AP style says to use a hyphen when writing 3-D, and capitalize the D like so.
Personally, I don’t care for this spelling. Usually, words with hyphens need the punctuation for clarification reasons. I’d prefer simply 3D because I think the term is popular enough, in light of all the 3-D product releases, that it won’t be confused with anything else — let me know if you think otherwise.
I hope the Associated Press will change their take on this soon, because it is simply a waste of space and effort, pressing that extra key in every 3-D phrase. Think about it: 3-D TV, 3-D movies, 3-D games — are those really necessary?
To be fair, I feel obligated to mention another entity with which you might confuse the abbreviation: The 3D’s, which was a band from New Zealand that toured with the likes of Nirvana. They were created in 1988 and broke up in 1997. They called themselves The 3D’s because all three (and later, four) members’ names started with D.
If the Associated Press is honoring the difference between The 3D’s and 3D by providing a distinctive hyphen in middle, I respectfully request that we finish shedding our tears over the band’s break-up and move on to ditching that hyphen.
Does anyone else have a gripe with AP style they like to share?