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

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1k views

Present tense in user manuals

I am writing a user manual for an IT system. And inside the user manual I have sentences such as: Users can delete Servers that do not have Customers assigned to them. Is the use of present-...
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3answers
2k views

When should I use italics in scientific writing?

I noticed that proper nouns, such as names of theorems or techniques are often set in italics in scientific writing but not always. Are there rules about it, for example each proper noun should be set ...
3
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2answers
4k 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
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4answers
529 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 ...
3
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1answer
10k views

What counts as a word when dealing with a word limit?

I am trying to determine if it will be feasible to revise a manuscript for a journal that has a 6500 word limit. Currently, the manuscript is between 7500 and 8000 words long, depending on how I count ...
3
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2answers
78 views

What's the common practice for warranty chapters in technical manuals?

I'm working on a technical manual project for industrial machines and the original documents have some warranty warnings and statements at the beginning. We decided to keep them on the new documents ...
3
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2answers
299 views

What is the average cost of software for DITA authoring?

I'm looking to buy some software for technical document authoring with DITA. The tech writing group will have at least 5-10 users, writing 100-pages long documents for several products in various ...
3
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1answer
555 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 ...
3
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2answers
127 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 ...
3
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1answer
78 views

How to communicate two elements of different general syntactic/semantic type in the same sentence?

I have the following sentence, NAME is a community that helps each other code better by rating each other's efforts and helps managers pair with other fellow developers I was suggested by the ...
3
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3answers
134 views

Web-based WYSIWYG Markdown editor with commenting?

My question is similar to this one, but with (hopefully) a clearly defined use case: sharing and reviewing basic tech docs with a minimal, intuitive GUI. I'm producing technical documents using MS ...
3
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1answer
264 views

Use of Registered trademark

I'm writing a book on Windows and I need some guidelines. On the cover of the book, as part of the subtitle, may I include Windows® in it? Inside the book, do I have to use the ® every single little ...
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1answer
483 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
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1answer
141 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 ...
3
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1answer
223 views

Technical writing — best solutions for gathering and compiling data/information

Seek best solutions for information collection, compilation, aggregation Background I'm a newer technical writer working for an industrial fabrication company. We make an awesome B2B product that ...
3
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2answers
148 views

How to create a functional document for in-house reference?

I'm the only technical writer in my company with 2 years of experience. I have been assigned with a task of creating a functional document for a web-based (FMCG) product which has been around a long ...
3
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2answers
219 views

Any advice on how to learn DITA for technical writing?

My situation is such that I will be looking for a new job next week as this contract ends. For a tech writer, it is good to have DITA on the ole' resume. So, I just wanted to know if anyone has a site ...
3
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1answer
65 views

Is there any research about the efficacy of illustration and example placement in procedure writing?

In writing procedural documentation, I have the choice of writing the complete step-by-step instructions with references to an appendix of illustrations, For instance: 1. Do task 1 (see Fig. 1) 2. ...
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1answer
421 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 ...
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2answers
361 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 ...
3
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2answers
44k 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 ...
3
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1answer
451 views

What is the style used in ISO/IEC publications?

I'm in the process of preparing a document to be sent to ISO/IEC WG14. What is the official style used in ISO/IEC publications (if there is one)? If there is no official style guide, is there a ...
3
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1answer
66 views

How do I announce an area-restricted feature without discouraging the rest of my visitors?

I want to make an announcement to my users at my website about a new feature launch. However, in its first phase, this new feature has limited access - it will be supporting only one city for now, and ...
3
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2answers
158 views

How does one avoid incomplete changes to documentation?

Having encountered errors in technical documentation that almost certainly came from incomplete editing after copying from earlier documentation, I am curious about what techniques can be used to ...
3
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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 ...
3
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2answers
1k views

What software is good for writing a technical book? [duplicate]

I must write a book for the university and I am looking for software. The style that I want is like the books of O'Reilly, Apress or Packt. I need: Insert a table of contents (automatic). Divide ...
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3answers
241 views

How to research and discover topic popularity and trends to determine topic selection for article writing?

