Common Number Guidelines Explained

Cover image
Various numbers on a page.

Many things influence whether or not you express numbers in figures or in words. Sometimes it’s your profession, and sometimes it’s the editing style of your organization.

Here are some common number usage guidelines to follow in order to produce consistent documents.

When to use figures:

• in numbers 10 and above
He signed 14 copies of the document.

• for reporting sport scores
The team won with a score of 8 - 12.

• in cases when there are large and small numbers in one list
On our cycling trip we covered 9 km the first day, 13 km the second day, and 21 km the third day.

When to spell out numbers:

• in numbers from 0 – 9
I bought three new chairs for the conference room.

• at the start of a sentence
Twenty-four managers made it to the training session.

• in fractions below 1
He has a five-eighths share of the company earnings.

• in approximations
There were approximately a hundred people at the conference.

Marie Antaya avatar

By Marie Antaya, CTDP

Author of The Eclectic Writing Series.