Splunk® Style Guide

Splunk Style Guide

The guidelines in the Splunk Style Guide establish best practices for writing technical documentation. Search docs.splunk.com to find documentation related to Splunk products.


Make the point in each of your sentences without using parentheses. Don't use parentheses in place of commas, to enclose a complete sentence, or to include unnecessary information or an afterthought.

Don't write a lowercase "s" or "es" in parentheses, "(s)" or "(es)", after a noun to indicate both singular and plural. Choose the best option for your documentation. See Plurals in parentheses for more guidance and examples.

You can use parentheses in the following cases:

  • To introduce an acronym
  • To enclose a symbol
  • For optional steps in a task
  • In SPL commands and functions


You can use parentheses to introduce an abbreviation, such as an acronym or initialism. For more guidance on introducing abbreviations in your content, see Abbreviations.

Review the following table for an example of how to offset an abbreviation with parentheses:

Do this Don't do this
Use the Splunk Search Processing Language (SPL) to search your data. Use SPL (the Splunk Search Processing Language) to search your data.


Use parentheses to enclose a symbol after spelling it out. See the following example:

Do this Don't do this
Begin the line with a forward slash ( / ). Begin the line with a forward slash, /.

Optional steps in tasks

You can use parentheses when explaining that a step is optional in a task. See the following example:

Do this Don't do this
  1. (Optional) Provide the context for the task in a new paragraph.
  • Optional: Provide the context for the task in a new paragraph.
  • Provide the context for the task in a new paragraph (optional).

SPL commands and functions

You can use parentheses when writing about 1 or more fields in statistical commands and charting functions for SPL. See the following examples:

  • Use with earliest(x) and latest(x) to calculate the rate of increase.
  • The atahn(x) function computes the arc hyperbolic tangent of x radians.
Last modified on 09 July, 2024
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This documentation applies to the following versions of Splunk® Style Guide: current, current

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