A colon indicates that closely-related information follows.

Introductory phrase preceding colon

When a colon introduces a list, the text that precedes the colon must be able to stand alone as a complete sentence.

Recommended: The fields are defined as follows:

Not recommended: The fields are:

Bold text preceding colon

When non-italic (roman) text that precedes a colon is bold, don't make the colon bold too.

Code text preceding colon

When text that precedes a colon is tagged as <code>, don't include the colon in the <code> tagging unless it is part of the code. For more information about formatting code, see Some specific items to put in code font.

Colons within sentences

In general, the first word in the text that follows a colon should be in lowercase. For exceptions, see Capitalization and colons.

Recommended: Tone: concise, conversational, friendly, respectful

Recommended: When you add or update content to an existing project, remember to take these steps: review the style guide, use checklists, enlist a fellow writer or an editor to copyedit your work, and request a developmental edit if you feel that it's warranted.

See also

For more information about how to punctuate introductory material, see the sections on list introductions and code-sample introductions.

For information about when it's better to use colons than dashes, see Dashes.