Automated Article Title Capitalizer

Behind the scenes here at EzineArticles, we’re very data-driven in our decision making and we discovered that a large number of our article QC rejections (when the 2nd human Editor rejects the acceptance of our 1st human Editor’s article approval) were because of “Article Title Violation.”

Meaning: The article title didn’t get the First Character Capitalized in the majority of cases.

So our developers wrote a new routine that intercepts the article title, detects if the first letter of each word is capitalized or not and if not, automatically Capitalizes the first letter. This subtle change improved many of our Editors QC score by a full percentage point.

A few complaints came in that authors didn’t like that we were automatically capitalizing every letter in their article title… so we’re writing a new rule today that will exclude these words from automatic-first-letter-capitalization:

to, is, in, on, it, and, at, by, a, an

…Because our Editorial Guidelines currently state these do not need to be capitalized.

Are there any other letters or short-words we should add to our list of words used in article titles that should not be auto-first-letter-capitalized?

Why do we do this First Letter Capitalized In The Article Title thing?

It’s a site-consistency thing to give our users an experience of congruency of style.


Dave Saunders writes:

I once worked at a company that had a software activation code which was a combination of numbers and capital letters. The #1 tech support issue during installation involved people typing the letters in lower case.

After about a year of this, an engineer added a routine that converted anything typed to uppercase and the phones stopped ringing.


Er, Magic!

Oh whatever. :)

Anyway, kudos for having a code base that is mature enough to expose “fit and finish” issues like this. The change may seem minor, but I see a deeper significance.

Comment provided May 28, 2008 at 5:31 PM


Joanne Sperans writes:

Thank you for not capitalizing prepositions and other (mostly two letter) words. All initial caps makes it difficult to read titles. Please add “the” and “of” to the list. The only exception(s) should be if the word is the first word of the title (e.g., On Golden Pond).



Comment provided May 28, 2008 at 6:00 PM



Hi Chris!

I was one of the authors that complained after seeing the word “And” in my article’s titles, with capital letter…

Now I understand what happened!

Comment provided May 29, 2008 at 6:08 AM



Thanks Joanne.

I’ll speak with our Managing Editor about your proposal…

I think we’re going to wait about a week to collect more member feedback and then fine-tune this feature.

Comment provided May 29, 2008 at 11:41 AM



Hi to all

I wan’t aware that this is a gramma problem.

Me, like many others, are not english native and have grammar problems. So I think that it’s a great help if we will not get into troubles with our article marketing just due to not knowing some details.

I always capitalized all in my titles, but looks like this is not correct.

Greetings G.

Comment provided May 29, 2008 at 4:28 PM


Lance Winslow writes:

Yes, this is fine, but did you know there is another problem, for instance now if you have an acronym in the title like FCC, FAA, FTC, SEC, or USAF or something of this nature the Title program wants to change it to Ftc, Fcc, Faa, Sec, Usaf. and thus, that is another major hurdle, so you need a by-pass for the most common acronyms too. Just a heads up, as it became a problem for me when posting.

Comment provided May 30, 2008 at 2:59 AM




Great point. Our developer team is on it and should have this fine-tuning thing done before the day is over.

Comment provided May 30, 2008 at 9:23 AM


Jeffrey Olchovy writes:

Any possible way to have an author by-pass on this.

For example a check box or radio button for a predefined formatting of the title.

If perchance, one can add emphasis with capitols, and this would solve acronym problems. There seem to be countless acronyms. Any dictionary of acronyms and abbreviation will be sure to miss a few.

While an author bypass selection is not necessary, I can see the good in it.

Comment provided May 30, 2008 at 1:44 PM



I just submitted a article yesterday and it seams that you work on your program.

I had problems to save and preview my article and always needed to go over to the article home, then go back to edit it.

perhaps this has some to do with those updates.

I thought it’s tedious and would like to have a fast as possible interface. I know it’s a free service so just ask if possible.


Comment provided May 30, 2008 at 2:15 PM




You’ve got good points.

From a member usability viewpoint, we don’t want to add to the complexity of the interface for the benefit of a few who may need it.

I’m thinking we could solve this issue by identifying article titles that are 100% all in CAPITOLS to auto-uncapitalize it along with First Letter Capitalization and in article titles that are in Upper/lower case but have a word of 3 or more characters that are in CAPITOLS, to ignore them.

This just got resource expensive and now we’ll go back to the drawing board until we can figure out how to do the above check or include every known acronym that should be allowed to stay in all CAPITOLS.

We love hard problems because they are difficult to solve…thus tests our competitors resolve to keep up with our innovations.

Another way we could solve this is by doing the recommended auto-First Letter Capitalization while you review the article and then giving you a chance to change it and submit it overriding our recommended formatting…

More internal study on our part will be needed for sure…

Comment provided May 30, 2008 at 3:58 PM


Dave Saunders writes:

I think what you have here is the 90/10 rule in effect.

The feature, as it stands, could serve 90% of the usage and probably more than that.

So what if, you made it a semi-automatic feature?

First, ignore anything in ALL CAPS, which is similar to the spell-check option in Word.

Second, put a button near the text box that auto-corrects the case or make it an option you can override, undo, etc. Those who need to spell a word with all caps either don’t use it, or disable the checkbox…depends on how the UI is implemented.

The articles still go through editorial review, but the number of articles that get bounced due to incorrect capitalization goes to near zero.

And again I’ll say that the fact we’re having such discussions about “fit and finish” issues really shows just how darn mature EzineArticles is. :)

Comment provided May 31, 2008 at 9:01 PM




What Not to Capitalize:

Articles: a, an, the

Short prepositions: at, by, for, in, of, on, up, to, with

Conjunctions: and, but, if, or, nor, for, yet

Comment provided June 3, 2008 at 10:45 PM


Randy Carney writes:

I know you wanted to know what words should be added, but I always had a problem with what to with short linking or state-of-being verbs. It seems that the last place I checked said that all verbs, both action and being, should be capitalized. If that is the case, that means the word, “is,” which is on the list, should be capitalized. Of course, there may be other manuals that say it is o.k. not to capitalize it.

That would also mean the short words, “am, is, are, was, and were,” should also be capitalized.
I have no problem if you want to set the policy otherwise. (In fact I often did not capitalize them in the past–Now I’m confused again, ha.)

I don’t mean to complicate things, but since it is something I have trouble with in the pat, I thought I would bring it up.


Comment provided June 10, 2008 at 7:54 AM



All good points.

There are times when what is right grammatically, doesn’t look right visually.

We’re going to double back on this topic in a few weeks after we evaluate some of the changes made to date. Too many changes made too quickly make it difficult to evaluate member feedback and adjust accordingly.

Comment provided June 10, 2008 at 8:19 AM


copter writes:

There are precise rules for what should be capitalized and what shouldn’t be. You can find them at this site along with a tool that automatically formats your titles: It’s pretty nifty for people who tweet a lot, or post blog articles and want their caps to be correct.

Comment provided June 27, 2012 at 11:32 AM


Copter –

Cool tool! Normally we don’t allow self-promotional links, but it this case yours provides a lot of value. Thank you for posting it.

– Marc


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