet

Don’t refer to individual items in an ordered or unordered list as bullets. Use list item instead. If you need to be less ambiguous, you can use:

  • Ordered list item for items in an ordered list.
  • Unordered list item for items in an unordered list.

button

Don’t use a descriptor with button.

Use:

  • Select Run pipelines.

Instead of:

  • Select the Run pipelines button.

cannot, can not

Use cannot instead of can not. You can also use can’t.

See also contractions.

checkbox

Use one word for checkbox. Do not use check box.

You select (not check or enable) and clear (not deselect or disable) checkboxes. For example:

  • Select the Protect environment checkbox.
  • Clear the Protect environment checkbox.

If you must refer to the checkbox, you can say it is selected or cleared. For example:

  • Ensure the Protect environment checkbox is cleared.
  • Ensure the Protect environment checkbox is selected.

(For deselect, Vale rule: SubstitutionWarning.yml)

checkout, check out

Use check out as a verb. For the Git command, use checkout.

  • Use git checkout to check out a branch locally.
  • Check out the files you want to edit.

CI/CD

CI/CD is always uppercase. No need to spell it out on first use.

CI/CD minutes

Use CI/CD minutes instead of CI minutes, pipeline minutes, pipeline minutes quota, or CI pipeline minutes. This decision was made in this issue.

click

Do not use click. Instead, use select with buttons, links, menu items, and lists. Select applies to more devices, while click is more specific to a mouse.

collapse

Use collapse instead of close when you are talking about expanding or collapsing a section in the UI.

confirmation dialog

Use confirmation dialog to describe the dialog box that asks you to confirm your action. For example:

  • On the confirmation dialog, select OK.

Container Registry

Use title case for the GitLab Container Registry.

currently

Do not use currently when talking about the product or its features. The documentation describes the product as it is today. (Vale rule: CurrentStatus.yml)

Dependency Proxy

Use title case for the GitLab Dependency Proxy.

deploy board

Use lowercase for deploy board.

Developer

When writing about the Developer role:

  • Use a capital D.
  • Do not use bold.
  • Do not use the phrase, if you are a developer to mean someone who is assigned the Developer role. Instead, write it out. For example, if you are assigned the Developer role.
  • To describe a situation where the Developer role is the minimum required:
    • Use: at least the Developer role
    • Instead of: the Developer role or higher

Do not use Developer permissions. A user who is assigned the Developer role has a set of associated permissions.

disable

See the Microsoft style guide for guidance on disable. Use inactive or off instead. (Vale rule: InclusionAbleism.yml)

disallow

Use prevent instead of disallow. (Vale rule: Substitutions.yml)

downgrade

To be more upbeat and precise, do not use downgrade. Focus instead on the action the user is taking.

  • For changing to earlier GitLab versions, use roll back.
  • For changing to lower GitLab tiers, use change the subscription tier.

Use dropdown list to refer to the UI element. Do not use dropdown without list after it. Do not use drop-down (hyphenated), dropdown menu, or other variants.

For example:

  • From the Visibility dropdown list, select Public.

earlier

Use earlier when talking about version numbers.

Use:

  • In GitLab 14.1 and earlier.

Instead of:

  • In GitLab 14.1 and lower.

easily

Do not use easily. If the user doesn’t find the process to be easy, we lose their trust.

e.g.

Do not use Latin abbreviations. Use for example, such as, for instance, or like instead. (Vale rule: LatinTerms.yml)

email

Do not use e-mail with a hyphen. When plural, use emails or email messages. (Vale rule: SubstitutionSuggestions.yml)

enable

See the Microsoft style guide for guidance on enable. Use active or on instead. (Vale rule: InclusionAbleism.yml)

enter

In most cases, use enter rather than type.

  • Enter encompasses multiple ways to enter information, including speech and keyboard.
  • Enter assumes that the user puts a value in a field and then moves the cursor outside the field (or presses Enter). Enter includes both the entering of the content and the action to validate the content.

For example:

  • In the Variable name text box, enter a value.
  • In the Variable name text box, enter my text.

When you use Enter to refer to the key on a keyboard, use the HTML <kbd> tag:

  • To view the list of results, press Enter.

