Technical Writing Aid

Standards and Templates for Technical Writing

Standards
All technical writers must abide by certain universal standards:

  • Bold type indicates a menu item the user selects. For example, a Word guide might read: Go to Page Layout and select Margins.
  • CAPITAL LETTERS indicate user commands to press a certain key. For example: After typing the text, press ENTER.
  • A plus sign (+)indicates two or more keys are pressed simultaneously. For example: Press CTRL+N to open a new document.
  • Numbers under 10 are written out in full, except when those numbers are used as a unit of measure or date. For example: On August 2, nine people paid $5.00 to bet on the horse with 3:1 odds.

Templates
A template is a standard design or blueprint for any type of document. There are templates for business letters, resumes, technical reports, user guides, and almost every type of document or project. The template provides a universal framework that helps collaborators produce consistent work. Team members who use different styles waste secretarial time with reformatting and pasting the sections into a master document. The project manager wastes time coordinating document changes.

Word processing programs come equipped with common templates. Technical writers can easily create their own templates in Microsoft Word, Adobe FrameMaker, Open Office, or Corel WordPerfect. Save your files as .rtf so that collaborators using different word processors can edit the master document.

Technical Writing - Main

Last Updated: 07/29/2014

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