Where these refer to an organisation or company usually known by its initials, give the full title the first time, with the abbreviation in brackets. After that, use the initials only. Where abbreviations are used, there is generally no punctuation:

  • Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI), subsequently ICI
  • am, pm, USA, UK, CIPD, TUC, ie, eg

Avoid abbreviations that use an ampersand, such as T&D and PM&D, except in tables or where a company uses it in its title eg M&S.

Avoid abbreviating 'ie' and 'eg'. Use 'such as' and 'for example' instead. But, if it's not possible to avoid these abbreviations, for instance when using them in a table, write them without any punctuation.

If the abbreviation is generally known to your audience, there's no need to spell it out in full the first time. For example:

  • Acas
  • CV
  • IT
  • HR.

The symbols for copyright (©), trademark (™) and registered (®) need to be used on first reference only.

Use apostrophes to show that a letter has been omitted or to indicate the possessive case of nouns:

  • won’t, can’t, didn’t, you're, it's
  • the man’s hat

Don’t use them for possessive pronouns or for the plurals of years or abbreviations:

  • hers, ours, theirs, yours, its
  • 1990s, PCs

Avoid capital letters and don’t use them in text for emphasis.

Use initial capitals for proper nouns such as the names of people, course modules, qualifications, membership grades and titles of publications (titles of publications should also appear in italics):

  • CIPD Level 7 Advanced Certificate in Human Resources
  • Jane Davies is a Chartered Member.
  • People Management magazine is free to CIPD members.

Get more information on referring to publications

Use initial capitals for individuals’ job titles and the names of departments and teams:

  • Finance Department
  • Membership Team
  • Kiran Nagar, Management Accountant
  • The Institute (only when referring to the CIPD)
  • The Derby Branch (when referring to a specific CIPD branch).

Use lower case for small ‘joining words’.

Don’t use capital letters for general references such as branches and geographical regions.

  • If you’re a CIPD member, you can access resources.
  • We have local branches throughout the north of England.
  • There are three managers in that department.

Check you're formatting the CIPD address and contact details correctly:

Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development
151 The Broadway
SW19 1JQ

Tel: +44 (0)20 8612 6200
Fax: +44 (0)20 8612 6201

Membership grades

When referring to membership grades, use an initial capital for the type and grade of membership:

  • Academic Member/Associate/Fellow
  • Affiliate Member/Membership
  • Associate Member/Membership
  • Chartered Member/Membership (not to be used to collectively refer to all three Chartered grades - instead, spell out exactly which grades you are referring to)
  • Chartered Fellow/Fellowship
  • Chartered Companion
  • Foundation Member/Membership
  • Student Member/Membership

Use a lower case 'm' when referring to members/membership generically:

  • membership criteria
  • members
  • CIPD member/members/membership

Also, never capitalise the words ‘grade’ or ‘status’ as these aren’t part of a designation.


  • CIPD Chartered Members are renowned for their skills.
  • Find out how you can achieve Chartered Membership.
  • Only the best candidates will receive Chartered status.
  • I expect standards to be upheld by CIPD members.
  • A Student Member would be eligible to apply.

Designatory letters

Don't use any punctuation or spacing between letters. Only Chartered Members, Fellows and Companions can use designatory letters after their name: 

  • For a Chartered Member write: Chartered MCIPD.
  • For a Chartered Fellow write: Chartered FCIPD.
  • For a Chartered Companion write: Chartered CCIPD.

Other designatory letters should follow the format prescribed by the body that has awarded them.


Write dates without punctuation and don’t include ‘st’, ‘nd’, ‘nth’ and so on:

  • 1 November 2017
  • twenty-first century (hyphenate when an adjective, for example, twenty-first-century methods)
  • 2010s

In tables, you can use dd/mm/yy, for example 15/06/18.


Times are written using the 24-hour clock with a colon separating hours and minutes:

  • The conference begins at 10:30.
  • Coffee breaks are at 14:00.

Consecutive dates or times

Where there are consecutive dates or time spans, don’t leave spaces on either side of the en dash:

  • 2–3 April
  • 08:30–09:00

Dates that span more than one month are an exception:

  • 30 April – 1 May

The style we use for an ellipsis is to have a set of dots without a space before the dots.

  • Get involved with us...

Use an en dash instead of a hyphen when the words aren’t describing each other, or where they seem to have an equal weighting. Very often they are two nouns.

For example, work–life balance should have an en dash. This is because both nouns are describing the word balance. The word work isn't describing the word life.

Use upper and lower case rather than block capitals. Put headings in bold and never underline them.

Use hyphens to prevent ambiguity within groups of words. Consult the Oxford Dictionary if in doubt.