See also type.

epic

Use lowercase for epic.

epic board

Use lowercase for epic board.

etc.

Try to avoid etc.. Be as specific as you can. Do not use and so on as a replacement.

Use:

  • You can update objects, like merge requests and issues.

Instead of:

  • You can update objects, like merge requests, issues, etc.

expand

Use expand instead of open when you are talking about expanding or collapsing a section in the UI.

FAQ

We want users to find information quickly, and they rarely search for the term FAQ. Information in FAQs belongs with other similar information, under an easily searchable topic title.

field

Use box instead of field or text box.

Use:

  • In the Variable name text box, enter my text.

Instead of:

  • In the Variable name field, enter my text.

However, you can make an exception when you are writing a task and you need to refer to all of the fields at once. For example:

  1. On the top bar, select Menu > Projects and find your project.
  2. On the left sidebar, select Settings > CI/CD.
  3. Expand General pipelines.
  4. Complete the fields.

Learn more about documenting multiple fields at once.

foo

Do not use foo in product documentation. You can use it in our API and contributor documentation, but try to use a clearer and more meaningful example instead.

future tense

When possible, use present tense instead of future tense. For example, use after you execute this command, GitLab displays the result instead of after you execute this command, GitLab will display the result. (Vale rule: FutureTense.yml)

Geo

Use title case for Geo.

GitLab

Do not make GitLab possessive (GitLab’s). This guidance follows GitLab Trademark Guidelines.

GitLab.com

GitLab.com refers to the GitLab instance managed by GitLab itself.

GitLab Flavored Markdown

When possible, spell out GitLab Flavored Markdown. (Vale rule: GLFM.yml)

If you must abbreviate, do not use GFM. Use GLFM instead.

GitLab SaaS

GitLab SaaS refers to the product license that provides access to GitLab.com. It does not refer to the GitLab instance managed by GitLab itself.

GitLab Runner

Use title case for GitLab Runner. This is the product you install. See also runners and this issue.

GitLab self-managed

Use GitLab self-managed to refer to the product license for GitLab instances managed by customers themselves.

guide

We want to speak directly to users. On docs.gitlab.com, do not use guide as part of a page title. For example, Snowplow Guide. Instead, speak about the feature itself, and how to use it. For example, Use Snowplow to do xyz.

Guest

When writing about the Guest role:

  • Use a capital G.
  • Do not use bold.
  • Do not use the phrase, if you are a guest to mean someone who is assigned the Guest role. Instead, write it out. For example, if you are assigned the Guest role.
  • To describe a situation where the Guest role is the minimum required:
    • Use: at least the Guest role
    • Instead of: the Guest role or higher

Do not use Guest permissions. A user who is assigned the Guest role has a set of associated permissions.

handy

Do not use handy. If the user doesn’t find the feature or process to be handy, we lose their trust. (Vale rule: Simplicity.yml)

high availability, HA

Do not use high availability or HA. Instead, direct readers to the GitLab reference architectures for information about configuring GitLab for handling greater amounts of users.

higher

Do not use higher when talking about version numbers.

Use:

  • In GitLab 14.4 and later…

Instead of:

  • In GitLab 14.4 and higher…
  • In GitLab 14.4 and above…

hit

Don’t use hit to mean press.

Use:

  • Press ENTER.

Instead of:

  • Hit the ENTER button.

I

Do not use first-person singular. Use you, we, or us instead. (Vale rule: FirstPerson.yml)

i.e.

Do not use Latin abbreviations. Use that is instead. (Vale rule: LatinTerms.yml)

in order to

Do not use in order to. Use to instead. (Vale rule: Wordy.yml)

issue

Use lowercase for issue.

issue board

Use lowercase for issue board.

issue weights

Use lowercase for issue weights.

job

Do not use build to be synonymous with job. A job is defined in the .gitlab-ci.yml file and runs as part of a pipeline.

If you want to use CI with the word job, use CI/CD job rather than CI job.

Kubernetes executor

GitLab Runner can run jobs on a Kubernetes cluster. To do this, GitLab Runner uses the Kubernetes executor.

