At the company I work at, we follow certain rules for capitalization in titles.
But currently, we're having a discussion whether these rules also apply to labels above input fields in forms.

First name - or - First Name
Last name - or - Last Name
Arrival date - or - Arrival Date
Departure date - or - Departure Date

Opinions are divided and I can't find any articles or grammar rules to rule in favour of one opinion or the other.

I also can't fall back on convention when looking at what other big players do.
Amazon doesn't treat labels as titles and only capitalizes the first word. BestBuy does treat labels as titles and implements the grammar rules linked above.
In the quick search I did, I've seen more companies that don't treat labels as titles than companies that do treat label as titles. But the difference is not that significant to finalize our discussion.

I know the grammar rules mentioned above are more like guidelines, and since it isn't about some important report where the right grammar really matters. Any rule, guideline or strong argument in favour of one of the options is helpful.

So... does anybody know of any rule or guideline. Or have a strong argument that could push us passed this tedious discussion?

2 Answers 2


This is from Microsoft

Title Caps:

Capitalize the first letter of the first and last words. Capitalize the first letter of all words in between, with the exception of articles (a, an, and the); coordinating conjunctions (and, but, for, nor, or, so, and yet); and prepositions of four letters or fewer (at, for, with, into, etc.).

Examples: Insert Object. Go To. Always on Top. By Name

Use title caps for:

  • Button names

  • Column headings

  • Command button labels
  • Floating toolbars
  • Icon labels
  • Menu names and menu commands
  • Palette titles
  • Tab titles

Sentence Caps:

Capitalize only the first letter of the first word, and capitalize only those other words that are normally capitalized in sentences, such as proper nouns.

Examples: Working folder. Print to. Use PostScript driver.

Use sentence caps for:

  • Alternate text (ALT text) used to describe images

  • Check box labels

  • Dialog box introductory or explanatory text

  • File names

  • Group box labels

  • InfoTips

  • List box entries

  • List box labels

  • Messages

  • Option (radio) button labels

  • Status bar tips

  • Text box labels

Additional source might help support your discussion:

User Interface Text

User interface text appears on UI surfaces. This text includes control labels and static text:

  • Control labels identify controls and are placed directly on or next to the controls.

  • Static text, which is so called because it is not part of an interactive control, provides users with detailed instructions or explanations so they can make informed decisions.

Capitalization and Punctuation Guidelines

  • 2
    That's some mighty fine ammunition for me push the discussion in my favour. To don't use capitalization on most words for input labels. Commented Sep 22, 2017 at 8:13
  • Seems like it has changed a bit since 20217. Sentence case seems like the overwheling rule now for Microsoft. learn.microsoft.com/en-us/style-guide/capitalization
    – Baishu
    Commented Nov 10, 2023 at 10:53

When considering capitalization, people like to focus on grammar (which is important), but they should also consider voice and tone, readability, and practicality.

There's lots of articles out there on this, but I'm pro sentence case for readability reasons. It's easier on the eye, easier to spot proper nouns, and it's easier to explain to visual UX folk and developers. Title case has several different versions. I now that in my team, I'm constantly catching title case errors.

Dropbox's John Saito gives a really good summary here on title case versus sentence case.

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