When we sign in to our online bank we often use our social security number which from the government has a dash in it. As in YYMMDD-XXXX (for Swedish). And when we want to transfer money from our account to another account, the number contains dots(.) and dashes(-).

But should they be typed by the user when entering numbers only, or should they be left out?

  • 2
    To avoid annoyance, I think you should let the user type/paste the numbers with any tokens in them e.g. {"-", " "}, then filter them out when processing them. – Danny Varod Jul 25 '15 at 9:21
  • @DannyVarod Care to extend the comment to an answer? I'd love to hear more on your reasoning. Thank you – Benny Skogberg Jul 25 '15 at 10:20
  • Try copying a phone number or a serial number with tokens into a field that does not accept non numeric characters, you will feel the annoyance. – Danny Varod Jul 26 '15 at 11:05

I believe that this is well covered by the Forgiving Format pattern. In a nutshell, it says that various dividers and separators might make it easier for a user to read the number and to double-check that the number is indeed correct, but the input field must be smart enough to also accept it without dividers, or with different types of dividers - dots, slashes, spaces etc.

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