[⏪ Rewind] 4. Rewind the word

Previous: Naming with a little help from your friends

And so it happened. We finally had a name and some general findings on how to use that name. In the past, I generally throw together a few quick definitions and add that to the Dropbox Manual of Style (our internal Dropbox-wide style guide) terms list.

In this case, the decision was made that Rewind would be part of a much larger launch moment. Meaning a bunch of people across the company would be writing about it, and not everyone is going to dig through a terms list.

My solution was a talk about it doc. The concept is a straightforward doc that anyone can use to make sure they’re talking about the feature consistently—basically this is for marketing, UX writing, help center folks, sales folks, and other people I’ve never even met. So here’s what I put together.

Talking about rewinding with Dropbox Rewind

Learn how to use Dropbox Rewind properly with the outside world! In a few short pages, we guarantee you’ll learn when to use it as a verb, a noun, and a proper noun. Plus if you read now, we’ll also throw in past tense. 


When referring to the feature, capitalize Dropbox Rewind and use it as a noun. When referring to the action, keep rewind lowercase and use it as verb.

General rules

1. Generally, use it as a verb and add a noun

In English, rewind is both a noun and a verb. In some other languages, those are different words. Through user testing, we’ve found that folks generally use rewind as a verb with a noun (e.g., I want to rewind this folder). Don’t use rewind as a noun to refer to a restoration of a folder.

Do🚫 Don’t
✅ Rewind this folder🚫 Start a rewind on this folder
✅ After rewinding a folder…🚫 After a rewind… 

2. You can use it as a noun to refer to the feature

The feature is Dropbox Rewind. So when you must refer to the feature in general, use the complete term on first usage, and then you may use just Rewind as a noun (but remember to capitalize it!). Try to avoid mixing Dropbox Rewind with the verb usage for clarity and to avoid redundancy.

Do🚫 Don’t
✅ Use Dropbox Rewind to get your files back🚫 Rewind your files with Dropbox Rewind.
✅ When a lot went wrong, use Dropbox Rewind. How Rewind works🚫 When a lot went wrong, use rewind. Learn more

3. Always use sentence case with the verb, but always capitalize the noun

To be consistent with all uses, only capitalize Rewind when used as a noun—and remember the noun form should be used only for the feature.

Do🚫 Don’t
✅ Try Dropbox Rewind today!🚫 Try Dropbox rewind today!
✅ Continue rewinding this folder?🚫 Continue Rewinding this folder?

4. When using it as a noun, stick to less opinionated verbs

Ensure that we aren’t introducing two different, opinionated verbs about this feature. Anytime you don’t use rewind as a verb, use a verb that generically references traveling through time.

Do🚫 Don’t
✅ Use Dropbox Rewind to go back in time🚫 Roll back in time with Dropbox Rewind
✅ Send your account back with Dropbox Rewind🚫 Restore your account with Dropbox Rewind

In the past (verb-only)

In English, the past tense version of rewind isn’t commonly used and can sound awkward. Here are some rules to hopefully avoid awkward phrasing. 

1. Generally, avoid past tense

You can often use other words to indicate that a folder has been rewound (e.g., everything is like it was on Oct 21, 2015).

Do🚫 Don’t
✅Welcome back to Oct 21, 2015🚫You rewound this folder to Oct 21, 2015

2. When you must, try it with finished

Try finished rewinding instead.

Do🚫 Don’t
✅ Your folder has finished rewinding🚫 Your folder has been rewound

3. If you have to, go with rewound

Sometimes you must choose a clear way to talk about rewind in the past tense. In those cases, it’s okay to use rewound, but try to use it sparingly.

If you must
✅ Saffron Eveninglilly rewound Presentations

Next: All the words