When referring to this feature, use:

  • Kubernetes executor for GitLab Runner
  • Kubernetes executor

Do not use:

  • GitLab Runner Kubernetes executor, because this can infringe on the Kubernetes trademark.

later

Use later when talking about version numbers.

Use:

  • In GitLab 14.1 and later…

Instead of:

  • In GitLab 14.1 and higher…
  • In GitLab 14.1 and above…

list

Do not use list when referring to a dropdown list. Use the full phrase dropdown list instead.

license

When writing about licenses:

  • Do not use variations such as cloud license, offline license, or legacy license.
  • Do not use interchangeably with subscription:
    • A license grants users access to the subscription they purchased, and contains information such as the number of seats they purchased and subscription dates.
    • A subscription is the subscription tier that the user purchases.

Use:

  • Add a license to your instance.
  • Purchase a subscription.

Instead of:

  • Buy a license.
  • Purchase a license.

log in, log on

Do not use log in or log on. Use sign in instead. If the user interface has Log in, you can use it.

lower

Do not use lower when talking about version numbers.

Use:

  • In GitLab 14.1 and earlier.

Instead of:

  • In GitLab 14.1 and lower.

Maintainer

When writing about the Maintainer role:

  • Use a capital M.
  • Do not use bold.
  • Do not use the phrase, if you are a maintainer to mean someone who is assigned the Maintainer role. Instead, write it out. For example, if you are assigned the Maintainer role.
  • To describe a situation where the Maintainer role is the minimum required:
    • Use: at least the Maintainer role
    • Instead of: the Maintainer role or higher

Do not use Maintainer permissions. A user who is assigned the Maintainer role has a set of associated permissions.

mankind

Do not use mankind. Use people or humanity instead. (Vale rule: InclusionGender.yml)

manpower

Do not use manpower. Use words like workforce or GitLab team members. (Vale rule: InclusionGender.yml)

master

Do not use master. Options are primary or main. (Vale rule: InclusionCultural.yml)

may, might

Might means something has the probability of occurring. May gives permission to do something. Consider can instead of may.

me, myself, mine

Do not use first-person singular. Use you, we, or us instead. (Vale rule: FirstPerson.yml)

merge requests

Use lowercase for merge requests. If you use MR as the acronym, spell it out on first use.

milestones

Use lowercase for milestones.

n/a, N/A, not applicable

When possible, use not applicable. Spelling out the phrase helps non-English speaking users and avoids capitalization inconsistencies.

Do not use navigate. Use go instead. For example:

  • Go to this webpage.
  • Open a terminal and go to the runner directory.

(Vale rule: SubstitutionSuggestions.yml)

need to, should

Try to avoid needs to, because it’s wordy. Avoid should when you can be more specific. If something is required, use must.

Use:

  • You must set the variable.
  • Set the variable.

Instead of:

  • You need to set the variable.

Should is acceptable for recommended actions or items, or in cases where an event may not happen. For example:

  • Although you can configure the installation manually, you should use the express configuration to avoid complications.
  • You should see a success message in the console. Contact support if an error message appears instead.

note that

Do not use note that because it’s wordy.

Use:

  • You can change the settings.

Instead of:

  • Note that you can change the settings.

on

When documenting how to select high-level UI elements, use the word on.

Use:

  • On the left sidebar...

Instead of:

  • Do not: From the left sidebar... or In the left sidebar...

once

The word once means one time. Don’t use it to mean after or when.

Use:

  • When the process is complete…

Instead of:

  • Once the process is complete…

only

Put the word only next to the word it modifies.

  • You can create only private projects.

In this example, only modifies the noun projects. The sentence means you can create one type of project–a private project.

  • You can only create private projects.

In this example, only modifies the verb create. This sentence means that you can’t perform other actions, like deleting private projects, or adding users to them.

override

Use override to indicate temporary replacement.

For example, a value might be overridden when a job runs. The original value does not change.

overwrite

Use overwrite to indicate permanent replacement.

For example, a log file might overwrite a log file of the same name.

Owner

When writing about the Owner role:

  • Use a capital O.
  • Do not use bold.
  • Do not use the phrase, if you are an owner to mean someone who is assigned the Owner role. Instead, write it out. For example, if you are assigned the Owner role.

