A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.

Technical Communication Center

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1.
#34032

Advantages of Using Microsoft SourceSafe While Writing Your Technical Documents

Microsoft’s Visual SourceSafe was not created with technical communicators in mind. It was created for engineers writing software source code. But it is successfully used by technical writers in offices around the world to control documentation.

Technical Communication Center (2009). Articles>Content Management>Documentation>Technical Writing

2.
#34021

The Cardinal Rule of Interviewing a Subject Matter Expert (SME) For a Document

A technical writer will periodically need to interview Subject Matter Experts (SME) to gather information about a technical document. More often that not, and especially within the context of software development, most SMEs are engineers and software developers. But they can also be mechanical, electrical and other types of engineers, hardware installers, network engineers, testers, site foremen, call center engineers, field technicians, sales or marketing people, local dealers, etc. One cardinal rule of interviewing an SME is to do your homework well, in advance.

Akinci, Ugur. Technical Communication Center (2009). Articles>Interviewing>Technical Writing>SMEs

3.
#37020

Eliminate Phrases that Start With "in" from your Technical Documents

There are a number of filler phrases in English that start with “in.” You can improve the readability of your technical documents by eliminating such phrases and using much shorter equivalents.

Akinci, Ugur. Technical Communication Center (2010). Articles>Writing>Diction>Minimalism

4.
#35911

Essentials of Good Report Writing

The essentials of good report writing are universal in the sense that it does not matter which type of report you are writing. There are different types of reports such as research reports, business reports, medical reports and science reports. However, we are not going to dwell on the types of reports but rather on the essentials of writing a good report, regardless of the type. The success of a report largely depends on its writing and presentation.

Beilstein, Ernest. Technical Communication Center (2009). Articles>Writing>Reports

5.
#38392

Four Ideas to Organize Your Technical Document Images

Most technical documents would have at least a few images to illustrate a point, or screen-shots that accompany the description of a certain step-by-step procedure, etc. Organizing such images can really become a problem, especially when you have dozens and hundreds of them. Finding, editing, and importing them can quickly become a logistical nightmare, especially when you’re working under a deadline pressure. Here are several ideas to organize and name your images for higher productivity.

Akinci, Ugur. Technical Communication Center (2011). Articles>Graphic Design>Technical Illustration

6.
#34019

Four Ideas to Organize Your Technical Document Images and Screen Shots

Most technical writers would include at least a few images to illustrate a point, or screen shots that accompany the description of a certain step-by-step procedure, etc. Organizing such images can really become a problem, especially when you have dozens and hundreds of them. Finding, editing, and importing them can quickly become a logistical nightmare, especially when a technical writer is working under a deadline pressure. Here are four ideas to organize and name your images for higher productivity.

Akinci, Ugur. Technical Communication Center (2009). Articles>Graphic Design>Technical Illustration>Screen Captures

7.
#34862

The Four Layers of the “Learning Pyramid” for a Junior Technical Communicator

Once you take an interest in technical communication and documentation you’ll quickly discover that’s it’s an “endless country,” really. There is so much to learn and track since both the market and the technology changes constantly. But this does not mean that you can learn things randomly and become a successful technical communicator. Actually there’s a better way that I call the “Learning Pyramid” which requires you establish a wide base of learning first and keep on building the upper layers on top of such a strong foundation. Each layer of this pyramid supports the more specialized layer established on top it.

Technical Communication Center (2009). Careers>TC>Advice

8.
#36465

How People Use Documentation and How to Write it More Effectively

There are a number of well known factors that impact the effectiveness of documentation, both as an aid to learning and as a guide to getting the job done. An approach to documentation known as minimalist has been around for many years, but remains little know outside specialist interest groups. The approach produces clean easy to read documentation. Manuals and guides produced using the approach have a much higher probability of being useful and therefore of being used.

Harland, D. Technical Communication Center (2010). Articles>Documentation>User Centered Design>Technical Writing

9.
#34112

How to Avoid Unnecessary Granularity

The more skilled and experienced the readers are, the more they hate to be told in minute detail what to do. The more skilled and experienced the readers are, the more they like Checklists instead of detailed procedural steps.

Akinci, Ugur. Technical Communication Center (2009). Articles>Writing>Technical Writing

10.
#34863

How to Capture the Essence of a Topic

Capturing the essence of a topic is the heart and soul of good writing and editing. If you cannot tell what the main idea is, you cannot write it either. And if you cannot write it, how would you expect your readers to get it? So it all starts with you. Thankfully, it is not mysterious process. Here are two techniques that you can use to weed out the irrelevant details from your core idea.

Technical Communication Center (2009). Articles>Documentation>Technical Writing

11.
#34023

How to Comply With Moral and Ethical Standards in Technical Documentation

Technical writing has a number of moral and ethical standards that a professional technical writer needs to comply with. Violate them at your own peril, by risking the sudden demise of your career. Here are some of these issues.

Akinci, Ugur. Technical Communication Center (2009). Articles>Documentation>Technical Writing>Ethics

12.
#34786

How to Estimate a Copy Writing Job

It’s not easy to estimate how long a copy writing job will take due to the many factors involved in the estimation.

