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Microsoft's brand voice : above all, simple and human - Microsoft Style Guide
pallep
pallep
01/19/2018
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non-product-specific

Microsoft's brand voice: Above all, simple and human

There’s what we say, our message. And there’s how we say it, our voice.

What do we mean by voice?

The Microsoft voice is how we talk to people. It’s the interplay of personality, substance, tone, and style.

Though our voice is constant regardless of who we’re talking to or what we’re saying, we adapt our tone—from serious to empathetic to lighthearted—to fit the context and the customer's state of mind.

Three voice principles

Our voice hinges on crisp simplicity. Bigger ideas and fewer words. Less head, more heart.

Our voice is:

  • Warm and relaxed—We’re natural. Less formal, more grounded in real, everyday conversations. Occasionally, we’re fun. (We know when to celebrate.)

  • Crisp and clear—We’re to the point. We write for scanning first, reading second. We make it simple above all.

  • Ready to lend a hand—We show customers we’re on their side. We anticipate their real needs and offer great information at just the right time.

A focus on the customer

Talking to our customers in a way that’s warm and relaxed, crisp and clear, and ready to lend a hand reflects our commitment to empowering people to achieve more.

Style tips

A few key elements of writing Microsoft’s voice:

  • Get to the point fast. Start with the key takeaway. Put the most important thing in the most noticeable spot. Make choices and next steps obvious. Give people just enough information to make decisions confidently. Don’t get in the way.

  • Talk like a person. Choose optimistic, conversational language. Use short everyday words, contractions, and sentence-style capitalization. Shun jargon and acronyms. And never miss an opportunity to find a better word.

  • Simpler is better. Everyone likes clarity and getting to the point. Break it up. Step it out. Layer. Short sentences and fragments are easier to scan and read. Prune every excess word.

Get started

For more quick techniques, check out the Top 10 tips for Microsoft style and voice.

Remember that writing is a skill. If writing isn't a functional role your team has, consider bringing in expert help.