Microsoft Error Message Guidelines

When you write messages, follow these guidelines:

· Avoid vague wording. Give specific names and locations of the objects involved.

· Avoid “please.” It can be interpreted to mean that a required action is optional.

· Do not refer to implementation details that are invisible to the user. For example, do not refer to the names of functions or objects in the program.

· Avoid phrasing that will seem silly to the user, such as “unexpected error.”

· Avoid using placeholder variables in the middle of a message. They are very hard to localize.

Correct

The name of the object file conflicts with that of another program in the project. File name: %s

Works did not find a match for this term.

Incorrect

You have named the object file with the name of another program in the project. File name: %s

The term you typed does not appear in this Works file.

Source: Manual of Style for Technical Publications