I am specifically asking about abbreviating words with a dot, like in English: Prof. (Professor) W. Jefferson (West Jefferson), etc.
I am not a native English speaker and I have absolutely no idea what are the English rules. In Bulgarian, however, the rule is that you can abbreviate any word to whatever reasonable amount of letters (assuming it will be clear from the context which is the word) but this must be done before a vowel. Examples: Иван Иванов → Ив. Иванов; физическо възпитание → физ. възп.; отговор → отг. and so on…
This is usually done to save space and is sometimes especially helpful for use in Software UIs — when there is limited space on buttons, etc.
So: What are the rules in Esperanto? Can one abbreviate any word like that (assuming it would be clear which word that is) and what are the rules?