In-product word list

What words to use in Adobe’s in-product experiences, and when.

Using this resource#


Consistent language builds user trust and strengthens their knowledge that a product is meeting their needs. Using inconsistent vocabulary across Adobe’s apps and products can be confusing to users, and it makes it harder for those creating education and documentation. Below is a list of words that we either recommend using, or suggest avoiding.

For capitalization guidance, view the Grammar and mechanics page for the UX writing style guide. Keep in mind that some terms are branded and follow Adobe Brand Guidelines for styling and usage.

This list is regularly updated and is by no means complete. If you have any questions or seek clarity on any words on this list, you can email us.


Word or PhraseStatusUsage Notes

add

#
Use with caution

In Creative Cloud products, to "add” is to bring already existing assets into a certain browser or view. In Experience Cloud products, this word is reserved for images.

For example:

  • Add PNG
  • Add images, fonts, styles, and more to a library to keep what you need nearby.

Avoid using the word “add” for the action of inviting people to a document or other shareable resource.

app

#
Preferred

“App” is preferred over “application” for the sake of brevity, simplicity, and because “app” is so widely used now to describe both desktop and mobile software applications.

application

#
Use with caution

“App” is preferred over “application” for the sake of brevity, simplicity, and because “app” is so widely used now to describe both desktop and mobile software applications.

asset

#
Use with caution

Jargon for any file, element, or content that a user needs to complete their goal, as well as the output of completing that goal.

At Adobe, this includes things such as desktop-synced files, mobile creations, Creative Cloud libraries, images, fonts, colors, gradients, or CSS information.

“Asset” is a generic word and has multiple meanings which can be conflicting or ambiguous. For example, there are “assets” that are part of a creative agency workflow, and there are “assets” to describe a generic grouping of disparate items.

Try to avoid using this word if possible. Instead, be more specific and describe what something is, such as a “video” or an “illustration.” If you can’t, proceed with “asset.”

auto-

#
Use with caution

Avoid using this prefix whenever possible and spell out the words instead (e.g., “automatically install,” not “auto-install”).

Make exceptions to this rule when necessary to adhere to space constraints on mobile, or when “auto-” is part of a tool’s name (e.g., "auto-crop," "auto-tone").

These instances are acceptable and can stand alone as a verb:

  • auto-update
  • auto-play
  • auto-animate
  • auto-save
  • auto-target
  • auto-analyze

Do not use the following:

  • auto-create
  • auto-group, auto-grouping
  • automagically
  • auto-smart tone

begin

#
Preferred

Preferred for descriptive text. For a call-to-action, use “start.”

blacklist

#
Avoid

This word has roots in racism and oppression. Replace it with this format to provide contextual clarity:

(Action)(object)

For example:

  • “Blocked users”
  • “Prohibited IP addresses”

button

#
Preferred

When referring to a specific button in an interface, try to refer to the action (e.g, "undo," "edit") rather than naming the button.

If you need to refer to the interface element directly, capitalize and bold the name of the button but not the word “button” itself (e.g., "Undo button," "Edit button").

click

#
Avoid

Avoid instructing a user to “click” or “tap.” Instead, use a call-to-action and the right design component to imply the interaction. View “select.”

When you need to refer to the result of clicking on something, use the same words as the call-to-action.

close

#
Use with caution

Use “close” in reference to OS-specific patterns, but avoid in general as a call-to-action. View "OK" and “done.”

continue / cancel

#
Preferred

Use “continue” and “cancel” as dual actions in workflows where there is only one way to move forward and it’s not possible to skip or go back steps.

current version / previous version

#
Avoid

When referring to apps, "latest version" / "older version" is preferred.

dismiss

#
Avoid

Avoid using “dismiss” as an action to signify acknowledgement or completion. Use “OK” instead.

