Encompasses computer and technology writing, end-user documentation, code documentation, engineering, the sciences, consumer manuals, and more.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

2
votes
4answers
243 views

How to reference a figure from text in a technical document

I'm preparing technical documentation for some software. For the installation, there are lots of screen grabs and they all have Figure x captions. What's the correct styling and means of referencing ...
2
votes
1answer
280 views

Can I use the same figure twice in a report?

Is it alright to use the same figure twice (but different figure number) in a report? If so, do I have to use separate captions, to avoid confusion in the table of figures?
3
votes
3answers
112 views

Should I have an introducing paragraph in every chapter of my description?

I'm about to write a technical description for an industrial process. The description will follow logical blocks, or blocks from the PFD of the process. This a sales document aimed at (mostly) ...
0
votes
2answers
65 views

How should I handle repeating parts in a technical description?

I'm about to write a technical description for an industrial process. The description will follow logical blocks, or blocks from the PFD of the process. This a sales document aimed at engineers. ...
3
votes
3answers
241 views

How can we make compiling release notes less chaotic?

Each of our software releases is accompanied by a set of release notes, which include short descriptions of the following: new features, important or breaking changes to old features, and important ...
2
votes
4answers
1k views

What are the tool choices for producing technical documentation in PDF and web site ready HTML?

My company currently maintains our technical documentation (User's Guide) in Google Docs. With each release I produce a PDF that we host on our website. Here are the features of Google Docs that work ...
2
votes
1answer
245 views

Can Google Docs be used for technical product documentation?

My company is hiring a contract technical writer to improve our product's documentation. As the maintainer, I'm currently using Google Docs, and very happy with it's collaborative nature (multiple ...
3
votes
2answers
95 views

What is a reasonable amount of time to spend writing a product overview?

I have plenty of writing experience as an academic and as a technician but am new to technical writing per se. A retailer of engineering equipment wants me to write unique, user-friendly content for ...
6
votes
2answers
282 views

Using LaTeX with publishers?

Background: Im working on a rather long instructional book, and have just started trying to use LaTeX. The book doesn't have any scientific notation in it, and most of the diagrams I made in other ...
3
votes
3answers
293 views

Best way to write an article professionally

Is there any widely accepted step by step method for writing a creative article in a professional manner. I want to improve my English writing skills in relation to creative article writing. I read ...
7
votes
3answers
439 views

How to start a technical book?

Well, I am a experienced software developer and looking at question made by friends that are learning, questions over the internet and StackExchange, I noticed that I eventually could help more people ...
1
vote
1answer
307 views

What are best practices when writing technical descriptions?

Occasionally, in my job as an engineer, I write process descriptions of the technology we are selling. Those are part of commercial offers, intended to win the customer. Those are bundled with ...
5
votes
2answers
289 views

How can I prevent, or work around, unfortunate hyphenation in critical words?

In technical documentation, sometimes the tool's automatic hyphenation makes a bad break in the middle of a term, like the name of an environment variable or function. In these cases I would rather ...
6
votes
2answers
122 views

Standards for representing user interaction

I am responsible for developing internal IT documentation but have only begun my scratching the surface on technical documentation. Is there a standard or best practice for the following: Example ...
4
votes
2answers
92 views

Should subsection headings sometimes repeat section headings?

In a technical or scientific text, such as a PhD thesis, should headings for (sub)sections be complete and sometimes repeat information from the headings of the levels above, or is it sufficient to ...
5
votes
1answer
208 views

Outlining for white papers

I used to write technical white papers on different technologies. There should be some rules for writing professionals, some home work that needs to be done. I have never gone through any professional ...
5
votes
6answers
769 views

Overusing “the” and “I”

I'm not a native English speaker, and I find that my English writing contains too many definite article "the" when writing scientific reports, and too many "I" when writing in informal settings (like ...
3
votes
2answers
269 views

API reference doc: best practices for describing opaque parameters?

The reference documentation for an application programming interface (API) is, in modern systems, usually generated from the code itself automatically. For example, for Java interfaces a typical tool ...
2
votes
1answer
118 views

Metrics for assessing the persuasiveness of a paper?

Are there any known variables to measure, or questions to ask in survey, in order to asses the persuasiveness of a paper? For example, I'm not sure if omitting a section from my paper might actually ...
1
vote
0answers
134 views

Using the Minto Pyramid

Using the Minto Pyramid, should I order the paragraphs of my paper by going through the rows of the pyramid like this? Thesis > Why > How > Where > A > B > C > D > E Or should I start at the top ...
8
votes
5answers
1k views

Demo data in screenshots! What are the best practice?

My question is related to best practices of making screenshots for end-user documentation. Particularly, is there universal information for filling in forms in the software and after that making ...
8
votes
3answers
538 views

In end user documentation, should screenshots come before or after the text that references them?

The end user documentation I'm writing makes use of screenshots (and partial screenshots) to show the user what I'm referring to in procedural instructions for or conceptual explanations of the ...
2
votes
1answer
3k views

Mashery vs. Apigee

I was wondering if anyone could lend some advice as to the pros and cons between using Mashery versus Apigee for documenting an API? I have do some evaluating and have about 2 weeks to come up with a ...
1
vote
1answer
75 views

Multiple tasks and a step by step tutorial

To my knowledge step-by-step tutorials should have the form of a ladder, where you describe how to get to a place step by step– accomplishing a single task at the end. Is it possible to accomplish ...
0
votes
2answers
58 views

What is the correct word/term that needs to be before the names of the maker of the project?

