Perfecting collaborative authoring for online Help

Yesterday, I wrote: “There are some activities that seem like they always could be improved. One is creating an authoring environment where professional technical communicators and other staff can work together.” Writing online Help is different from writing some other types of content, in that it involves topic-based authoring. Content is stored in modular, re-usable and flexible… Read more »

Editing and proofreading content with linters

A linter is a software utility that flags “suspicious usage” in software. Although linters are used by developers mostly to write more bug-free code, there are a few utilities emerging that work with documentation. They could be useful if you’re writing Web pages, markdown files or XML files. Write good checks for passive voice, repeated words, adverbs, weasel words,… Read more »

Cutting and pasting content into Word documents – Is there a better way?

Earlier this week, we were helping a large company finalise a bid document where they were required to use a Word file sent by their client. This involved taking content from the company’s repository of standard documents on SharePoint, and from emails, plus writing down information provided verbally by the Subject Matter Experts. The bid writing team had to cut the relevant content from… Read more »

Is it possible for Technical Authors to write content more quickly?

Approximately 50% of a Technical Author’s day is spent writing. However, when Technical Publications teams look for efficiencies, they tend to focus on the 50% of time spent on non-writing activities, such as researching, reviewing and planning. They assume the content itself cannot be written more quickly. To an extent, they are right, as the querty qwerty keyboard… Read more »