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Essential Tools for Technical Writing

    a person using a digital tablet, representing some of the essential tools for technical writing

    In the field of technical writing, one of the many essential elements is working with an assortment of documentation tools. For those pursuing this profession, you must get comfortable with tinkering then becoming proficient with software that will help you to (1) develop content, (2) design specific style and format for a document, and (3) communicate information in both words and visual aids. Technical writers that have the appropriate tools can turn complex information into clear, concise, consistent, and useful material for a target audience. If you decide to step into the world of technical writing, getting familiar with the essential tools for technical writing is key to becoming a great technical writer. There is plenty of software in today’s digital landscape, some are classic tools, and others are quite new. Here are some common tools for technical communicators to get familiarized with.

    Authoring Tools – These types of tools are used to create documents with complex layouts and may require specialized training to fully utilize all the creative documentation capabilities.

    • Adobe FrameMaker – A word processor designed for writing, editing, and customizing large complex documentation. This may include the ability to have Unstructured documents for printed or PDF documents or Structured Documents for DITA authoring and single sourcing. Users can create documents such as newsletters, books, newspapers, magazines, brochures, and much more.
    • Adobe InDesign – Often used by graphic and marketing teams to create white papers, datasheets, brochures, and other marketing content.

    Graphic Tools – Used to enhance visual communications and visual elements to convey a message to the desired audience.

    • Adobe Photoshop – An image editing tool Tech writers can use to alter both traditional and digital photos as well as pixel graphics.
    • Adobe Illustrator – A design tool that can edit vector graphics and can be used on the web, print, video, animations, apps, and more. This tool allows users to scale images without losing their clarity.
    • Microsoft Visio – A diagramming and vector graphics application that helps with creating simple or complex diagrams from a wide variety of built-in shapes, objects, and stencils. In technical writing, you can quickly create professional flowcharts timelines, Venn diagrams, and more.

    Helping Authoring Tools – Instrumental in the creation of documentation that aids with user guidance on how a product or service functions.

    • Adobe RoboHelp – Used to create online documentation and online help systems for desktop and web-based applications.
    • Madcap Flare – Used to design and create technical documentation for online help, knowledge bases, API documentation, training content, learning programs, policy & procedure, and more.

    Screen Recording Tools – Software that allows users to capture and record the actions that are being performed on a computer screen. Users can edit by adding audio, images, text, and more.

    • Snagit – Users can scroll capture which is the ability to capture an entire webpage, document, or additional content you are viewing. As well as capture and edit videos and animated Gifs.
    • Camtasia – Users can record screens, edit videos along with animation and other visual effects.
    • Adobe Captivate – An eLearning tool with screen simulations. Users can create and edit slides that may include embedded audio, images, video, text, and interactive functions.

    Conclusion

    As technology continues to grow so will the document tools technical writers need to succeed in the rapidly changing industries. A technical writer must be ready to get familiar with the next up-and-coming tool that will make all the difference in whether you create a professional document. Producing high-quality documentation starts with having the right tools. Without them, a technical writer can only do half their job. In this digital age, many software tools are making technical writing easier than ever before. So, if you decide to pursue a career in technical writing be prepared to face and become well versed in a variety of documentation tools.

    Technical Writers with Essential Tools: How EDC helps

    At EDC there are trained technical writers with a wide range of experiences to address all your business needs. From senior to junior technical writers that can create documentation for a large enterprise or a small business. As technology continues to evolve so have the technical writers at EDC. They have the skillset to use the latest automation technology to handle all the high-volume data businesses produce in this day and age. EDC can transform your data and improve how you create, develop, and store your data making it easier for your business operations to run efficiently.

    Whether you need a team of consultants to produce a complete line of documentation or a single technical writer for a brief project, Essential Data’s Engagement Manager will lead the project from start to finish. At Essential Data Corporation, the quality of our work is guaranteed. Contact us today to get started. (800) 221-0093 or sales@edc.us

    Written by Kimberly Jones

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