Improve Your Technical Writing in 3 Steps

In technical writing, aim for clarity, not style. Don’t annoy the reader with useless information that clogs up the user guide and obstructs them from finding the answers they’re seeking. Get to the point. Fast. Here are three ways to do this.

3 Rules for Making Your Technical Writing Clear

3 Rules for Making Your Technical Writing Clear

Improve Your Technical Writing in 3 Steps

Aim for brevity. Be useful. Stay positive.

  1. One Idea Per Paragraph Only – Don’t confuse the reader by blending different ideas into the same paragraph. Stick to one idea per paragraph. This helps the reader zoom in on the relevant data faster and move on if necessary.
  2. Highlight The Key Point First – Open the paragraph with the main point. Don’t bury it. Then expand on the point by giving more information with each step. Again, don’t burden the reader with background information or references to support materials. They have a problem. Identify the solution.
  3. Write To Be Scanned – We read web pages like we read newspapers, scanning here and there looking for interesting headlines. When we see something we like, we read the sub-head and then maybe the main text. Write your technical documents in the same way. Write to be scanned. Your user guide or operations manual will be read, usually in a hurry by someone under pressure, so make the answers easy to find.

Technical Writing Ninja Tactics

What else would you add? Do you use headers and bullet points so your readers can scan your documents? Or do you use other techniques?

Download these templates to start

Acceptance Test Plan

Contingency Plan

Software Development Templates

Acquisition Plan

Conversion Plan

Software Requirements Specification

Action Plan

Cost Benefit Analysis

Software Testing

API Documentation

Database Design

Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)

Audience Analysis

Datasheet

Statement of Work

Availability Plan

Deployment Plan

System Administration Guide

Bill of Materials

Design Document

System Boundary

Business Case

Disaster Recovery Plan

System Design Document

Business Continuity

Disposition Plan

System Specifications

Business Plan

Documentation Plan

Technical Writing Templates

Business Process

Employee Handbook

Test Plan

Business Requirements

Error Message Guide

Training Plan

Business Rules

Expression of Interest

Transition Plan

Capacity Plan

Fact Sheet

Troubleshooting Guide

Case Study

Feasibility Study

Use Case

Change Management Plan

Functional Requirements

User Guide

Communication Plan

Grant Proposal

Verification and Validation Plan

Concept of Operations

Implementation Plan

White Papers

Concept Proposal

Installation Plan

Work Instructions

Configuration Management Plan

Interface Control Document

Software Development Templates

Acceptance Test Plan

Maintenance Plan

Software Requirements Specification

Acquisition Plan

Market Research

Software Testing

Action Plan

Marketing Plan

Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)

API Documentation

Needs Statement

Statement of Work

Audience Analysis

Operations Guide

System Administration Guide

Availability Plan

Policy Manual

System Boundary

Bill of Materials

Project Plan

System Design Document

Business Case

Proposal Manager Templates

System Specifications

Business Continuity

Proposal Template

Technical Writing Templates

Business Plan

Quality Assurance Plan

Test Plan

Business Process

Release Notes

Training Plan

Business Requirements

Request for Proposal

Transition Plan

Business Rules

Risk Management Plan

Troubleshooting Guide

Capacity Plan

Scope of Work

Use Case

Case Study

Security Plan

User Guide

Change Management Plan

Service Level Agreement (SLA)

Verification and Validation Plan

Communication Plan

Setup Guide

White Papers

Concept of Operations

Social Media Policy

Work Instructions

Concept Proposal

Contingency Plan

 

Configuration Management Plan

Conversion Plan