This word can be acceptable in rare cases of when the action being taken is a “hard dismiss,” or the equivalent of a user communicating that they do not want to be shown something ever again. If possible, show an icon-only (“X”) affordance if appropriate to the component, to indicate dismissal.

done

#
Use with caution

Use “done” as an acknowledgment or dismissal call-to-action for a standalone button in a modal, dialog, or overlay when it wouldn’t make sense for the context to use “OK” or “close." With “done,” there’s the sentiment that the action is final or that a user isn’t likely going to be interested in interacting with the element again.

For workflows, it’s often more helpful to use any specific workflow-specific actions (e.g., “Publish,” “Export,” “Delete”) to hint at a confirmation that an action is being put into motion, instead of the more generic “done,” “finish,” or “OK.”

In a process with a set number of steps, use “done” instead of “finish” when someone reaches the end and wants to close or dismiss the view in order to exit the flow. View "finish."

drag and drop

#
Use with caution

Instructions for interactions should use the same words that the OS does.

embed

#
Preferred

Placing an embedded file means that it is no longer connected to the original source file. This saves a static copy of the file’s content into the destination file.

For example:

  • Embed a PDF as an image layer in Fresco
  • Place an image as an embedded object to save a copy right here in your Photoshop file.
  • Place as embedded

feature

#
Use with caution

A single, outcome-oriented functionality of a product or service. Determining if something is a “feature” happens through a partnership between product, marketing, and branding. This word should not be used to mean “everything in a product.”

file name

#
Preferred

Two words. Use instead of one word, “filename,” in user-facing content. A “filename” is the technical name that a file system creates (and includes the file type extension). The “file name” is the name for the file that a user creates.

file type

#
Preferred

Two words. Use instead of one word, “filetype," to refer to file formats such as PNG, JPEG, PDF, PSD, AI, PSDC, etc.

finish

#
Preferred

Only use “finish” in headlines, body copy, or metadata to describe the completion of a process or flow. This word should not be used as a call-to-action. View "done."

got it

#
Avoid

“Got it” is overly colloquial. Use "OK" instead.

import

#
Use with caution

In most Creative Cloud products, this word means to convert a file to a different format to open it in an application.

For Adobe’s video products, “import” has a broader definition, encompassing “add” and “place.” This is because people using these products collect files of different formats into a single view, and then those are converted or “ingested” as links to improve machine performance.

For example:

  • Learn more about the supported file formats you can import in Premiere Pro.
  • Go to File > Import to open a Sketch file in XD.

In Experience Cloud products, “import” can refer to adding data sources to a view. View "add."

latest version / older version

#
Preferred

Preferred over “current version" / "previous version” when referring to apps.

link

#
Preferred

Placing a linked file turns it into a reference to the original source file. Changes made to the placed content in the destination file or to the original source file will be reflected and updated automatically in both locations.

For example:

  • Go to File > Place > Linked object to make changes to the Photoshop file from here.
  • Place a linked PDF if you want it to be updated automatically when you edit the PDF.

long press

#
Use with caution

Instructions for interactions should use the same words that the OS does.

master

#
Avoid

“Master” is an established software term that has roots in bigotry and oppression. Do not use “master” descriptors to mean “primary,” “main,” or “source” (e.g., “main track” or “source graphic”).

Do not use “master” to describe hierarchy, (e.g., “master” and “slave” servers). Instead, describe hierarchical relationships as “primary, secondary, tertiary," etc.

More menu

#
Preferred

In interface language, try not to directly refer to the ellipsis (“…”) contextual menu that provides more options. If you need to refer to it directly, call it the “More menu.”

Bold the word “More” and capitalize it; “menu” is lowercase, not bolded.

name

#
Preferred

Another word for “file.” Do not use “title” to mean “name.”

next / back

#
Preferred

Use “next” and “back” in workflows (e.g., tours, tasks) where someone would be going back and forth in the flow.

next / previous

#
Preferred

Use “next” and “previous” for pagination (e.g., pages of search results).

