Character limits (also called character caps, length limits, line limits, or length caps) are formal or informal decisions by the editors of a tournament to restrict the length of questions, especially tossups. Character and length limits are common in high school quizbowl and less so in collegiate formats. Proponents of length caps claim that they encourage crisp, clear writing, efficient use of clues rather than non-clue words, and the swift completion of many-round tournaments; opponents of such limits claim that they impede writing more than they help, particularly if the cap is very low in comparison to the usual length of mACF tossups, and may not actually save hosts much time in the running of tournaments when other disturbances (talking between questions, logistical issues, etc.) take up far more time.
- NAQT A-set tossups: 291 characters, incl. spaces
- NAQT IS-set, HSNCT, and Division II tossups: 425 characters, incl spaces
- NAQT Division I tossups: 500 characters, incl. spaces
- ACF Fall tossups: hard cap, six lines of text, 10 point Times-New Roman
- 2010 ACF Winter tossups: cap, seven lines of text, 10 point Times-New Roman (except finals)
- Early Autumn Collegiate Novice: five lines of text for tossups, fewer than 2 for each bonus part
PACE's Question Set Certification Program uses length as one of its criteria for judging a set as "exemplary" or "satisfactory." Tossups are expected to be mostly under 650 characters or six lines of 10-point Times New Roman in length, and bonus parts are not to be longer than 200 characters or two lines of 10-point Times New Roman.