Technical Communication Center (2009). Careers>Writing>Freelance>Estimating

13.
#34022

How to Format Your Technical Documents Consistently With a Template

Consistency of a technical documentation is what creates that subliminal sense of trust and confidence in the end-users. Someone once quipped: “it ain’t technical documentation if it ain’t boring.” This of course is not true since I always found technical documents very interesting indeed. I’m the sort of geekish person who can marvel at a well-designed user’s manual for hours and appreciate its beauty and all the effort and thinking that went into its production. I imagine how happy people would be when they use that manual and solve their problems and that, believe it or not, makes me happy as well. That’s the main reason why I’m in this business.

Akinci, Ugur. Technical Communication Center (2009). Articles>Document Design>Style Sheets>Technical Writing

14.
#36706

How to Prepare and Do Research For a Technical Document Before Writing It?

There are many preparatory steps in technical writing that you as a writer need to take before actually sitting down and start writing a technical document. Here are 7 issues you need to consider in the pre-production phase of your documentation project.

Akinci, Ugur. Technical Communication Center (2010). Articles>Documentation>Research>Technical Writing

15.
#37609

How to Review a Grant Proposal

Reviewing grant proposals properly is as critical a function as writing them. What good is it to spend six months on a grant proposal only to have it trashed in the hands of an irresponsible reviewer? Never forget that when you review a proposal you sometimes hold the career of another person in your hands. So focus, pay attention, and try to be as constructive and informative as you can — and pray that someone else will show the same courtesy and responsibility towards your proposal.

Akinci, Ugur. Technical Communication Center (2010). Articles>Grants>Proposals>Assessment

16.
#34027

How to Structure FrameMaker Paragraphs While Using the Unstructured Interface

Using the structured features requires advanced training and you probably won’t need them anyways unless you’re doing any “single sourcing” (which is the topic of yet another article). For example if you were doing any XML-based authoring or “database publishing” then you would definitely need to learn how to use the FrameMaker’s structured interface. However, there is an easy way to imitate structured documentation while you are still in the unstructured mode. This is one case in which you can have your cake (unstructured FM) and take a bite out of it too (by enjoying one selected feature of structured documentation).

Akinci, Ugur. Technical Communication Center (2009). Articles>Document Design>Technical Writing>Adobe FrameMaker

17.
#34864

How to Use MS Word Without Frustration

I am well aware of the irritating, hair-tearing frustration Word gives you when it won’t do what you want it to. Here’s a series of mini-articles showing you how to ‘get a grip’ on the program and make it do what you want, not what it ‘thinks’ you want.

Bentley, Carol. Technical Communication Center (2005). Articles>Word Processing>Software>Microsoft Word

18.
#34039

How to Use the Bulleted Lists Properly in Your Technical Document?

Bulleted lists are important in technical writing. They summarize information in a manner that is easy to read and absorb. Use them whenever you can to get your information across quickly. Bullets are ideal for things-to-do, equipment, sets, collections, cooking ingredients, and all kinds of other lists.

Akinci, Ugur. Technical Communication Center (2009). Articles>Documentation>Style Guides>Technical Writing

19.
#34884

Misplaced Modifier – Even WSJ Falls For It

“Misplaced modifier” is a frequently committed logical error that even the most prominent publications fall for occasionally. Solution? Move the modifier clause right next to the subject of the sentence.

Technical Communication Center (2007). Articles>Writing>Editing>Grammar

20.
#34433

Productivity Tips for IE, MS Word, Outlook

If we say that it was mainly because of the Windows operating system that a computer could become a personal computer it would not be an exaggeration. The revolution is still on. Windows is far beyond what a common man presently knows and uses.

Bangar, Pawan. Technical Communication Center (2009). Articles>Software>Usability>Microsoft Word

21.
#34387

Resume Power Tip: Think Technical Writing

The most effective and powerful resumes provide analytical, precise detail about your background and achievements. In fact, resume writing has a strong correlation to technical writing in that both styles demand extreme precision. In fact, most readers of your resume will assume that what you show on paper correlates strongly to what you can do for your next employer.

Akinci, Ugur. Technical Communication Center (2009). Careers>Resumes>Writing>Technical Writing

22.
#34028

Seven Time-Tested Principles to Design a Cover For a Technical Document

Here are seven time-tested design recommendations culled from my 20 years of experience as a professional writer, page layout and information designer.

Akinci, Ugur. Technical Communication Center (2008). Articles>Document Design>Technical Writing

23.
#34034

Seven Top Web Writing Principles For Technical Writers

Web writing is one of those assignments that technical writers do well due to their organized approach to technical information. But web writing differs from regular user guide and procedural writing in some important respects. The Web is a fast place. People usually don’t have the time to go through long essays.

Technical Communication Center (2009). Articles>Web Design>Writing>Technical Writing

24.
#34386

Should I Hire a Good American Writer Or an Excellent Writer From Another Country?

When seeking freelance copywriters, many buyers specify that their only interest is in writers who speak English as a native language. Frequently buyers will request writers from a particular country such as the USA, the UK, Canada or Australia. This overlooks the fact that English is spoken as a first or second language in many countries. In fact, except for Mandarin Chinese, English is the most spoken language in the world.

Rashid, Saman. Technical Communication Center (2009). Careers>Management>Writing>Offshoring

25.
#37951

Six Different Ways to Distribute Large Technical Documents

Large files have always been a distribution headache for technical writers. PDF files, book files of all kinds, PPT files need to be planned and generated always with an eye towards their distribution. If your files are too big to send around, review and approval processes will be jeopardized. Here are six different ways to distribute your large files.

Akinci, Ugur. Technical Communication Center (2011). Articles>Documentation

 
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