Abbreviations and symbols. Using abbreviations

    The content of these guidelines is taken from the third edition of the Vives University Network’s Interuniversity Style Guide for Writing Institutional Texts, an interuniversity project in which the UPC participates with the support of the Secretariat for Universities and Research of the Government of Catalonia.


    Using acronyms and initialisms

    • If a term occurs frequently in a text, accompany the term by its abbreviation the first time the term occurs and just use the abbreviation in all further references.

      Our faculty's internal quality assurance system (IQAS) is modelled on the document 'European Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area' (ESGs) and each academic year all IQAS results are subject to an external review which considers those ESGs on an individual basis.

    • On the other hand, if the term only occurs once in the text, there is usually no need to give the abbreviation at all.

      Our faculty's internal quality assurance system (IQAS) is modelled on the document 'European Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area' (ESGs). This year we have also added six new courses. The first of these…

    • Note, too, that terms in the title of a text should not be accompanied by their abbreviation. However, there are texts in which you should add an abbreviation after a term even though the term only occurs once. One case is legal texts, where for the sake of precision and clarity the abbreviation is as important to include as the full term.

      I hereby award this diploma to the student Joan Puig Peralta for having successfully completed the examinations organised by the University School of Nursing (EUI-UB) for the programme in Palliative Care.
      The University of Barcelona Virtual Museum (MVUB) declines any liability resulting from the incorrect use of this website.

    • Another case is a text in which the full term is not as useful to the reader as the abbreviation. In some institutions, for example, writers often translate the full names of organisations to help non-native readers but those translations are not used by other institutions. In such cases, the original-language abbreviation becomes particularly important for the reader as an identifier, as in the example of the Centre de Recerca d'Alta Muntanya (CRAM) below.

      The Centre for Mountain Research (CRAM) is a leading institute that promotes practical and theoretical research into the natural environment of the Pyrenees in aquatic systems and in records of environmental fluctuation and biodiversity.

    • A further case is a text in which the full term is not as reliable as the abbreviation. On the web, for example, a research organisation called the Centre de Recursos de Biodiversitat Animal is variously rendered as the Animal Biodiversity Resource Centre, the Resource Centre for Animal Biodiversity and the Centre for Resources in Animal Biodiversity. In such cases, add the full term's official abbreviation (in this case, CRBA) even after an isolated reference.

    • Finally, however, do not use abbreviations simply because they make a text look more official and without considering whether the reader really has anything to gain by them.

      I would like to express my gratitude to you and your colleagues for having invited our institution to the Third International Exhibition and Conference on Higher Education (IECHE 2012).


      Using contractions and truncations: lists of additional information

      • Contractions and truncations are generally used in headers, footnotes, endnotes, tables and text boxes.
      • For a list of the contractions, truncations and initialisms that are most commonly used in formal language, see Common contractions, truncations and initialisms.


      Using contractions and truncations: truncated forms as codes or symbols

      • Truncated forms used as codes or symbols do not take points.

        EN (English) kg (kilogram)


        Using contractions and truncations: full words or contractions in Latin

        • Certain Latin forms do not take a point because they are full words. Likewise, full words within Latin phrases do not require a point.

          sic et al.

        • The Latin form numero is abbreviated to no., which includes the point to aviod confusion.


        Using contractions and truncations: abbreviating people's names

        • Abbreviate people's first names with a single letter only, followed by a point and a space.

          Philippe Junot P. Junot
          Theodore Roosevelt T. Roosevelt

        • Write multiple initials with points and spaces.

          Elwyn Brooks White E. B. White

          • Represent compound first names by both initials.

            Joan Manuel Serrat
            Jean-Paul Sartre
            J. M. Serrat
            J.-P. Sartre


          Using contractions and truncations: lower-case truncations

          • Note that some common truncations are never written in upper case, even at the beginning of a footnote.

            c. (circa)
            l., ll. (line, lines)
            e.g. ('for example')
            p., pp. (page, pages)
            i.e. ('that is')


          Using contractions and truncations: use of Article

            • Note that the word Article may be abbreviated to Art. in footnotes or tables, but should not be abbreviated in running text.


          Using contractions and truncations: use of etc.

          • Only use etc. at the end of a series of examples and never at the end of a series introduced by the words like, for example or such as.