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

#
Preferred

Use close as a catchall term for a dismissal action. It can also reference OS-specific patterns.

Whenever possible, use workflow-specific verbs (e.g., publish, export, delete) to reinforce the action being taken, instead of the more generic close, finish, or OK.

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 close affordance (typically, a cross icon) if appropriate to the component, to indicate dismissal.

done

#
Use with caution

Close and finish are preferred over done for a dismissal call to action. In general, stick to verbs (like close) over adjectives (like done) to label actions — verbs more clearly reflect whatever action the user is taking.

Use done as an acknowledgment or call to action for a standalone button in a modal, dialog, or overlay when it wouldn’t make sense for the context to use finish, close, or OK. Done conveys finality, allowing users to signal that they no longer want to interact with a given element.

drag and drop

#
Use with caution

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

edit in

#
Avoid

See open in.

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

enable / disable

#
Avoid

These terms are needlessly technical to convey the more straightforward on / off. Use turn on / turn off to refer to the actions of activating and deactivating a capability or mode.

export

#
Preferred

Use export when a file will be saved in a different format than it was created in. If the file will be opened as-is in a different app than it was created in, use open in.

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

Use finish in headlines, body copy, or metadata to describe the completion of a user-invoked process or flow.

Finish can be used for the last step of interactive learning experiences. Use it strategically in user-driven experiences, not for things that launch automatically.

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.

launch

#
Avoid

When referring to apps or services or an aspect thereof (e.g., a new window), open is the preferred action.

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.

load

#
Use with caution

Preferred for messages like Loading…, Loading {appName}…, Can’t load page, or similar.

Use open as an action in reference to an app or service or an aspect thereof (e.g., Open {appName}, Open a new window).

lock / unlock

#
Preferred

To lock something is to freeze it at the current moment in time and prevent changes to its contents. When something is locked, objects associated with it can’t be selected or altered. To unlock something allows a user to select and edit it.

These actions are usually represented in the interface via an open or closed padlock icon.

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.

open

#
Preferred

Use open as an action in reference to file, app, service, or an aspect thereof (e.g., Open a new window).

open in

#
Preferred

Open in is preferred over edit in, view in, comment in or similar because it is secondary action-agnostic and doesn’t guess at what the user might want to do (e.g., edit, view, review, comment).

Secondary actions can be referenced in supporting copy if necessary for a particular flow or context (e.g., “This file is view only on web. To make edits or leave comments, open it in the desktop app”).

If the app context is clear (e.g., the user is in Photoshop web and wants to open something on Photoshop desktop), it’s preferred to say, Open in {surface} app (e.g., “Open in desktop app”) for the call to action.

If the app context will change (e.g., the user is in Photoshop web and wants to open something on Illustrator desktop), it’s preferred to say, Open in {appName} {surface} and drop app (e.g., “Open in Illustrator desktop”) for the call to action.

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).

preferences

#
Use with caution

For both web and mobile apps, treat preferences as a subset of settings and in menu names, call out the type of settings (e.g., Preferences may be found under App settings or Account settings).

A user can customize, choose, or select preferences for various things within a settings menu rather than setting their preferences.

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.

redline

#
Avoid

Redline is a common design term that has roots in racism and oppression. To refer to the details, parameters, or attributes of a design that are communicated to engineers for implementation, use specifications or specs instead.

refresh

#
Preferred

Use refresh as the action to view page or screen updates, or to fix issues (e.g., “Refresh this page and contact support if the issue persists”).

relaunch

#
Avoid

Restart is the preferred action for any hardware, process, app, or service, regardless of desktop, mobile, or web surface context.

reload

#
Use with caution

There may be a technical reason why we’d want to use reload, but for most use cases we can say things like Refresh this page, Restart the app, and so on.

restart

#
Preferred

Use restart as an action in reference to an app, service, device, process, or workflow.

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.

settings

#
Preferred

In menu names, describe the type of settings (e.g., App settings, Account settings). See also preferences.

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

Use start as an action in reference to a device, process, or workflow.

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.

switch on / switch off

#
Use with caution

Turn on / turn off is preferred over switch on / switch off because it's a more general and accessible way of referring to the actions of activating and deactivating a capability or mode.

Only use switch on / switch off when there is a need to refer to a switch UI component directly in interface copy. In these rare cases, the action/verb should closely match the component/noun.

The phrase “switch between modes” is OK to use.

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.

template

#
Preferred

A template is a document that has been pre-formatted or contains pre-formatted elements so that a user doesn’t have to start from scratch. Use template rather than starter file or other jargon for templates.

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.

toggle

#
Avoid

Jargon used as a verb to describe the action of switching between two modes, or used as a noun to describe the button or switch for going between two modes.

To make accessible products, do not reference UI elements. If you need to refer to this design element or what it does in your product, write around describing its appearance and instead talk about its function. View turn on / turn off.

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.

turn on / turn off

#
Preferred

Use turn on / turn off to refer to the actions of activating and deactivating a capability or mode.

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.