Posted by: Jack Henry | January 13, 2017

Editor’s Corner: Type or Enter?

When I’m editing a document, one of the most common questions I get is, “On page 1, you changed the word type to enter. On page 2, you changed the word enter to type. Which is correct?”

It may seem like I’m flipping a coin (or adding some variety to spice up your writing), but the Symitar Style Guide actually has a rule about when to use type and when to use enter.

If you’re telling the reader exactly what to type, use the word type.

Example: In the City field, type San Diego.

If you’re describing what kind of information to enter, use the word enter.

Example: In the City field, enter the name of your city.

You’ve probably heard a joke similar to the following:

Speaker A: Say your name.

Speaker B: Your name.

This is (allegedly) funny when it happens in a movie, but it’s frustrating to come across such ambiguities in technical writing. Most people in this situation would say (for example) “John” or “Jane,” but there is room for misunderstanding.

We try to help readers in two ways. In addition to using different verbs, we use bold text to indicate that the reader should type something exactly as shown (like San Diego in the previous example).

Ben Ritter | Technical Editor | Symitar®
8985 Balboa Avenue | San Diego, CA 92123
619-682-3391 | or ext. 763391 |

Symitar Documentation Services

NOTICE: This electronic mail message and any files transmitted with it are intended
exclusively for the individual or entity to which it is addressed. The message,
together with any attachment, may contain confidential and/or privileged information.
Any unauthorized review, use, printing, saving, copying, disclosure or distribution
is strictly prohibited. If you have received this message in error, please
immediately advise the sender by reply email and delete all copies.


  1. […] weeks ago, I explained when to use the verb type and when to use enter. To […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: