In today world, the ‘electronic text processing’ tools have made couple of things quite easy for a technical documentation. If you are a technical writer, these tools can help you create your own type-set version of a document, something which may undergo a review process. However, this is something you can trace back to an original source file any day and that makes it essential that you trim down any deficiencies in terms of form and style at your end, from the very first word.

Before we start let’s get “These words out of your Writing!”

  • It (many of you already have the fatal it or it’s)
  • Those
  • There
  • Them
  • Which
  • That
  • They

Most technical writing companies in India and abroad have their own customized check list to be followed while writing. Here are some common dos and don’ts for writing a technical document.

Here are the Do’s:

First of all, know your audience well and refer to a prescribed standard of style. Pre-write the content to understand the flow and gaps of knowledge at your end. Display a good readability in your content. Make use of active verbs to convey the clear sets of steps or processes. Use possessive form of words.

Make use of clear, unambiguous words whose meaning you are sure of. Avoid use of unnecessary prepositional phrases. Reduce the number of adjectives and adverbs altogether.

If you are discussing different subjects in your text, setup a smooth transition between any two topics. Find the connecting thread in between the two chapters and maintain a flow for better comprehension.

If using tables, list or figures, be sure of the validity of the given data. Present the data in a table or a list in a parallel structure. Provide captions to address the information within a table or figure with its corresponding text.

Give a thorough review to the entire content and re-write the portion you think, can be presented better. Look for mistakes, typos, breaks in logic, ambiguity – anything that detracts from a clear report that is easy to read.

And here are the Don’ts:

Do not use abbreviations unless specified to do so. Do not apply contractions or any gender specific pronouns. Don’t use intensifier to convey strength of an action or a property of a subject.

Don’t use filler words such as redundant pairs, modifiers or similar categories. Do not use long noun strings in order to modify the last noun of a sentence.

Do not apply ‘Metadiscourse’ and avoid your personality spilling into the content. Do not address the reader directly unless you are creating a user manual of some kind. Do not repeat the obvious conclusion of an action.

Do not assume anything about the process or product in hand. Do not make your report humorous. What is amusing to you may be offensive or inexplicable to your reader.

Do not rush to send the content for further processing without glossing over the content for accuracy and coherency.

Follow these do’s and don’ts meticulously, to ensure quality work on all your projects. Happy Writing!