TECHNICAL WRITING FOR DUMMIES PDF
This books (Technical Writing For Dummies [PDF]) Made by Sheryl Lindsell- Roberts About Books Title: Technical Writing for Dummies. Editorial Reviews. From the Back Cover. "Technical Writing For Dummies is a must-have reference for both the aspiring and seasoned technical writer." — Carol. PDF Drive is your search engine for PDF files. TEACHING TECHNICAL ENGLISH WRITING AUTOR: From Warriner's English Grammar and Composition .
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tech writing sunset, know this: most of the manuals and guides out there are written by .. Dummies publishers have a book on everything from writing résumés to .. tablets onto the factory floor, replacing PDF work instructions with mobile. Technical Writing Guide. Michigan State University. Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering. Farrall Hall, East Lansing, Michigan. The five-way access system of the Handbook of Technical Writing . Using PDF Files . Previously, he worked in advertising, technical writing, and.
Anderson in Technical Communication: A ReaderCentered Approach, conservative estimates suggest that you will spend at least 20 percent of your time writing in a technical or business occupation.
Professionals in engineering and technology careers spend as much as 40 percent of their time writing. Because of information overload, you must be able to read documents quickly and efficiently, understand them the first time you read them, and know that the information is accurate.
Up-to-date information provides companies with a competitive edge, speeding critical decision making and allowing job specialization. They understand that their readers must be able to skim or skip text and find important information quickly. As a professional in great demand, the technical writer faces a challenging, exciting, and rewarding future. Police accident reports record facts for later use in court. Chemists and engineers document procedures to comply with government regulations.
Accountants prepare annual client reports. Sales representatives write sales proposals. Professors write grant proposals.
Park rangers write safety precautions. Insurance claims adjusters write incident reports. Travel agents design brochures. Public relations officers write news releases, letters, and speeches. When you write, you demonstrate your ability to analyze, solve problems, and understand technical processes.
When writing is not clear, the thinking behind the writing may not be clear either. Technical writing is the great connector—the written link—connecting technology to user, professional to client, colleague to colleague, supervisor to employee, and individual to community. No matter what career you choose, you can expect to read and compose e-mail, send accompanying attachments, give and receive phone messages, and explain procedures.
The following list shows how Sergeant Thomas Hardy of the Palmer City Police Department, father of two and concerned citizen, uses technical communication on the job and at home. How can writing affect your chances for advancement? Have you written or read similar types of documents?
If so, why? What was the situation? Which of the documents would you use to make a decision or to perform an action? Which type of document would you prefer to write? While technical writing shares some characteristics with other kinds of writing, it is also significantly different. From the factual treatment of the subject to audience considerations, technical writing is unique.
Subject, audience, organization, style, tone, and special features all contribute to the description of writing that is appropriate for the workplace. Subject The purpose of the research paper is not to relate personal experience, but to explain facts gained from research. Writing to explain or inform is expository writing. Like expressive writing, your academic career has probably required that you do some research writing.
The excerpt from the research paper at the beginning of the chapter involves the pros and cons of using tissue from pigs for heart valve replacement in humans. While most academic research papers are factual papers written on topics that are interesting to the reader, the technical research document is written to fulfill a need.
Expressive writing is created to convey personal observations or feelings. It relies on personal experience for research. Expressive writing is likely to be the type with which you are most familiar. In technical writing, often the need is to share information or to have someone perform an action. For example, a person may need to have heart surgery. Therefore, the technical document fulfills the special needs of a specific reader. The writer of the technical document on page 4 targets cardiac patients and explains the disease and its diagnosis.
Technical writing may require library research, scientific observation, or field research research done in the field, especially through surveys and interviews. Whether to inform or persuade, technical writing relies on data presented with precision and accuracy. In addition, they can add visual aids such as diagrams, charts, and graphs to enhance the message. To practice applying special features, complete the Communication Technologies worksheet available at www.
Types of Technical Writing
Think Critically Does your composing process change when you lack knowledge of software? The writer of the personal essay expects some understanding from his or her readers as they share experiences. The writer also expresses his or her point of view.
The writer of the research paper may be interested in the subject and hopes that a reader will read the research paper for its facts. The technical writer, however, expects more from a very specific reader—one needing information about mitral valve replacement and possessing some knowledge of the topic and its specialized vocabulary. The technical writer not only expects the reader to understand the writing, but also wants the reader to do something after reading—decide on surgical options.
