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Abbreviations: On the web and in print

How do we write abbreviations so that they display appropriately on the web page and in print?

Fourteenth Century Illustrated Letter A

The {abbr|expanded text of the abbreviation} markup is designed for this purpose. On the web, the expanded text of the abbreviation is a tool tip. In print, it is shown in brackets after the abbreviation. For example: OSS.

Sometimes an abbreviation is also an acronym (i.e. pronounced as a word) and set in small caps. For this case, we can combine the abbreviation and small caps markup: {';acronym;'|expanded text of the acronym}. For example: Anzac. Unfortunately, not all Web browsers support the small caps style.

Using the page text variables introduced in PmWiki 2.2, it is possible to define all abbreviations on a single wiki page. We can then use text variable markup to pick up and re-use these definitions wherever they are needed, inside the abbreviation markup.

In a perfect world, we would set capitalised abbreviations, such as OSS or XML, one size smaller than the rest of the text. The backtick-abbreviation markup is a shortcut for this: `PDF produces PDF. Capitals in running prose are like lumps in mashed potatoes.

Category: markup

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Page last modified on 21 February 2008 at 07:14 PM