5 Ways to Write Better Error Messages

When you write error messages for software development projects, 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 […]

Using AutoCorrect To Fix Mistakes In MS Word

Do you keep making the same mistakes when typing? Microsoft Word has a couple of built-in features that fixes your mistakes as you type. It takes a bit of tweaking to get it right, but worth the effort in the long run. Here are three ways to use AutoCorrect to fix errors in your technical documents: […]

How to Choose the Right Style Guide for Technical Writers

How do I choose the right style guide for my technical writers? I’m setting up a Technical Publications Dept. for a Financial Services company. What is the best style guide to encourage the staff to use? The benefit of adopting a style guide is that it puts guidelines in place to ensure consistency across all […]

21 Words That Make Technical Writers Look Dumb

We both know that a Microsoft Exchange Server doesn’t have feelings, hopes and desires. But when we write technical documents, these type of human feelings can creep in. You need to be careful when writing user guides, design documents, and specifications as these false words give the wrong impression and undermine the quality of your material.

How Much Does It Cost To Write a User Guide?

I write all types of technical documents. This is one of the services I provide to clients that works the best for me over the web. One of questions I get asked most every week is something like, ‘how much does it cost to write a user guide?’ How To Price A User Guide There […]

Kate Winslet’s 7 Secret Ways to Revise Technical Documents

What can Kate Winslet teach you about proof-reading technical documents? Watch the movie The Reader and it will make sense. If she was writing this blog, she’d probably say: “Don’t do it all at once! One of the biggest mistakes you can make when revising any technical document, is to do it all in one […]

11 Adobe Distiller Tips For Technical Writers

Most Technical Writers use Adobe PDFs to create technical guides, reports and other business documents. And while there are many free PDF converters out there, Adobe Distiller has some great features that give you greater control of your documents, such as making the PDFs download faster, password protection, embedding thumbnails and font control.

How To Make Friday Your Busiest Day

lance-armstong-getting-things-done Friday is my busiest day. Most folks power down and go into weekend mode. Not here! Ask yourself, ‘why do I go down a gear on Friday?’, ‘How does this benefit my career?’ Ok, let’s be honest. We do this because others do it. Right? This is a high-risk way to manage your career. You’re letting others determine how you behave. And it damages your career in many, many ways. Here’s an alternative approach.

User Guide vs User Manual – which one is Right?

Let’s say you’re setting up a new Tech Docs Dept. You need to create new guidelines, style guides and naming conventions. Should you call the user ‘documents’ User Guides or User Manuals? Which one is Right? I was asked this question by a colleague in India who is setting up a Technical Publishing Dept in […]

Put Your Words on a Diet

Goethe once wrote to a friend, “If I had more time, I’d have sent you a shorter letter.” Here’s why.