Microsoft Error Message Guidelines

When you write messages, follow these guidelines: · Avoid vague wording. Give specific names and locations of the objects involved. · Avoid “please.” It can be interpreted to mean that a required action is optional. · Do not refer to implementation details that are invisible to the user. For example, do not refer to the […]

Error Messages: Do’s and Don’ts

Do’s and Don’ts when writing error messages: Don’t · Avoid the word “bad”. Use more descriptive terms to tell the user what is wrong. For example, avoid messages such as “Bad size”. Instead, tell the user what criteria to use when specifying a size. · Avoid the word “please”. It can be interpreted to mean […]

How to Write Error Messages

How to Write Error Messages Error Message Template – Download Now! Here’s a suggested approach to writing error messages: · Create a spreadsheet. · Give each error a number so you can track them. · Add columns for the error message and the root cause. · Establish an error message quality-control team. · Create simple […]

[How to] Write a Customization Guide


The first question is: who are you writing this customisation guide for? As a technical writer, the skill to developing a useful guide is to keep the reader in mind. Who will be reading this customisation guide? What’s the most important thing they need to know? How can I make this more helpful to them? […]

Error Messages: Mistakes to Avoid

Try to avoid the following: Anthropomorphize. Don’t suggest the software has feelings or thoughts, for example, the PC died. Instead, say, it stopped responding or is not available. Blame. Maybe the user was at fault, for example, entered text into a field meant for numbers. However, instead of saying this was wrong, bad, or illegal, […]

The Definitive Guide to Writing Error Messages

These guidelines will help you write error messages that are easy to update and useful for customers. Error messages are the first line of customer support. Poorly written error messages increase technical support costs. A well-written error message tells you, the user, the following: What has happened Why has it occurred How it impacts you, […]

User Guide Checklist

Use this checklist to write your User Guide. The checklist will help reviewers determine if the specifications meet the quality criteria and comply with development methodology requirements. Download 4 MS Word User Guide Templates General Information System Overview – introduce the system at a high-level and its relationship to others, if necessary. References – list […]

Sample Microsoft Windows Error Messages

The following is an example of error messages for Microsoft Windows XP: When you try to install a program that uses the Windows Installer in Microsoft Windows XP, the program does not install, and you may receive an error message that is similar to one of the following error messages: The Windows Installer service could […]

Oracle Error Message Guidelines

The following is an example of how Oracle writes error messages. Notice the format of the error message: · ORA-00058 – error number for tracking · DB_BLOCK_SIZE must be string to mount this database (not string) – description of error message · Cause: what caused the error to occur · Potential reasons: note the use […]

What is an Error Message?

Q: What is an error message? An error message describes a problem that stop a user or system from completing a task. An error message must include enough information for the user to solve the problem. What types of error messages are there? In general, there are three types of error messages: · Confirmations · […]