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Things You Should Know About A Technical Writing Style Guide

We already know that technical writing is about making things simple for the end users to understand. But some technical documentation could be difficult to understand. This may be due to the complexity of sentences, the use of uncommon words, or others.

That’s why a technical writer must stick to a style guide. It lets them know about the typical brand language, style, terms, and abbreviations. Also, it tells them how to arrange documents and other ways to write well. Let’s get into the details of knowing it well.

Technical Writing Style Guide

For ease of understanding, we have kept things simple and direct. You can also use this article as a reference to ensure you are sticking to the technical writing style guide when writing.

Grammar and Syntax

  • Explain clearly and straightforwardly to avoid confusion. Write in a way that is easy for the target audience to understand.

  • Make use of the active voice when writing instructions. Active voice makes them more direct and concise.

For example: “The software updates automatically” (active voice) vs. “The software is updated automatically” (passive voice).

  • Ensure the proper use of a subject-verb agreement to maintain grammatical correctness.

For example: “The user enters their login credentials” (correct) vs. “The user enter their login credentials” (incorrect).

Tone and Voice

  • Customize your writing tone to match the audience. You should maintain a professional and informative tone when writing technical instructions.

  • Avoid jargon and technical terms when writing for non-experts. Instead, provide clear explanations and definitions.

For example: Instead of saying, “Enter the IMEI,” explain it as “Enter the unique 15-digit number found on the back of your phone called the IMEI.”

Formatting and Layout

  • Use consistent font styles and sizes throughout the document for an elegant look.

  • Organize content and create a logical flow by employing headings and subheadings.

  • Utilize bullet points for lists to make information more scannable and digestible.

  • Focus on the overall document structuring as it can improve the user’s understanding.

Visuals and Graphics

  • Include relevant images, diagrams, and charts. These will complement the text and help in understanding the document better.

  • Label visuals clearly using suitable captions to provide context. For instance, a labeled diagram can help users identify different components in a technical guide for assembling furniture.

  • Ensure that images are of high quality and in a suitable format for the intended output (e.g., JPEG, PNG). Also provide transitions where possible.

Writing Conventions

Use numbered lists for step-by-step procedures. By doing so, the reader will have a clear sequence.

For example:

  1. Turn on the device.

  2. Select “Settings.”

  3. Choose “Wi-Fi.”

Include warnings or cautions where necessary to alert readers of risks or important information. For instance, “Caution: Do not expose the device to extreme temperatures.”

When documenting code or commands, use a monospaced font for clarity and easy differentiation from regular text.

Language and Localization

Avoid using idioms or cultural references that might not be universally understood. For instance, “This function is a piece of cake to use” may be challenging to understand for non-English speakers.

The measurements and units are in a format that aligns with the target audience location. For example, use the metric system for an international audience and the imperial system for a US-specific audience.

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Conclusion

Technical writers must stick to the technical writing style guide. Doing this will ensure that their documentations are user-friendly, consistent, and convey information effectively. That, in the end, will enhance the overall user experience and minimize confusion. Through this blog post, we have let you know about the technical writing style guide and how you can get better with it.

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