# Numbers

Numerals are easier to read than words when writing numbers for digital content, but consistency is key.

## Express most numbers in numerals

In most cases, you should write numbers as:

• words for one to nine
• numerals for 10 and above

### Examples

• There were five students on the research team.
• We will delete the records after 11 years.

There are some exceptions, where you should write numbers in words.

## Starting sentences with numbers

If you are using a number to start a sentence, you should write it in words, but it is best to rewrite the sentence.

If you are expressing a compound number, use a hyphen between the different parts.

### Examples

• 'Thirty years ago we built the library building' or 'We built the library building 30 years ago' but not '30 years ago we built the library building'.
• 'Seventy-two out of one hundred students attended' or 'The majority of students (72 out of 100) attended' but not '72 students attended'.

## Sentences with more than one number

If you are  writing about different numbers, with one higher and one lower than ten, you should be consistent and either express all numbers in numerals or words, but not a mixture of both.

### Examples

• 'The class can have between seven and thirteen students' or 'The class can have between 7 and 13 students' but not 'The class can have between seven and 13 students'.
• 'There were less than a thousand computers three years ago' or 'There were less than 1,000 computers 3 years ago' but not 'There were less than 1,000 computers three years ago'.

## Using numbers to indicate purpose

If the information is core to the page purpose, for example if it describes order,  or a list of stages,  or is part of a series of pages to be read together, using a numeral is clearer even if the number is greater than 10.

## Thousand separators

Use a comma and no spaces to separate thousands.

### Examples

• There are 3,500 computers in the University.
• We run a total of 23,000 courses across our different Schools and Colleges.

## Millions and billions

Spell out the words in full wherever possible. Use bn (tagged as billion) and mn (tagged as million) as an abbreviation only if necessary.

### Examples

• There are 3,500 computers in the University.
• We run a total of 23,000 courses across our different Schools and Colleges.
• 'The healthcare budget was less than £10 billion' or 'The healthcare budget was less than £10bn'.
• 'The video was broadcast to 6 million people' or 'The video was broadcast to 6mn people'.

## Ranges

When expressing ranges, either use 'from' 'to' or 'between'. Avoid hyphens as these can cause accessibility problems.

### Examples

• 'Students aged from 18 to 21 can apply' not 'Students aged from 18-21'.
• 'Open days are held between 7 and 9 June' not 'Open days are held 7-9 June'.

Punctuation - more on the use of hyphens