Do not use Owner permissions. A user who is assigned the Owner role has a set of associated permissions.

Package Registry

Use title case for the GitLab Package Registry.

permissions

Do not use roles and permissions interchangeably. Each user is assigned a role. Each role includes a set of permissions.

Permissions are not the same as access levels.

personal access token

Use lowercase for personal access token.

please

Do not use please. For details, see the Microsoft style guide.

press

Use press when talking about keyboard keys. For example:

  • To stop the command, press Control+C.

profanity

Do not use profanity. Doing so may negatively affect other users and contributors, which is contrary to the GitLab value of Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging.

provision

Use the term provision when referring to provisioning cloud infrastructure. You provision the infrastructure, and then deploy applications to it.

For example, you might write something like:

  • Provision an AWS EKS cluster and deploy your application to it.

push rules

Use lowercase for push rules.

register

Use register instead of sign up when talking about creating an account.

Reporter

When writing about the Reporter role:

  • Use a capital R.
  • Do not use bold.
  • Do not use the phrase, if you are a reporter to mean someone who is assigned the Reporter role. Instead, write it out. For example, if you are assigned the Reporter role.
  • To describe a situation where the Reporter role is the minimum required:
    • Use: at least the Reporter role
    • Instead of: the Reporter role or higher

Do not use Reporter permissions. A user who is assigned the Reporter role has a set of associated permissions.

Repository Mirroring

Use title case for Repository Mirroring.

respectively

Avoid respectively and be more precise instead.

Use:

  • To create a user, select Create user. For an existing user, select Save changes.

Instead of:

  • Select Create user or Save changes if you created a new user or edited an existing one respectively.

roles

Do not use roles and permissions interchangeably. Each user is assigned a role. Each role includes a set of permissions.

Roles are not the same as access levels.

roll back

Use roll back for changing a GitLab version to an earlier one.

Do not use roll back for licensing or subscriptions. Use change the subscription tier instead.

runner, runners

Use lowercase for runners. These are the agents that run CI/CD jobs. See also GitLab Runner and this issue.

When referring to runners, if you have to specify that the runners are installed on a customer’s GitLab instance, use self-managed rather than self-hosted.

(s)

Do not use (s) to make a word optionally plural. It can slow down comprehension. For example:

Use:

  • Select the jobs you want.

Instead of:

  • Select the job(s) you want.

If you can select multiples of something, then write the word as plural.

sanity check

Do not use sanity check. Use check for completeness instead. (Vale rule: InclusionAbleism.yml)

scalability

Do not use scalability when talking about increasing GitLab performance for additional users. The words scale or scaling are sometimes acceptable, but references to increasing GitLab performance for additional users should direct readers to the GitLab reference architectures page.

section

Use section to describe an area on a page. For example, if a page has lines that separate the UI into separate areas, refer to these areas as sections.

We often think of expandable/collapsible areas as sections. When you refer to expanding or collapsing a section, don’t include the word section.

Use:

  • Expand Auto DevOps.

Instead of:

  • Do not: Expand the Auto DevOps section.

select

Use select with buttons, links, menu items, and lists. Select applies to more devices, while click is more specific to a mouse.

self-managed

Use self-managed to refer to a customer’s installation of GitLab. Do not use self-hosted.

Service Desk

Use title case for Service Desk.

setup, set up

Use setup as a noun, and set up as a verb. For example:

  • Your remote office setup is amazing.
  • To set up your remote office correctly, consider the ergonomics of your work area.

sign in

Use sign in instead of sign on or log on or log in. If the user interface has different words, use those.

You can use single sign-on.

sign up

Use register instead of sign up when talking about creating an account.

simply, simple

Do not use simply or simple. If the user doesn’t find the process to be simple, we lose their trust. (Vale rule: Simplicity.yml)

since

The word since indicates a timeframe. For example, Since 1984, Bon Jovi has existed. Don’t use since to mean because.

Use:

  • Because you have the Developer role, you can delete the widget.