  • the 12-year-old children (children of 12 years old)
  • the 12 year-old children (12 children of one year old)

Describing words (adjectives) coming before a noun are hyphenated:

  • up-to-date work
  • a well-written book.

When these words come after the noun, leave the hyphens out:

  • the work is up to date
  • the book is well written.

However, some combination words - such as compound adjectives ending in -ing and -ed - have a hyphen whether they come before or after the noun:

  • the decision-making team
  • the team involved in decision-making
  • paper-based information
  • information that is paper-based.

Compound adjectives ending in -ly, generally an adverb (such as tightly) and a past participle (such as controlled), don’t usually have a hyphen:

  • tightly controlled spending
  • spending that is tightly controlled.

We have three styles for bulleted lists:

Bullets that are a continuation of a sentence

Start a sentence and then break it with a colon followed by your bullet points. Start each bullet with a lower-case letter and don’t use any punctuation at the end of each bullet until the last bullet which needs to have a full stop.


In all cases images should be:

  • diverse
  • bright
  • dynamic.

Bullets that form full sentences

Each item starts with an upper-case letter and ends with a full stop.


  • Just over a quarter say that employees found to have used illegal drugs would be reported to the police.
  • Slightly more than half of respondents state that it would depend on the type of drug used.

Bullets for incomplete sentences

Start each item with an upper-case letter and don't include any full stops.


  • Diversity and inclusion
  • Behavioural science
  • Recruitment and selection

Numbered lists

When using numbers rather than bullet points, don’t put brackets or full stops after the numbers. You should use numbered points only for full sentences and therefore the points must start with a capital letter and end with a full stop. Use numbered lists only when you need to indicate a process or sequence.

Spell out a number if it comes at the start of a sentence:

  • Twenty people attended the course.
  • Two thousand members have upgraded.

Write numbers up to and including ten in words (unless they are in a table) and write numbers over ten as figures:

  • I went to six meetings last week.
  • More than 60 students passed the exam.

When there's a mixture of low and high numbers in the same sentence, stick to one style for all the numbers for consistency:

  • More than 60 students passed the exam, but 7 will have to take it again.

When writing percentages, use a figure and the per cent symbol, %. If the percentage comes at the beginning of a sentence, write it out in full:

  • Fifty per cent of calls are about upgrading.
  • Of all the calls, 50% are about upgrading.

Use single quote marks for reported speech and to cite words and phrases:

  • 'The conference was a great success’, he said.
  • He is a management development ‘guru’.

For a quote within a quote, use double quote marks:

  • ‘He calls himself a “guru”,’ she said.

References in indexes/further reading sections

View guidance on formatting references in indexes/further reading sections (pdf)

Referring to publications in text and on webpages

When mentioning the complete title:

  • Use upper case for all the main words of the title
  • Subtitles follow a colon and have an upper-case letter on the first word only
  • Put the whole title in italics, unless you're hyperlinking the title, in which case don't use italics.


  • This is a summary of the findings from the CIPD’s Absence Management annual survey report 2017.
  • The following resource is freely available: From Best to Good Practice HR: Developing principles for the profession.
  • Compare the findings with those in the CIPD’s Diversity in Business: A focus for progress survey report.
  • The CIPD Labour Market Outlook survey report showed that 37% of businesses are planning to recruit additional staff.

When you’re writing about the topic of a particular publication, and you’re not referring to its title, use lower case and plain text:


  • Please read the CIPD’s annual survey report on absence management.
  • Don’t miss the new guide on bullying at work.

Press releases are exempt from these rules as they need to be written in a more media-friendly style. Publications in the CIPD store also follow a different set of rules.

Referring to areas of the website

When mentioning areas of the CIPD website use upper case for all the main words. Don't use italics:

  • Go to the Membership area for more information.
  • Visit the Store to browse our publications.

The preferred spelling is the first version given in the Oxford Dictionary.

Words ending in ‘ise’ or ‘isation’

Our house style is to use ‘s’:

  • organise
  • specialise
  • organisation
  • specialisation.

For further guidance, go to the A-Z of CIPD terms

When referring to a web or an email address in an offline document, put it in bold, don't put a colon before it and don’t use any punctuation at the end of it. When referring to a CIPD web address, drop 'www' from the address. Also, ensure that you use all lower-case letters, unless this would mean that the meaning could be misinterpreted. Exceptions for not using lower-case would need to be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.


  • Catch up with the latest news at cipd.co.uk/about/media
  • Find out about events and networking at cipd.co.uk/learn/events-networks

When referring to links in documents which are being published online, use red and underline the links. Adopt this style even if you're printing a few copies for offline distribution.