In technical writing, the needs of the reader dictate every decision the writer makes. In the Sample Technical Document Excerpt on page 3, the writer worked hard to present the information the reader needs in a format that is easy to read.
The headings, boldfaced type, visual aids, and no-frills language show that the writer is conscious of the reader. Organization The personal essay and research paper make standard use of a topic sentence and transitional expressions, but you still need to read far into each document before the main point and the organization become apparent.
However, the Sample Technical Document Excerpt uses headings to help you perceive the organization at a single glance. Questions in the headings draw your attention to the information this document provides even before you read it. Also, headings give you an opportunity to read only what you want or need to read. Style The style of a document, the way an author uses words and sentences, usually gives the audience an idea of the type of document they are reading. For example, the personal essay is casual, almost conversational, and predictable for an essay.
The writer uses examples and some description. The style of the research paper also is predictable for a research paper— formal and more distant than the personal essay, with a thesis to clarify the purpose of the paper and documentation to enhance credibility. The technical document uses a simple, concise, straightforward style that is easily understood.
Technical Writing Books
The long sentences are simply lists. The other sentences are short, and the sentence order is predictable. There are no surprises for the reader.
Jargon, the highly specialized language of a particular discipline or technical field, is used. She is responsible for coordinating communication between the programming team and the marketing team. Because this position is likely to result in a promotion and career advancement, Isabel is eager to do a good job.
The programmer recommends delaying the launch date, but the project manager ignores the suggestion, deciding to issue a second release after the product is complete. The next day in the meeting to discuss the marketing materials, Isabel struggles to decide whether she should list in the brochures the SpeedQuest features that do not work yet.
She knows that the features would help sales of SpeedQuest. On the other hand, she knows that if she tells the truth and decides not to publish information about the features, she may not get the promotion she is counting on. What should Isabel do? Think Critically What resources might Isabel use to better understand and resolve this situation? Tone Tone refers to emotional overtones—the way the words make a person feel. It describes the emotional character of a document.
The tone of a document also hints at the kind of document the audience is reading. The tone of the personal essay is casual, dejected, and agonized. The tone of the research paper is generally objective. The tone in technical writing is best described as objective or businesslike.
The expressive nature of a personal essay can display a range of emotions— sadness, excitement, irony, humor. The aim of research papers and technical documents is not to convey emotion. In fact, emotion can get in the way of a technical document. Readers of technical documents read for information, not for entertainment. They read to learn something or to take action. Some people say that technical writing is boring because of its lack of emotion.
However, for the person needing or wanting that information, the targeted audience, the topic is not boring. Special Features The Sample Technical Document Excerpt is the only document of the samples on pages 3—5 to use special features.
Also, the use of graphics such as tables, graphs, pictures, and diagrams helps the audience grasp complex information quickly. Writers need to be thoroughly aware of their ethics and explore all possible actions and outcomes in such situations. Think Critically How do an ethical dilemma and a legal dilemma differ? More than the research paper or personal essay, the technical document relies on special features.
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Technical writers face a double challenge. They not only must write with clear, accurate, and specific words, but also must design the document to look inviting and attractive.
Therefore, technical writers are production artists—writing with precision to locate the best word and sentence structure for the message and designing pages that combine a professional image with a user-friendly approach. To do so, technical writers use a tool of their trade: desktop publishing software.
Make sure you incorporate concepts from this section, such as subject, organization, audience, style, tone, and special features. Technical writing also shares aspects of the literature you have read. The differences, however, set technical writing apart from other writing that is familiar to you.
Warm Up From your experience with writing, what characteristics does good writing share? In other words, how would you describe good writing? Technical Writing and Academic Writing Academic writing for example, personal essays, research papers, analyses, and arguments is the expository and persuasive writing writing to convince others done in academic circles.
It must be unified, coherent, and well organized. Technical writing also must be unified, coherent, and well organized. Style and standard usage the spoken and written English expected in business communication are important in academic and technical writing. Both types of writing rely on a process of thinking and writing that takes place over a few hours, a few days, or several weeks. The purpose is often the same—to inform or persuade. The difference between academic writing and technical writing is in the presentation, audience, and approach.