Instead of:

  • Since you have the Developer role, you can delete the widget.

slashes

Instead of and/or, use or or re-write the sentence. This rule also applies to other slashes, like follow/unfollow. Some exceptions (like CI/CD) are allowed.

slave

Do not use slave. Another option is secondary. (Vale rule: InclusionCultural.yml)

subgroup

Use subgroup (no hyphen) instead of sub-group. (Vale rule: SubstitutionSuggestions.yml)

that

Do not use that when describing a noun. For example:

Use:

  • The file you save…

Instead of:

  • The file that you save…

See also this, these, that, those.

terminal

Use lowercase for terminal. For example:

  • Open a terminal.
  • From a terminal, run the docker login command.

text box

Use text box instead of field or box when referring to the UI element.

there is, there are

Try to avoid there is and there are. These phrases hide the subject.

Use:

  • The bucket has holes.

Instead of:

  • There are holes in the bucket.

they

Avoid the use of gender-specific pronouns, unless referring to a specific person. Use a singular they as a gender-neutral pronoun.

this, these, that, those

Always follow these words with a noun. For example:

  • Use: This setting improves performance.
  • Instead of: This improves performance.

  • Use: These pants are the best.
  • Instead of: These are the best.

  • Use: That droid is the one you are looking for.
  • Instead of: That is the one you are looking for.

  • Use: Those settings need to be configured. (Or even better, Configure those settings.)
  • Instead of: Those need to be configured.

to-do item

Use lowercase and hyphenate to-do item. (Vale rule: ToDo.yml)

To-Do List

Use title case for To-Do List. (Vale rule: ToDo.yml)

toggle

You turn on or turn off a toggle. For example:

  • Turn on the blah toggle.

TFA, two-factor authentication

Use 2FA and two-factor authentication instead.

type

Use type when the cursor remains in the field you’re typing in. For example, in a search dialog, you begin typing and the field populates results. You do not click out of the field.

For example:

  • To view all users named Alex, type Al.
  • To view all labels for the documentation team, type doc.
  • For a list of quick actions, type /.

See also enter.

update

Use update for installing a newer patch version of the software only. For example:

  • Update GitLab from 14.9 to 14.9.1.

Do not use update for any other case. Instead, use upgrade.

upgrade

Use upgrade for:

  • Choosing a higher subscription tier (Premium or Ultimate).
  • Installing a newer major (13.0, 14.0) or minor (13.8, 14.5) version of GitLab.

For example:

  • Upgrade to GitLab Ultimate.
  • Upgrade GitLab from 14.0 to 14.1.
  • Upgrade GitLab from 14.0 to 15.0.

Use caution with the phrase Upgrade GitLab without any other text. Ensure the surrounding text clarifies whether you’re talking about the product version or the subscription tier.

See also downgrade and roll back.

useful

Do not use useful. If the user doesn’t find the process to be useful, we lose their trust. (Vale rule: Simplicity.yml)

user, users

When possible, address the reader directly, instead of calling them users. Use the second person, you, instead.

Use:

  • You can configure a pipeline.

Instead of:

  • Users can configure a pipeline.

utilize

Do not use utilize. Use use instead. It’s more succinct and easier for non-native English speakers to understand. (Vale rule: SubstitutionSuggestions.yml)

via

Do not use Latin abbreviations. Use with, through, or by using instead. (Vale rule: LatinTerms.yml)

we

Try to avoid we and focus instead on how the user can accomplish something in GitLab.

Use:

  • Use widgets when you have work you want to organize.

Instead of:

  • We created a feature for you to add widgets.

One exception: You can use we recommend instead of it is recommended or GitLab recommends. (Vale rule: SubstitutionSuggestions.yml)

whitelist

Do not use whitelist. Another option is allowlist. (Vale rule: InclusionCultural.yml)

yet

Do not use yet when talking about the product or its features. The documentation describes the product as it is today.

Sometimes you might need to use yet when writing a task. If you use yet, ensure the surrounding phrases are written in present tense, active voice.

View guidance about how to write about future features. (Vale rule: CurrentStatus.yml)

you, your, yours

Use you, your, and yours instead of the user and the user’s. Documentation should be from the point of view of the reader.

Use:

  • You can configure a pipeline.

Instead of:

  • Users can configure a pipeline.