Writing numbers in business documents
Posted on 19 September 2014 by Lucy Gregory
There are so many circumstances in which you write numbers at work that we can’t cover them all here. However, the general principles below (or slight variations) are common to many writing style guides.
Standard rules for writing numbers
Spell out numbers under 10
Use figures for numbers 10 and above
When mixing high and low numbers in one sentence, it can look more consistent to use figures for all numbers
We’re 3 months into our 18-month development programme.
This will depend on the context though.
Exceptions to the standard rules
Write decimals and percentages in figures
Write measurements, dates, times, ages and years in figures
5 years old
The year 1986
Write fractions in letters
Write million and billion in letters
12 million inhabitants
twelve million inhabitants
It is common, although not essential, to write a number at the beginning of a sentence in letters
Forty-three delegates attended the meeting.
Where you have two numbers next to each other, write one of them as letters and the other as figures
This new stunning development features four 2-bed properties, eleven 3-bed properties and five 4-bed properties.
Joe ordered fourteen 5-seater minivans.
Final thought on writing numbers
Sometimes figures have more impact than letters, so you might decide to bend these rules for article headings, brochures and other marketing material.
For example: 5 top tips for writing the perfect email
Just make sure you’re consistent throughout your documents.