Technical Author Training

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Technical Writer

What software tools should you use?

Manuals for Printing or PDF

I believe in providing documentation that my customers can maintain themselves if necessary, to handle minor updates and changes. Therefore, I use MS Word in .docx format because there's always someone at the office who can use it.

I have used Word for all the manuals that I have written over the past 20 years or more, and have learned how to tame its quirks. There are many Time-Saving Tips in the training course.

This means that you can produce a professional-looking manual, with an "automatic" Table of Contents at the front and a very thorough Index-at-the-Back, which is ever-so useful for the end reader when they want to look up something specific. I recommend an index for any document of 15-20 pages or more.

By "automatic", I mean that as you update the manual later on, adding or removing content, the page numbers will update correctly, when you refresh the links before printing.

In my technical writing course, the Resources CD provides a specially-written Macro so that you can tag keywords in an instant.

In my opinion, you don't need a special (and usually expensive) desk-top publishing package that only a specialist can use, unless you need to spend big bucks on publications. The big advantage to you is that almost anybody can do an update. See Manuals.


To create PDF outputs there are various excellent packages available, including Adobe Acrobat, Nitro PDF and PrimoPDF. I use a couple of these, as the occasion requires. 

Philip Tory, Technical Writer


Learn how to do Technical Writing with my self-study Course Manual. Follow the link on the Home Page.