I am doing a project with one other person, we have finished the project and we are working on a cover page. We are not sure what to write out before our names, we have thought of a couple of ...
4
votes
5answers
2k views

What are the advantages of different date formats in resumes and CVs?

I've seen a somewhat related question, but it doesn't answer my question quite right. Say you're writing an event that happened on a single day, and you need to put it in your resume or CV. So how ...
9
votes
6answers
972 views

Ways to improve your writing skills

As a CS major I've learned that knowing how to write is critically important, but, I'm not really sure how to improve my writing skills. I'm currently trying to write a tech blog in English, but, ...
1
vote
2answers
258 views

To translate a novel with Westerner's point of view

I am an Easterner. I have been translating a novel, that is originally written in my native language, into English. During the process, I have also been learning about cultural things, meant to ...
4
votes
4answers
222 views

How can I consistently distinguish among tables, fields, and records in a database?

I am describing a database for a scientific publication. The database has many tables, and each table has fields (spreadsheet columns) and records (rows). I spend a lot of time discussing tables and ...
4
votes
1answer
232 views

singular or plural for index entries

I am in the final stages of writing a book and currently I am preparing the index. Are there any rules whether index entries should be listed in singular or plural? Currently I have Markov chains, ...
5
votes
1answer
572 views

How to get a programming book published

So I feel I'm a pretty good programmer in my area of expertise. Whats the process for writing a book about my niche and getting it published?
4
votes
3answers
145 views

How can I express this fragment more clearly and concisely?

For the 'who is this application for' section of an application user guide, I have the following alternatives, I'm not happy with either one. How can I convey both elements more clearly and ...
3
votes
2answers
24k views

Multiple authors in MLA header

I'm writing a group paper and I was wondering whether there's a correct way to list multiple authors at the top of the first page in MLA format. Normally the header would look something like: My Name ...
4
votes
1answer
187 views

How can I prepare for a career in instruction writing and editing?

To technical background authors (e.g. Isaac Rabinovitch) who would possibly work in teams with non-technically trained writers: How can I prepare myself to be able to do what you do? How can I ...
2
votes
1answer
372 views

In what narrative mode should you explain a process or task?

I want to explain a psychological and behavioural process to someone via email. I start off in first-person and speak to them in second-person, but what do I use when I want to explain a process ...
1
vote
1answer
156 views

combining sentences

I want to say couple of this within one sentence. so my sub sentences would be: We removed the vertical features from the classification process. The removal of vertical features enhances ...
2
votes
3answers
83 views

Introducing the next sub-section or not?

I am writing my phd dissertation in a technical field and I have a question. When in the same chapter, I finish a section and want to connect it with the next section I am not sure what is better. ...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

How to write time duration correctly

Within a user manual, I need to convey the maximum time period allowed as "365 days 23 hours 59 minutes 59 seconds" - are commas expected between each component? Is the word "and" expected before the ...
13
votes
6answers
2k views

Should one use the legal “shall” in requirements documents and specification documents?

At least in the US, "will" has replaced "shall" in most every context, with the notable exception of the "legal shall". Shall is used instead of will in legal documents to indicate a sense of ...
2
votes
2answers
104 views

How to represent dependencies in outlines

The bulk of my writing consists of technical papers, reports, notes, and memos. Because of the mathematical nature of my work I spend a lot of time writing definitions, and it is very important that I ...
2
votes
1answer
114 views

How to combine a visual and textual outline

I am a Ph.D. student in engineering, so most of my writing fits into a fairly strict idiom: the IMRaD (Introduction, Methodology, Results, and Discussion). In general, I like to use an outline to help ...
14
votes
14answers
1k views

Is it okay to call the reader's target audience stupid?

I'm a tech genre author, and have already published one book on Android development. However, this book was focused more on the developer of the apps, than the user. Now I'm working on my second ...
0
votes
1answer
112 views

Should this sentence be included in the Executive Summary?

I found some examples of good and poor example of executive summaries here. Everything seems fine but in one of them, they included this sentence - "All calculations can be found in the ...
3
votes
1answer
292 views

Path to publishing a technical book

I'm 21 years old female from South India. I would like to publish a book which concentrates on any one latest computer technology. Now, I have completed my BE- Computer Science and Engineering. I'm ...
3
votes
2answers
3k views

Are contractions antithetical to academic writing?

This question is very specific to academic writing: I used the contraction "don't" instead of "do not" in some of the papers. Some of the reviewers mentioned that "don't" is not a formal style of ...
3
votes
3answers
240 views

What's the correct vocabulary for a web application tutorial?

I am writing a tutorial on how to use a specific web application and I don't know which verbs to use. Shall I use "click" for buttons? But what if the user doesn't use a mouse? Contrary to "normal" ...
3
votes
1answer
133 views

What resources will teach me about the state of the art in technical writing?

I've been asked to modernize some technical documentation - user manuals in particular. I have some guidelines, but a lot of free rein to take it in whatever direction I think is worthwhile. Where ...
0
votes
2answers
132 views

Am I correctly referencing chapters which belong to the same book?

Looking for some help on how to reference chapters in a book inside of a booking I'm helping with. Should I be capitalizing Chapters 3 and 4 and would referring to chapters simply by capitalized ...
11
votes
4answers
4k views

Writing a programming book: how to present directory structures

What is good/preferred way of presenting directory trees in programming books? My main criteria are following: It should be readable and intuitive It shouldn't take too much page space It ...
2
votes
2answers
131 views

What are “industry leading royalties”?

In the breakdown description I received from a publisher, they mention that they also pay industry leading royalties of ##%. What does that mean?