International Standards and Conformity Assessment for all electrical, electronic and related technologies
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Purpose or rationale

Notes are used for giving additional information intended to assist the understanding or use of the text of the document. The document shall be usable without the notes.


For rules on notes to figures, see Figures > Specific principles and rules > Notes to figures.


For rules on notes to tables, see Tables > Specific principles and rules > Notes to tables.


Notes to entry (in terminological entries) follow different rules from those for notes, see Subdivisions of the document > Terms and definitions > Specific principles and rules..



Notes do not have a title.


Numbering and subdivision

Within a given clause or subclause, notes shall be numbered sequentially. The numbering restarts at each new subdivision. A single note in a subdivision need not be numbered.



Notes need not be specifically referred to in the text.
If notes are referred to, use for example, the following forms for references:

  • "an explanation is provided in 7.1, Note 2";
  • "see 8.6, Note 3".

Specific principles and rules

Notes shall not contain requirements (e.g. use of "shall", see Table 3) or any information considered indispensable for the use of the document, for example instructions (imperative mood), recommendations (e.g. use of "should", see Table 4) or permission (e.g. use of "may", see Table 5). Notes should be written as a statement of fact.





Correct example of the use of a note:


"Each label shall have a length of between 25 mm and 40 mm and a width of between 10 mm and 15 mm.


NOTE The size of the label was chosen so that it will fit most sizes of syringe without obscuring the graduation marks."



Incorrect examples of the use of a note:


NOTE In this context a part shall be regarded as a separate document …

"shall" constitutes a requirement

NOTE Alternatively, test at a load of …

"test" constitutes a requirement, expressed here in the form of an instruction using the imperative

NOTE Where a laboratory is part of a larger organization, the organizational arrangements should be such that departments having conflicting interests …

"should" constitutes a recommendation

NOTE Individuals may have more than one function …

"may" constitutes a permission