Numbers and measurements

Numbers are easier to read on a screen than words, so use them where possible.


Use digits instead of words for most numbers. This makes numbers easier to read on a screen.

Use words for:

  • common expressions where digits would look strange — for example, ‘one or two of them’
  • ordinals (first, second) but not dates and date periods (19th century)

Add a comma between the third and fourth digit from the right, for numbers 10,000 and above.

Use the word million instead of digits.

Example of


  • 1 to 9 — not one to nine
  • one or two of them
  • 10 to 9999
  • 10,000 to 1 million
  • first, second, third
  • 100s of them
  • 5kg
  • 50KB
  • 10am
  • $2
  • 75%
  • Section 10
  • 19th century
  • 1980s
  • 25 people went to the launch

Abbreviate thousand, million, billion and trillion in headings, tables and graphics.

Example of

abbreviating large numbers

  • 1k
  • 2m
  • 3bn
  • 4tn

Use digits at the beginning of a line, bulleted item or sentence.

Example of

using digits at the start of a line

We are cataloging the collection. 19th century works of art are the focus.


Don’t punctuate dates.

Example of

punctuating dates

Like this:

Tuesday 8 October 2016

Not this:

8th October, 2016

Use numbers for date periods.

Example of

punctuating date periods

Like this:

19th century

Not this:

Nineteenth century

Use ‘to’ in time and date ranges — not hyphens or en dashes.

Example of

punctuating date ranges

We are open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.

This will take 10 to 15 minutes.

We published the annual report for the 2015 to 2016 financial year.

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Hours and minutes

Example of

punctuating time

  • 9am
  • 9:30am
  • 19:45
  • The race took 9 hours and 15 minutes.

Write 12 noon and 12 midnight instead of 12pm or 12am to avoid confusion.

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Per cent

Use % when using a digit.

Example of

writing per cent


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Phone numbers

Use spaces to help people read phone numbers.

Example of

phone numbers

  • 02 5550 0000 — interstate phone numbers, not (02) 5550 0000
  • 61 2 7010 0000 — Australian landline numbers dialed from overseas
  • 0491 570 156 — mobile numbers
  • 61 491 570 156 — Australian mobile numbers dialed from overseas
  • 1300 975 707 or 1800 160 401 or 1900 654 321 — 10 digit numbers
  • 13 13 13 — 6 digit numbers

Use a link to allow users on a mobile device to call phone numbers.

Use tel:[phone number] as the URL. Remove spaces between the numbers.

Remember all web pages can be accessed internationally. Include the international dialling prefix if appropriate.

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Measurement and weights

Spell out measurements when not using a number.

Example of

writing kilometres

How many kilometres did they travel?

Abbreviate measures when using a number. Do not put a space between number and measure.

Example of

writing numbers with measures

  • 6cm
  • 6kg
  • 6kJ
  • 6km/h — not 6kph
  • 6kW

Abbreviate measures in headings, tables and graphics, with or without a number.

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For temperatures use °C and °F.

Example of

writing temperature

A temperature of 2°C is about the same as 36°F.

How to type the degree symbol:

  • Windows: hold down the Alt key, type 0176 on the numeric keypad then release the Alt key
  • Mac: hold Option + Shift keys and type 8
  • HTML: °
  • Google Docs: go to ‘Insert’, ‘Special characters’ and select ‘Symbol’ and ‘Miscellaneous’
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