I have been asked to write various technical and non-technical articles about computer usage, Windows usage (perhaps some Mac and *nix as well if they let me), Windows repair, and various other ...
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2answers
185 views

Is this blog post clear and coherent?

I wrote a pseudo-technical blog post trying to apply some game theory concepts to s/w startup industry. This is my first serious attempt at tech blog writing. Iwas left feeling disappointed by the ...
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5answers
107 views

What is considered an acceptable length for a technical document?

I have written dozens of technical and requirement specifications, and edited dozens more in 8+ years of engineering. The largest I have drafted was perhaps 100 pages, but maybe 30-50% of it was ...
2
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3answers
464 views

Use of the Oxford comma

The oxford comma is the second comma in the sentence I like the colors red, white, and blue. Every grammar textbook I've ever seen, as well as the major style guides, feels that this is "proper" ...
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2answers
205 views

Documenting Agile Sprints

I'm responsible for documenting a huge ERP - its being changed from an old language to .NET. I'm the only one responsible for documenting ( and I'm doing it off-site - the developers' office is an ...
2
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2answers
140 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?
2
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3answers
121 views

How to find the balance between research and the obvious

I'm embarking on writing my first popular science book on a controversial subject. For sure the writing must be rational, coherent with a clear train of thought and littered with references to be ...
2
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3answers
213 views

Thesis writing: how to address “self”

This came up when I was writing my thesis: Usually it is recommended that when writing a thesis, one sticks to passive voice and use sentences that read like "The study showed the effect that blah ...
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1answer
731 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?
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3answers
149 views

Would it be weird if I write “a simple sample something”?

Not getting too technical, I am writing a configuration file for a piece of software I have developed. This software allows others to write "services" and attach them to my software. I have written a ...
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3answers
385 views

Should Game Genre Types Be Capitalised?

I am currently writing a report for college about computer games and I am wondering whether genres need to be capitalised. Usually I do not but for some reason it just feels that I should. For ...
2
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3answers
163 views

How to structure a sentence containing long code examples?

In the context of a technical manual, I need to write instructions guiding users through several standard manipulations. When providing examples of these manipulations, I have written a short sentence ...
2
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1answer
696 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 ...
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4answers
98 views

Advice on interface text in a videogame

[This fits somewhere between technical writing and user experience, so perhaps this is the wrong board] I'm developing a modification to a popular videogame (a Playstation One RPG), with the ...
2
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1answer
119 views

Resources for thesis writing

Will be writing my master's thesis in a few months. I have never written a thesis yet though. I was unlucky enough not to be required to have a thesis during my undergrad years. Anybody know some good ...
2
votes
2answers
41 views

Ethics of incorporating a supplier's technical documentation into one's own documentation?

A company, M, buys components from company, S, to build into their product. Company S has technical documentation regarding safety and maintenance available in many languages and publicly available in ...
2
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3answers
162 views

Ending a PhD thesis by saying “there is more to do”

I am ending the conclusion of my PhD thesis by saying something like this (not even remotely in these words): There was a lot of work gone in the thesis, yada yada yada, however there is room for ...
2
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2answers
140 views

Template for IT technical report?

I'm looking for a template or guidelines for how to write a technical report. The report is IT-related and intended for a project manager to review the work of the investigation of a IT-related issue....
2
votes
4answers
3k 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
80 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
261 views

Using Glossary Instead of Footnotes (for translation/transliteration)

I am writing a technical report with keywords which are mainly English. I am using a Glossary at the end, which describes translated keywords. Is it a replacement for footnotes or I should just keep ...
2
votes
2answers
275 views

List of figures and diagrams?

I was wondering what is the most acceptable way of including a large diagram in my thesis. The diagram takes up a full page and splits a paragraph. In your opinion is this bad? Should I put the ...
2
votes
3answers
332 views

How can I manage screen shots and other graphics for maintenance?

Our ~1500-page documentation set contains numerous screen shots and related graphics (schematics, flow diagrams, etc). Sometimes the user interface changes and we have to update all the affected ...
2
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1answer
91 views

Graphical presentation method nomenclature

I'm part of a technical documentation team where I'm suggesting the document designers different methods for graphical presentation. Each time I need to talk about a method I have to look around and ...