OK

#
Preferred

Use “OK” as a primary action for acknowledgement if taking that action will not impact a user in a negative way. Style in all-caps no matter the interface element, not as “Ok,” “ok,” “Okay,” or “okay.” Avoid using “dismiss” as an action.

Be mindful of using “OK” as an action in flows that involve a user agreeing to options that require payment, or for giving consent. Instead, use more specific verbs and explicitly communicate what someone is acknowledging or agreeing to.

OS

#
Preferred

Abbreviation of “operating system.” It's also acceptable to spell out the full term, if needed for extra clarity.

panel

#
Use with caution

Avoid referring to the names of interface elements in UI content unless absolutely necessary; describe the action, rather than the interaction.

You can describe something as a “panel” if it’s a centralized collection of multiple tools, options, or other controls that has a fixed placement and could be collapsible as a navigational element (as opposed to being a temporary view).

pinch

#
Use with caution

Instructions for interactions should use the same words that the OS does.

place

#
Preferred

“Placing” brings content (e.g., images, other files) from an original source into a destination file.

For example:

  • You can place an Illustrator file into your XD layout.
  • One way to bring an image into your Photoshop file is to go to File > Place.

Things can be placed as linked or embedded files.

platform

#
Use with caution

A platform is a technology or group of technologies that are used as a base upon which other applications, processes, technologies, or even other platforms are developed. This word is used to communicate the concept of a centralized, foundational infrastructure (as opposed to a "system," which is a grouping of things that work together in the same place).

Usage of this word is extremely dependent on context. It can describe where something appears, where something is stored, or a product itself:

  • A tech framework (e.g., UXP)
  • Hardware and devices (e.g., mobile, tablet, desktop)
  • Operating systems (e.g., Android, iOS)
  • Adobe products (e.g., Adobe Experience Platform)

please

#
Preferred

Use in an instructional way, and in error messages when asking a user to do an action that requires significant effort or time (e.g., “Please provide feedback,” “Please reload the page”).

plugin

#
Preferred

One word, with no hyphen (not: “plug-in”).

press

#
Use with caution

Instructions for interactions should use the same words that the OS does.

program

#
Avoid

Use “app” instead.

quit

#
Avoid

Avoid this word especially as a call-to-action because it is platform-specific. While you can “quit” on MacOS, you can “exit” or “close” on Windows.

“Quit” can be used generally as a reference to this action on MacOS.

recommend, recommendation

#
Preferred

Use “recommend” (verb) and “recommendation” (noun) for when a human is doing the action (e.g., “We recommend backing up your work before sharing”).

To “suggest” or make a “suggestion” is the preferred way to describe when AI or other technology is doing the action.

scroll

#
Use with caution

Instructions for interactions should use the same words that the OS does.

see

#
Avoid

In order to be more inclusive, avoid using the word “see.” Use the word “view” instead. For example, instead of “See all results,” say “View all results.”

select

#
Preferred

“Select” is the preferred gestural word over “click” or “tap” for several reasons:

  • It’s device-agnostic, meaning that it’s not necessary to write a new string for different devices.
  • It’s more inclusive because many people using assistive technology aren’t clicking or tapping to take an action.
  • It guards against future design changes and surface migrations. For example, if a UI element stops being “clickable” and instead uses a slider, the word “select” would still work for both cases.

service

#
Preferred

Describes content, components, data, and/or dynamic features. At Adobe, this word is used contextually across many things (e.g., plugins, cloud storage, search, help) to describe “something that Adobe offers.”

A service may be something that is contained to a single product or experience, or something that is available across multiple offerings. It’s often designed for a use case that relies on the functionality of a platform.

skip

#
Preferred

OK to use as a call-to-action in stepped flows, such as a coach mark series.

software

#
Use with caution

Programs and other services that are used by a device. Only use “software” when the words “app,” “service,” or “product” are not sufficient for the use case.

solution

#
Use with caution

Jargon. “Solution” is often used interchangeably with “app” or “product,” and can describe something that integrates into a larger whole. It’s often used to talk about something descriptively in terms of its use case (instead of its product or feature name) as a way to achieve a goal or complete an intent.

