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?