How To Write Technical Documents
A technical document details the functionality and gives guidance on handling a product. It is usually issued by a manufacturer or an expert. It provides information on instructions and caution.
A technical document does not need a catchy introduction. The reader needs information that you should give right away. Avoid giving many unnecessary details.
Choose your words carefully. Writing a technical document calls for precision and factual presentation of details. While the use of jargons is unavoidable in technical writing, it is important to use them carefully. Unless you are writing for your peers, use language that is understandable and universal. If you cannot avoid the jargons, give a glossary at the end of your document to give the readers outside your field an idea of what you are explaining. Your language should also be gender-sensitive.
Use simple and clear sentences. A technical document with complex sentences could be the most disinteresting document you can ever come across. The readers outside your profession are not the only likely victims, members of your profession can also get bored with long, complex sentences. Such sentences do not impress the readers, they make your document difficult to understand. Remember, whatever you are writing goes to waste if nobody can understand it.
To give your writing more authority, use an active voice and avoid unnecessary wordiness. Be concise in your explanations. An active voice brings out your points more clearly and dispels any doubts readers might have. When writing user manuals and instructions, use directives, also called imperatives. These are documents meant to show the reader how to do something and need to be as clear as possible.
A technical document should be error-free. To earn trust and respect from your readers, ensure there are no embarrassing grammatical and punctuation errors. Check your spellings and ensure they are correct. Wrong spellings are unprofessional and make your readers doubt your qualifications. Have a dictionary to help you, the spell checker might not be reliable in detecting all the errors.
When writing a technical document, it is important you use bullets in communicating the main points. Most readers have no patience for long paragraphs. Make your work as simple to use as possible. However, in cases where paragraphing cannot be avoided, make them short and simple.
Know your audience. Knowing whom your document targets will help you with the choice of language and the information to include. Give someone with no clue on the subject your draft to read. Take interest on the points the person takes time to understand and make them simpler. Take the recommendations and embark on editing your work further.
Writing a technical document, is a headache to most professionals who have the idea of what is needed but do not know how to package it. These simple steps could be your avenue to the best technical documents.
- Use an appropriate, jargon-free language.
- Use simple, clear sentences.
- Use active voice
- Use short bullets or short paragraphs.
- Know your target audience.
- Edit and proofread your work.