Academic writing includes paragraphs—usually an introductory paragraph, paragraphs that develop a thesis a statement of purpose , and a concluding paragraph.
Academic writing is written for an academic audience—an instructor, classmates, or a group of interested scholars. The purpose of academic writing is to expand on an idea or make observations about human experience.
Technical writing also includes paragraphs. It, too, often begins with an introduction and closes with a conclusion. But technical writing with its headings, itemized lists, boldfaced type, and graphics looks different from academic writing. Technical writing is written for a specific audience. The subject is generally technical, business-related, or scientifically oriented. Generally, there is less flexibility in the subject matter, style, and tone.
Often the intent is to clarify and consolidate rather than expand. The U.
Imaginative writers let their ideas emerge and develop over time. However, compared to technical and academic writing, imaginative writing is less academic and more artistic and creative. Imaginative writing includes novels, short stories, drama, and poetry whose situations grow out of fantasy or imagination. Events and people are fictional, although the themes may reveal universal truths. Imaginative writing is often ambiguous, meaning that more than one interpretation is possible and describing writing that means different things to different people.
Imaginative writing also requires the reader to draw inferences, which are judgments about the reading that the writer does not make for the reader. Dont forget that your goal is to deliver information to them. Whats a doc plan? A documentation plan describes all the components of a content development project. For a sample documentation plan, refer to Appendix C. A doc plan should contain information about the following: 48 Copyright Scriptorium Publishing Services, Inc.
Product descriptiona brief summary of what the product does. This might only be a sentence or two: The FoogleGarber software lets users ensure that their privacy is maintained as they surf the web.
FoogleGarber rejects all cookies and other identifying characteristics requested by a web server. Audiencecharacteristics of the products users; in some cases, there may be more than one type of user. You should provide as much information as you can about each type of user. This should include their education level, demographic information, level of technological expertise, and the features that each type of user will use.
The more you know about your audience, the easier it will be to write content that meets their requirements. See Audience, audience, audience on page 90 for more information. Deliverablesthe names of the documents you will create, a brief description of each, and how they will be delivered printed manuals, online help, HTML, and so on. This list should also include any rich media content such as videos you plan to deliver.
For more information on rich media, see Using rich media content on page Receivableswhat the writers and other documentation team members need from others such as the latest version of the product, access to the developers to get questions answered, existing content, and a template from the template designer. Chapter 3: Very necessary evilsdoc plans and outlines Stylewhat style guidelines will be followed such as in-house style guidelines and The Chicago Manual of Style.
Taskslist of the actions required to complete the project and who is responsible for them. For example, the documentation team will handle information gathering, writing, editing, production editing, and indexing.
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The product developers will provide technical assistance and ensure the accuracy of content. Toolswhat tools such as desktop publishing and graphics software the documentation team will use to create the content.
Chapter 4, The Tech Writers Toolbox, provides more information about tools. Schedulesa schedule for each deliverable see Any formulas for writing doc plans? A schedule should also include dates for editing, illustration, indexing, and preparation for final output print, online, or both. Sometimes, the doc plan itself is a deliverable, particularly if youre a freelance or independent writer. Even if youre not required to deliver the doc plan to your client or your internal customers such as the development team , its a good idea to let them see the doc plan to ensure that everyone understands what they need to do to keep the deliverables on schedule.
Doc plans for external clients If you are producing a documentation plan for an external client, the plan should also include the following items: Copyrightwho will own the copyright of the completed content. Its critical to spell out whether and how the copyright is transferred from the writer to the client company. If youre in business on your own, get advice from an attorney on how to word this section of your proposal or documentation plan. Costa breakdown of the cost for each deliverable see Any formulas for writing doc plans?
Cost may be a fixed price or an hourly rate.For more information on wikis and other collaborative technologies.
How can you acquire those skills? Please do not share or redistribute. When she saw how easily students could follow her instructions, she was pleased that her words were helping them learn to do something she enjoyed.
Just as the technical editing cycle ensures that content follows the style guidelines. The table of contents provides readers with a sequential list of topics in the book. Getting information useful takes as long as writing quality content from scratch. Writing the outline Some word processing programs Microsoft Word.
You obviously need the ability to organize information in your document.
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