This article was first published over 10 years ago on my old copywriting site. To this day, it has been the most popular article I have written. Great to see that so many people care about capitalisation!
I was talking to a team member the other day about the pros and cons of using sentence case or title case in headings.
Sentence case is when you only capitalise the first letter of the first word in a heading – like you would in a sentence. Proper nouns also have a capital.
With title case you capitalise the first letter of each word.
This Is Title Case.
Even though there isn’t a hard and fast rule over which style is better for the web, my personal preference is for sentence case. Here’s why:
- There is some evidence to show that the use of capital letters slows the ability for people to scan content – it breaks the flow.
- Sites that use title case often use it inconsistently. Sometimes You Get This. But Sometimes you Get This. Sentence case is far easier to teach, implement and apply quality control. (Great if you’ve got a decentralised authoring model.)
- Breadcrumbs in sentence case are far easier to scan – you can easily see the different levels of navigation. For example: Home > About us> Corporate profile > Management team.
- If you do a lot of work for government or universities, there is a trend towards minimal capitalisation for all publishing – a style that they carry to the web.
Edited to add: Since writing this article I’ve still pushed for sentence case in all the projects I’ve worked on. As we create a content ecosystem of web copy, customer service copy, UI and UX copy (and everything else), it’s far easier to keep things consistent with sentence case. Try it and see.