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I need to use the term "software as a service", which is abbreviated as SaaS. (There are other ancillary terms as well like Platform as a Service, Functions as a Service, Infrastructure as a Service and so many more.)

Is there an industry-wide agreed upon consensus to capitalize/hyphenate these when you spell them out? I don't see anything definitive. (And my company style guide unfortunately doesn't have an opinion, which is funny since we're a SaaS company! LOL.)

So far in my searching I've found:

  • software as a service
  • Software as a Service
  • Software-as-a-Service

Some further context I can provide is that I wrote it as "software as a service" in some copy. This fits our style guide in that we only capitalize product names, not features or attributes of products. I'm being corrected to use "Software as a Service", though.

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The correct form is "software as a service." It is simply a phrase that describes the software.

Some people (incorrectly) do things like "Software as a Service" - it seems they "work backwards" from the abbreviated form (SaaS) and use the capitalization from the abbreviated form when spelling it out.

As the title of a section in a document, the regular capitalization rules would apply. Say you have a page titled "Understanding Software as a Service" - that would be capitalized as shown.


Marketroids randomly capitalize everything to "make it look more important." It's wrong, but that's marketing.

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  • I'm going to adopt regular use of "marketroids" going forward (even thought it wasn't one of them who provided this feedback).
    – pchittum
    Aug 25, 2022 at 15:55
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“SaaS” or “Software as a Service” is the correct recognized way of capitalizing, due to the focus on meaningful words and leaving behind the things leading to then. In programming, this is a common practice.

If you are looking for the correctness of the term in reality, SaaS is incorrect, as it doesn't denote the actual thing. As explained by Richard Stallman, "SaaS" is more accurately described as "Service as a Software Substitute" (SaaSS), - using a service as a substitute for running your copy of a program, where you're getting something you should've already had in the first place.

SaaSS is closer to the truth, where SaaS is closer to what's common. In any case, it's not saas or Saas, that's for sure.

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