One of the vital things that technical writing must need is the consistency of writing the language and use appropriate language entities so that the meaning remains intact and the standard of the documentation is preserved.
When your documentation conveys the technical information because of the document's correct formatting, it becomes more readable to the audience. Consistently and adequately spell, abbreviate, capitalize, hyphenate, italicize, and bold text set precise meaning to your writing. Again the use of correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation has its appealing significance.
For simplifying the assignment of formatting homogeneously, technical writers need to implement word processing tools like Microsoft Word, Leap Office, Open Office, or Adobe Frame Maker, Adobe PageMaker.
- In your document, you can make use of Times New Roman typeface to make reading easier. If you need to view it from a distance, make use of the Helvetica typeface.
- Also, technical writers should maintain a 2- point difference in font size between subheading and main headings. The standard size should be 11 or 12- points for your text in the document.
- Make sure you underline the hyperlinks within the document so that you can add them as per the requirement if you need to further add links to them.
- Make available 1- inch side, bottom, and top margins and sufficient as well as steady white space for dividing information, which will make your documentation visually appealing. It also depends on what type of format your company, organization, or venture is following.
- Also, you need to provide standardized spacing before as well as after headings and paragraphs. Justify your document paragraph to the left and use 1.5 lines spacing for normal text and not itemized lists. A space between two paragraphs is also a good habit of a professional technical writer.
- Heading and subheading for the main topic and its subsections is another essential practice that needs to be kept in mind. Also, providing suitable page breaks will ensure that content streams from one page to another without any awkward pause during the reading transition.
- It is essential for breaking a URL (Uniform Resource Locator) or email address by placing a break and not hyphen between these elements, after a colon, equal sign, symbol @, or the slash, but before any other symbols or punctuation. It is also to be noted that when an address contains a hyphen, try to shun breaking that hyphen to avoid confusion.
Producing Figures and Tables
Appropriate figures and tables within your document will eventually enhance your report or technical documentation and express the intended message vividly. Placing these figures and tables comes under formatting the document. Figures in technical writing can be of the following sub-categories:
- schematic drawings
Also, tables can hold data which is of type:
- tabular compilation of data
- computational results
Here are some key points that you can keep in mind while formatting your technical document:
- You have to produce your figures large enough so that they can be easily read and understood, usually at least 1/3rd of a page in size. Maintain consistency in the size of your figures throughout your document.
- Choose noticeable line types and symbols, shades having patterns, distinct colors, etc. for maintaining legibility in an attraction in your document.
- If there are two or more lines, include a key, and use different symbol shapes and line types. Label both axes and include dimensions.
- Make use of photographs and figures, tabular information, or technical block diagrams when the written description is insufficient.