Questions tagged [technical-writing]

Documentation, tutorials, training, user guides, installation guides, design documents, and all other types of technical documentation in any domain (not just software).

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When hiring an animator or an artist, how do you insure that you don't become solely reliant on that artist or animator?

When hiring an animator or an artist, how do you insure that you don't become solely reliant on that artist or animator? When writing a script and giving art direction through writing, how do you ...
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A source for writing instruction manuals [closed]

As a technical writer, I'm looking for good sources to help me carry out the task of writing instruction manuals for industrial products.
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How can I avoid accidents when writing special characters with the [alt] key? [closed]

Writing some characters require a combination of keys that include the [alt] key and some digits from the numeric pad. For instance, [alt]+[174] will write a Spanish quote («). Such combinations only ...
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Using "etc." at the end of list introduced by "e.g."

According to the Strunk & White's The Elements of Style (p. 46) at the end of a list introduced by such as, for example, or any similar expression, etc. is incorrect. However, I have seen "...
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Workflow for Markdown or Asciidoc documents

I write a lot of teaching material on using coding languages. I have taken to using Markdown because it’s very easy to just get into it and mark up headings, tables and code samples. The software I’m ...
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When describing a logo to an artist you've hired, what should you write and in what format?

When describing a logo to an artist you've hired, what should you write and in what format? Tried to find some documents intended for artists, so that I can have an artist reproduce my design from ...
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How do you accurately describe a race track without using an image?

How do you accurately describe a race track without using an image? Let's say you have this image, but you can't use it as a reference. How do you manage to exactly describe it in a way someone could ...
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What are the conventions for formatting links to two API references in software user guide text?

Background I'm working as a technical writer on a software project where there are three related documents: a user guide, a Python API reference and a C++ API reference. The user guide describes how ...
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Semicolon and period in software instructions

I'm writing a software manual and I worry about my semicolon usage. I believe I'm using them correctly, but it's not that I have to. My project is a software manual. People scan for the information ...
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2 votes
2 answers
55 views

Referring to an earlier defined phrase so that it's not taken literally

Say I define a phrase like 'pen' or '10 miles'. Then when I refer to these defined phrases inline in the text, how should I refer to them to let the reader know that I am referring to the defined ...
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Resources for beginner/intermediate writers

I'm an undergraduate student who's currently self-studying writing in quarantine. At present, I've read some books and browsed writing workshop websites on academic or technical writing. However, the ...
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Does a technical writer need API experience for writing API documentation?

I am a technical writer that currently writes for the aviation industry. I got a job offer for an API technical writer position. They said I don’t need API experience, but they think my experience ...
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Is Scientific Writing equal to Research Paper Writing

I am just not sure if Scientific Writing is same as research paper writing.
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1 answer
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Starting a sentence one word before a new line [closed]

I am curious if starting a new sentence right before a new line, in this case leaving only one word before the new line, is correct. I am having trouble explaining even what this situation is, but I ...
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2 votes
1 answer
132 views

Effort equivalence between video course and written course

If 1 page of a technical course is worth 1 point, how many points is 1 hour of a technical video course worth, creation effort-wise? Background and context: I work in academia in a technical field (...
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Citation throughout my book rather than at the end as a bibliography

My book is a health/ wellness/ diet book/ metabolic issues etc. Throughout my book which I am 3/4 of the way through I have added in the website links after a piece of evidence. I have used 95% of my ...
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Correct way to write units of measurement in technical document?

"We have 31in of whatever and 4m of whatever etc..." Should there be a space between the number and the units? Should the units be in italics or normal font? When do the units go in italics? ...
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How do you get a patent description proofread?

How do you get a patent description proofread? Is it a service offered by patent office for free as long as you paid the application fees, or is it something you need to get proofread by someone? Also,...
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How to mark up dialog or menu item names in technical writing

I'm wondering about the correct way to mark up icon/menu item/dialog names in the context of technical writing (user's guide). Here's a small excerpt from a document I'm writing: Clicking the “...
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1 answer
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What is the process of creating a word using Latin and Greek word parts?

I am trying to create a word that means "division of a single God", but I am having some trouble. If I understand correctly, any word must have a suffix, root and prefix, but sometimes I ...
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2 votes
2 answers
68 views

Can we use 'then' after a 'when'?

I know about the logical expression of 'if --- then', such as 'If the temperature reaches or exceeds a particular temperature, then the kettle will turn off.' But what about situations that involve '...
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Should you cite the document you're refuting or only the documents you use to prove your argument in a research paper?

Should you cite the document you're refuting or only the documents you use to prove your argument in a research paper? I am wondering what's the consensus on this, because in my opinion, it doesn't ...
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2 votes
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How a psychiatrist must talk?

I wrote a scene of a psychiatrist talking to a traumatized child, and I read and read it several times but still not convinced and satisfied with it. Are there any book recommendations or extracts ...
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1 answer
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How do you create new words if latin suffixes and prefixes are not sufficient in allowing you to create a new word you want to create?

How do you create new words if latin suffixes and prefixes are not sufficient in allowing you to create a new word you want to create? What are the things people use to make up for a lack of latin ...
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2 votes
2 answers
81 views

Best way to explain references to historic currency

What is the best way to explain the pre-decimal British Pound in a text that has multiple references to it. I already have something written to explain how to convert from pre-decimal to post-decimal ...
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1 answer
199 views

Capitalize "million" when using as a unit

When you write "1 Million", should it be "1 Million" or "1 million"? I would assume capital based on the symbol for mega being 'M'.
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1 answer
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Should there be a space between quantitative units?

