How to Capitalize Headings and Titles

Business documents are often broken up into sections for clarity and organization. Each of those sections will have a title, heading, or subheading. There are correct formats regarding capitalization for these titles and headings. Just follow these simple rules.

  1. Capitalize the first word of the title or heading.
  2. Capitalize the last word of the title or heading.
  3. All other words are capitalized unless they are conjunctions (and, or, but, nor, yet, so, for), articles (a, an, the), or prepositions (in, to, of, at, by, up, for, off, on).
    • According to the Chicago Manual of Style and the Modern Language Association (MLA) Handbook, no prepositions (regardless of length) are capitalized unless they are the first or last word of the title or heading.
    • The Gregg Reference Manual: is a bit more specific: Capitalize all words of four or more letters.
    • Be sure to check to see which style manual the company is following, assuming they do follow one. If they are using Chicago or MLA, you would not capitalize prepositions like "through" and "after." If they use Gregg, both of those prepositions would be capitalized. There are other style manuals that may have different rules, so be sure to find out what the preferred style is for your business.
Author: Janie Sullivan

Janie Sullivan, MBA, MAEd, has been teaching adult learners for over 20 years. She has taught online over 15 years, specializing in writing, communications, and small business applications. Janie directs the Center for Writing Excellence where she offers writing, editing, and formatting services for writers. She has been published in several newspapers and magazines as well as multiple online sites. She teaches communication, business strategy, leadership, and management courses. Janie has published a book "Develop and Deliver an Online Class." This is the third book she has written about writing and teaching online. She also has published a novel and an anthology of short stories.

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