Release Notes Checklist for Junior Technical Writers

If your technical writing job involves writing release notes, create checklists for writing, reviewing, and production.

Download: Release Notes template package with 2 pre-formatted templates in MS Word.

Download Now for $7.99- Buy Here!

Download Template

Learn more about these Release Notes Templates

Use the following checklist to review release notes.

Avoid the following mistakes when writing release notes.

  1. When – use if instead use when. The difference between when and if is that when implies something has occurred, for example, when I click Window Y, an error appears. That’s fine up to a point. However, if states a condition. If I click Window X, an error appears. In other words, if highlights to the reader the conditions that contribute to the error. It’s a subtle difference but worth noting.
  2. Gerunds — avoid using -ing constructions, such as, it was printing. Instead write it was printed. Remember, a but refers to something which has happened in the past. It’s over. Past tense. It’s not happening right now. For that reason, use past tense phrasing when writing the bug section of release notes.
  3. Incorrect in bug description heading — don’t use incorrect, bug, or issue in the release note heading as it’s already implied.
  4. Dialog box — not dialog or dialogue.
  5. Value not field — write the ‘The value in the Net Amount column on the window…’
  6. Displayed — write the list was not displayed, not missing. You can also write, ‘’The window was blank’ if nothing was displayed.
  7. Bullet – avoid single line bullet lists. If only one bullet, add it to the preceding sentence.

Use the following checklist to review release notes.

  1. Spellcheck — select the entire document, apply the correct language setting, then spellcheck. If you don’t do this, the spell checker will skip text in different languages that may have been pasted in.
  2. Installation directory — are the paths to the installation directory correct?
  3. Section Title – check for Case. Make sure the correct works are in lowercase, such as for, in, of etc.
  4. Code style —is the code style applied to parameters, xml elements etc.
  5. Italics style — is the italics style applied to book names, chapters etc.
  6. Bullet list styles – are the correct start, continue and end bullet tags used?
  7. Length – use short sentences. If a sentence is more than twenty words, create a new one.
  8. Phrasing — Start with ‘This issue occurred if…’
  9. File Affected — check these are correct and complete.
  10. Book Affected — check that any affected technical guides are mentioned.
  11. Index Markers – if the heading or release number is changed, update the index markers.
  12. Command v Button – remember the difference between a button and a command. Double-check and use the correct font
  13. Tables – make sure every table has a caption.

Summary

Creating checklists requires a little work in advance, but ensures that your release notes are accurate, consistent, and reflect well on you as a technical writer.

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