I understand that the SI standard for units is to have a space between the number and unit: Unit of measurement and formatting https://physics.nist.gov/cuu/Units/checklist.html But, does this apply ...
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2 answers
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Database documentation verb choice: If "fieldname" has/contains/is/displays

I'm trying to find the right verb for database documentation. I have to write a lot of these and it is very long; so I am working for a consistent and reusable way to phrase this. What I have now: ...
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0 votes
1 answer
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Writing about a large Application Programming Interface

I would like to write a tutorial for a large Application Programming Interface, let me call that way. It is a library of many elements, in the thousand range. Obviously, only part of it is frequently ...
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3 answers
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Mapping relationships between topics in a non-fiction series

I am working on a series of episodes that will be made into individual videos to explain different technologies and how they interrelate at different levels within a specific application domain (the ...
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3 votes
1 answer
99 views

What is the proper format for filetype extensions in technical writing?

We are writing a collaborative paper that will include various examples of data types. When stating the data type file extension, how should it be presented? For example, "The platform will be ...
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2 answers
114 views

How do I write a strong hook for an argumentative essay?

The scenario is to write a hook for an argumentative essay. The topic is "Can tigers be kept in zoos?", as they have less space in zoos compared to nature, and for other reasons they should ...
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3 votes
2 answers
164 views

Should I use more transition words? [closed]

I just wrote a blog post, and then I went to publish it on our team blog. The Wordpress instance for the team has this "Yoast SEO" plugin. Among other things, it judges my writing style: I'...
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4 votes
1 answer
85 views

Mixed numerals and words in a list

In APA style, we generally use the word for numbers less than 10 and the numeral for numbers equal or greater than 10. However, I am editing a sentence that has predominantly single-digit numbers and ...
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1 vote
2 answers
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Hyphen, Comma or Brackets? What should I use?

Which would be the proper style for a scientific publication: It is required that a, b, and, depending on a and b, c is given. It is required that a, b, and - depending on a and b - c is given. It ...
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1 vote
3 answers
90 views

How to credit an artist for adding minor details to a vehicle?

How do you credit someone for coming up with a general design of a vehicle without designing every little aspect about it? Let's say you make a video and you want to credit the person who came up with ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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When is it appropriate to include citations in a guidebook?

I'm working on a series of self-published guidebooks aimed at teaching tech skills for people who aren't tech literate. My only prior experiences writing nonfiction have been research papers for ...
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5 votes
2 answers
348 views

Is it confusing for the reader to encounter in a novel the same language written with two different letters? Tamazight language as an example

I'm writing a fictional novel in English and I have a mythical character who speaks a combo of English-Tamazight (80% English). For those who don't know, it's the native language of all North African ...
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2 votes
2 answers
122 views

Writing about the historical relationship between math and physics

I'm not sure if this is best suited for Writing SE, or perhaps one of the science SE's. In any case, feel free to move this if fitting. I've been tasked with writing a 20-30 page paper on the history ...
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How should I structure a small non-fiction book/paper about a groundbreaking product/invention?

I want to write a book/paper about an invention I have thought and developed conceptually. But I'm really struggling on what I should include in it and how to structure the information. Any ...
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0 votes
1 answer
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See examples 1 and 2 in section X - or - See section X, examples 1 and 2

Which form is more common when referring to examples (or, for example, tables)? Some text (see examples 1a and 2e in X). or Some text (see X, examples 1a and 2e). X is the title of the section. ...
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2 answers
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Is it correct to write: "Your payment's being processed"? [closed]

Is it correct to write: "Your payment's being processed" ?
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1 answer
98 views

When vs. If vs. In situation where

An excerpt from Microsoft Writing Style Guide, which I'm trying to follow: Use if to express a condition, use whether to express uncertainty, and use when for situations that require preparation or ...
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6 votes
2 answers
250 views

How do you write a story with someone else overseas?

My friend and I have wanted to write a story together for a while now. But she lives in a different country, so we are just confused on how we can do this over calls. Because I know that we can't call ...
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1 vote
3 answers
438 views

Referencing figures, tables, sections and chapters: When to capitalize and when to use lower case letters

I know this question has been asked before, but I am still confused. That’s why I am asking again, but in a detailed way. In a scientific work, a master’s thesis for example, you will insert figures ...
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1 vote
3 answers
178 views

Engineer who wants to improve their writing from scratch

To expand on the title, I am about to finish my engineering degree. However, I haven't really written an essay for the past ten years. The main reason was that I focused all my attention on maths-...
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0 votes
2 answers
59 views

Section headings: "to check..." vs. "checking"

I have a technical document which consists of the following sections: 1. Assignment statements 2. Concatenation 3. Data types 4. To check whether key exists 5. To retrieve value 6. To check whether ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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How to list main ideas in a conclusion chapter without being repetitive with the wording?

In the conclusions chapter of my book (technical, non fiction writing) I want to go over the main ideas I addressed throughout the entire book, as a reminder for the reader and really drive in some of ...
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0 votes
2 answers
150 views

ShareLaTeX or OverLeaf templates to write a book to be self-published on Amazon

I'm planning to write a book and eventually self-publish it online through Amazon (I haven't decided which platform on Amazon yet, but Kindle seems reasonable). The book will contain mostly texts, but ...
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1 vote
1 answer
234 views

Zero-that clause (noun clause with that)

After omitting "that" from a that-clause, is the clause still dependent? Or, does doing this turn it into an independent clause? For example: Before: "I suggested that she not go there." After: "I ...
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