However, people may feel excluded by this word; if something is described as a “solution” and it doesn’t work for someone, they could feel that they themselves are the “problem.” Instead of using the noun solution, frame the message using active verb phrases such as solve, help solve, try to solve, or helps (someone) do (something).

sorry

#
Use with caution

Only use the word “sorry” in error messaging scenarios where the error causes a major interruption and inconvenience for a user (e.g., needing to restart their device, if work they had saved was lost).

space

#
Preferred

The amount of room available. “Space” refers to this concept on a local machine or device (e.g., “You don’t have enough space on your computer to save this file”).

“Storage” is the word for this in the cloud (e.g., “Your Creative Cloud storage is full”).

start

#
Preferred

Preferred over “begin” for calls-to-action. Variations on this call-to-action using the word “start” are also acceptable (e.g., “Start tour”).

storage

#
Preferred

The amount of room available. “Storage” refers to this concept in the cloud (e.g., “Your Creative Cloud storage is full”).

“Space” is the word for this on a local machine or device. (e.g., “You don’t have enough space on your computer to save this file”).

submit

#
Preferred

"Submit" is the preferred word for the action of sending data in a form.

When asking users to share feedback, use “Submit” as the call-to-action, not “Share.”

success, successful, successfully

#
Avoid

Adding “success,” "successful," or "successfully" to a message is usually redundant and unnecessary. For example, say “Your password was reset" instead of “Your password has been reset successfully.”

suggest, suggestion

#
Preferred

Use “suggest” (verb) or “suggestion” (noun) for when AI or other technology — not a human — is doing the action.

To “recommend” or make a “recommendation” is the preferred way to describe when a human is doing the action.

swipe

#
Avoid

Instructions for interactions should use the same words that the OS does. Reserving "swipe” actions for intuitive actions in-line with the mobile OS should make it unnecessary to use this word in UI copy.

tab

#
Preferred

When referring to a specific tab in an interface, respect the capitalization of the name of the tab as it appears in the UI but don’t capitalize the word “tab.” Bold the name of the tab but not the word “tab” (e.g., “Learn tab,” “Your Work tab,” “Apps tab”).

tap

#
Use with caution

If at all possible, avoid instructing a user to “tap” or “click.” Instead, use a call-to-action and the right design component to imply the interaction. View “select.”

When referring to the result of tapping on something, use the same word(s) as the call-to-action. There are some instances where using the word “tap” can't be avoided because of device mechanics, such as selecting points on a tablet.

title

#
Avoid

For field labels, “name” is the preferred word for a file name or for the name of another kind of entity. Do not use “title” to mean “name.”

tool

#
Preferred

When referring to a specific tool in an interface, respect the capitalization of the name of the tool as it appears in the UI but do not capitalize the word “tool.” Bold the name of the tool but not the word “tool” (e.g., “Zoom tool,” “Pen tool,” “Undo tool”).

touch and hold

#
Avoid

Instructions for interactions should use the same words that the OS does.

update

#
Preferred

Unlike an upgrade, an update does not usually require payment (e.g., “Update your browser,” “Update your app”).

upgrade

#
Preferred

Unlike an update, an upgrade usually requires payment (e.g., “Upgrade your plan,” “Upgrade to the full version of Photoshop”).

view

#
Preferred

To be more inclusive, “view” is preferred over the word “see.” For example, say “View all results” instead of “See all results.”

whitelist

#
Avoid

This word has roots in racism and oppression. Replace it with this format to provide contextual clarity:

(Action)(object)

For example:

  • “Shared domains”
  • "Approved users"
  • “Targeted sites”

wifi

#
Preferred

All lowercase, no hyphen or space.