Category Archives: How To

5 Reasons Why Women Are Better Technical Writers Than Men?

Technical Writing attracts women. They’re very good at it and make great team leads. Maybe I’ve been very lucky but I believe women are far better as technical writers than men. Here are five areas where I think they have the edge of the guys. 1. Communication When in entered technical writing, I assumed my […]

Is a Degree In Technical Writing Worth The Effort?

Do you have a degree in technical writing or technical communications? Was it worth the money? If you had a second chance, would you have chosen this or opted for another career path? One of my younger cousins has started her degree in university in Limerick, Ireland. Not the place most of us think of […]

How to Write a Capacity Plan

Developing a Capacity Plan is vital if you want to understand how much capacity will be required to support your IT systems and, by extension, the infrastructure that supports it. Think about it. If you plan to install a new large-scale solution, for example, IBM WebSphere or SAP, you also need to consider the impact […]

Do Technical Writing projects need a Documentation Plan?

Gordon McLean asks: do you plan to review your plan? This is in relation to the Documentation Plan (aka Information Development Plan) that most technical writers prepare in advance of starting a major project. Granted, on smaller projects you can get away with this if you know the product, have the resources and the deliverables […]

Is it possible to get into technical writing without a degree?

I got this email during the week. The question was: is it worth the time and money to take a technical writing course? “I’ve been reading articles about Technical Writing and I’m thinking about a change in career. I’ve worked as a non-degreed Quality Engineer in the manufacturing industries. Writing quality documentations and SOPs was […]

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 […]

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 […]