Have you ever wondered what is technical writing or how to start writing this way? Look no further! In this article, you will find anything that is important in technical writing and we will try to pick up the best software for technical writers!
- Technical writing – what is this?
- Why is technical writing so important?
- Best software for technical writers
- Google Docs
- Articulate Rise
- Markdown Editor
- Microsoft Word
- Adobe Captivate
- DomiKnow ONE
- “Do I need anything else?”
- How to choose the best software for technical writers?
- Related articles
Technical writing – what is this?
To put it simply, technical writing is creating technical texts from the fields of science and technical professions. The author creates texts on a specific subject. The text additionally includes tips, guidance, or explanations to difficult matters. As you can see, it is something different from creative, academic, or business writing. Nevertheless, it is the largest field in technical communication. Technical writing is used in fields such as:
- computer software and hardware;
- engineering and robotics;
- biotechnology and medical fields
Who is using this style then? As an author of this type of text, I understand a typical technical writer. It is a person who creates technical documentation and such for a living. You could say they translate specialistic content and complex ideas into a brief and clear text. A person who would like to become a technical writer should be communicative. They must have research and operating skills. Do you have those? If yes, you would be a perfect technical writer.
Why is technical writing so important?
As I have already mentioned, technical writing is important because it translates a complicated and often incomprehensible technical language to a text understandable to a regular user. This makes it a very important part of communication between producers and their target.
In the fields of science and technology professionals often use convoluted language. On top of that, they use specialistic vocabulary. In other words, it seems like rocket science for people not familiar with the subject. Sometimes even reading the definition doesn’t help much! Thanks to people who do technical writing we have coursebooks, analysis reports, manuals, or process instructions. Are you still not convinced that technical writing is important? In that case, do you remember how hard was it to put together a piece of furniture or to make your new electronic device work for the first time? Now imagine the manual could have been written in an even more complex way!
Best software for technical writers
Every profession needs specialistic tools. This article focuses on the 10 best technical writing software reviews.
It doesn’t matter if you’re already into technical writing or you’re about to start your adventure with it. Having a proper tool will make your work much easier. Depending on your area of expertise, your tools will differ.
Firstly, let’s focus on the most popular and the best help authoring tools (HAT). Those are the most basic tools that help the user to create online support systems. If you’re ready to learn more about the best software for technical writers we encourage you to see our top 10 picks – keep on reading!
One of the most popular platforms for publishing documentations, usually blogs, is WordPress. You can easily publish content on WordPress for free.
WordPress does not only let you publish your texts online but applications too. Additionally, you can expand its functionality with the help of more than 55,000 plugins. They make it easier for you to create content more professionally or optimize it for SEO. The website works fast and is very intuitive, even for people who are just starting their adventure with technical writing.
WordPress has the option to create your own templates or to download templates already created by other people. Thanks to that, your texts will look very appealing to the viewer. Starting your adventure with WordPress is very intuitive and creating technical documentation is easy.
Google Docs is a platform that offers lots of possibilities with many users working at the same time. This free-of-charge option works well in companies when more than one person is working on a project. With Google Docs there is no such thing as incompatibility of versions. Additionally, updates are conducted virtually in real-time. Benefits? You can check who works on which part of the project anytime.
Because this is an online application you need to have an Internet connection. Otherwise, you won’t be able to use it. Text edition options are limited as well. That doesn’t change the fact that this is a very intuitive and useful tool for many technical writers.
Another modern tool for creating online documentation is ClickHelp. With its help, technical writers can create technical documentation, publish manuals or export them to different formats such as PDF, ePUB, or DOCX. The tool is based on your web browser and is compatible with the most popular ones.
Unlike two previous authorizing tools from the list, ClickHelp is a paid tool. However, its creator allows you to use a free trial – something for people who want to test how it works.
I’m sure you’ve been browsing Wikipedia articles many times. If not (which is veeery unlikely), it is a free, online encyclopedia. It works on MediaWiki software which is based on PHP. Thanks to this tool you can easily create new content. What is equally important – your old content will be stored. Your articles can also be directly integrated with Wikipedia in case you don’t have your website.
MediaWiki has also plug-ins options for technical writing and support for writing in different languages. This free tool is used by big companies for publishing their sale, marketing information or policies, and code of conduct.
Another authoring tool is Articulate Rise. It is an online tool for creating content that is also one of the updates for Articulate 360 (released in 2016). It is recommended for those who are just starting technical writing. With this tool, they can easily create simple, yet elegant content. This tool also allows you to create in the cloud. Thanks to that feature you can cooperate with others. Using additional plug-in Articulate Storyline also improves certain processes. A drawback may be the lack of multi-SCO which makes managing translations more time-consuming.
Markdown is a tool that gained lots of popularity in recent years. Originally, however, it was not supposed to be a technical writing tool. At first, it was used as an alternative to HTML, but quickly it started to evolve along with users’ needs. It is very easy to handle tool that does not require additional words or syntax. You also don’t need additional editors to create your content in Markdown.
If you’re a technical writer or a writer in general, Microsoft Word is probably the first tool that comes to your mind when it comes to writing content. No wonder. This is a technical writing tool included with Microsoft Office.
People usually start using it when they’re still in school. Because of that it is very intuitive and gets easier to use with every new version. In terms of technical writing, it gives you a wide variety of text editing options. The Office suite with Word is available in two versions: as software and online as Office365. This option is a paid one, with the possibility of a one-year free trial.
One of the most powerful authorizing tools on the list is a desktop application – Adobe Captivate. It is a software for more experienced authors that will be able to use all of the tool’s potential. Because of the nature of the tool, there is no possibility to cooperate with other people. However, there is a screen record option which allows user to create good quality demonstration systems. If you’re still not convinced, you can always try out a trial version.
Adapt is a free tool working as an open-source that creates a responsive HTML5 content. What does it mean? Authors from all around the world can add new social interactions – in a limited form, though. You can create many interesting projects and themes on your own. However pre-installed products look too plain and too basic.
Last but not least in this best technical writing software review is DomiKnow ONE. With the help of this tool, you can easily create lots of different content. Making responsive content for mobile devices? Sure thing. Cooperating with others? Also possible thanks to integration with a cloud. This software has an integrated tool to create and simulate content.
“Do I need anything else?”
There is no simple answer to that question. It all depends on your plans and the content you’ll be creating. Some applications and tools will help you achieve even better results. For instance, you can use Grammarly. With its help, you’ll be sure that your texts are grammatically correct. Is it helpful with technical writing? Absolutely! Grammarly will pick even the tiniest grammatical error, a type-o, or a missing comma. With Grammarly, which is free-of-charge, you can create even more professional content.
How to choose the best software for technical writers?
I’m sure you might feel overwhelmed with the number of available technical writing software. How to choose the best of them?
Again, there is no simple answer to that. While making the decision you should consider several things. What will you mostly do? Is writing everything? How experienced are you? Will you be working on the content just by yourself?
A good practice is to try as many tools for technical writing as you can. It will help you find the best tool for you. Platforms such as WordPress are developed and adjusted for users’ needs. Thanks to that you can be sure that as time passes by everything will still be in line with trends or requirements.
What about paid programs/applications? It’s a good idea to find a trial version. Because of that, you’ll get to know the possibilities of the tool. Rest assured that you’ll definitely find software for technical writing that will satisfy your needs. Apart from a proper tool for technical writing, you should develop certain skills if you think about this profession seriously. Always do good research, know your target audience, and try to write with a simple and understandable language. These are just a few tips about how to become a good technical writer.
All righty! Now you have a basic understanding of technical writing tools and know some tips on how to write technical projects. Have fun with your future projects.