Review EPIC Editor – XML and DITA Authoring Software

Of all the technical writing tools I’ve used over the years, Epic Editor was probably the most impressive, especially when it came to doing tech documents that involved DocBook and Dita. It was difficult to learn – no point pretending otherwise – but once I got the hang of it, I used it non-stop for […]

Word To Framemaker Tutorial

Many tech writers have had to convert Word documents into FrameMaker. It is a very unpleasant and painful process! The good news is that Tech Knowledge offer a nice tutorial that explains how to convert documents as quickly and efficiently as possible. “The infamous Word2Frame document describing tips and techniques for converting from Word to […]

Documentation Plan: How to Get Started

Preparing a Documentation Plan involves several different activities. Depending on the complexity of the project you may want to change the depth of the plan, but most plans will include: Overview Resource Requirements Schedule Deliverables Tip: Documentation plans are also known as Information Development plans. In this article, we’ll look at Resource Requirements and Scheduling. Creating […]

Make Text on Your Laptop Easier to Read

Microsoft offers a free online service that claims to improve font display quality over traditional forms of font smoothing or anti-aliasing. ClearType improves readability on color LCD displays with a digital interface, such as those in laptops and high-quality flat panel displays. The online tuner lets you tune your Windows XP ClearType settings. How it […]

What exactly do technical writers do?

Technical writers write technical documents that explain complex issues in simple, plain English. Technical writers – also know as Technical Authors or Information Designers – write material that supports software and hardware systems. They design, write and produce material that is delivered in print, soft-copy or as Online Help, such as that found in the […]

How to Interview Tech Writers

Jane R. in Texas asks for some tips on interviewing tech writers, especially when using assessment tests. Her company is about to hire their first full-time writer and they have not done this before. I’ve worked on both sides on the fence in the past, (i.e. interviewed and been interviewed) and picked up a few […]

Problems with Table of Contents in Word

James in North Carolina asks, “In Word, the Table of Contents is not displayed. Instead, I get an error message: { TOC\O “2-4″\H \Z \T “HEADING 1,1”}. How do I fix this? Is it a bug? “ I think the problem is to do with Field Codes. Here are three suggestions: 1. In Word, go […]

Controlling large docs in Microsoft Word

The main issues with creating long docs in Word tend to involve formatting, styles, graphics, tables, and bullets. Formatting — cutting/pasting material directly from one file into another is best avoided as this will bring unwanted styles in the target Word file. Instead convert it to raw text and then import it. Styles — create […]

Why do backward Ps appear in Word?

If you open a Word document and see what looks like large Ps at the end of every sentence, then the Show/Hide marker has been turned on. Sometimes this gets turned on by accident or when you open a doc which as these turned on by default. The the Show/Hide marker is used for examining […]

Podcast re: Technical Writing in India — Sandeep Balakrishna

For Indian readers considering tech writing as a career, download this free podcast with Sandeep Balakrishna, a seasoned technical writer based in Bangalore, India.“He has been a technical writer for 10 years, and has observed the explosive growth of technical writing in India. According to Google Trends, seven of the top ten cities where the […]

Common errors in technical writing

Intrepid offier notes from a session of the Mumbai chapter of the Society for Technical Communication. The first session was by Gurudutt Kamath, who is probably the most well-known figure in the tech writing community in India. “My interest in attending the session arose cause someone I know was also speaking there, and also because […]

Where are all the tech writer jobs?

Doug Davis from ProEdit asks some interesting questions about the state of the tech writing industry, in particular, the demand for new writers. “You sit in your favorite comfy chair and open the Sunday newspaper. The economy is steadily improving. Good. Unemployment rates are down. Nice. You’ve seen all the data. You’ve read the reports. […]

Demand for Business Writers increases

I’ve been tracking the number of hits on Google for Business Writers recently and noticed that the demand, or at least the number of hits, has increased in the past six months. Right now, Nov 2006, Google shows the following hits: Technical Writer – 2.34 million webpagesBusiness Writer – 1.6 million webpagesProposal Writer – 1.25 […]

What technical documents does a Java banking project need?

I was recently asked how to start documentating for a Banking solution which is been developed in Java on Open-Source platform. What kind to documents should i write for this project? Now, there isn’t much to go on here, so… It depends on what the client actually wants. Here’s what I’d do: 1. Ask the […]