Best Practices for Writing Technical Documentation

Technical writing is an essential part of the modern world and allows companies to explain the use of their products to consumers. This means that high-quality technical documentation needs to be straightforward to understand for your customers.

Your technical writing must be designed to help your customers understand the products they use so that they can have more trust in your business and depend on your manuals and other documentation to help them use your products safely and effectively. To make this a reality, you must follow certain practices optimized for technical writing for engineers so that the documentation you publish for your products is compelling and readable.

General Format Guidelines

Good formatting is essential for any piece of documentation because the format guides the reader through the text. Following formatting guidelines in the professional and technical writing process helps you to achieve better results. Ensure that your technical writers follow the style manual used in your industry. These manuals provide general guidelines and help to ensure consistency in your documentation.

Most technical writing is single-spaced and aligned with the left side of the page. Paragraphs should be distinguished with an indentation at the beginning or extra space between paragraphs. If you are printing your manual, a serif font is generally preferable, while a sans serif font tends to be more useful in digital applications. Finally, having single-inch margins around the page can make it easier to read.

Acronyms, Abbreviations, and Contractions

Acronyms, abbreviations, and contractions can be helpful communication tools, but you need to ensure they are used appropriately in your documentation. Acronyms and abbreviations can confuse some readers, especially if they have never seen the particular acronyms and abbreviations you use before.

The best way to resolve this issue is to spell out the whole phrase the first time it is used with the acronym or abbreviation in parenthesis. Then you can use the shortened version throughout the rest of your documentation. If the abbreviation is used in everyday speech, it does not need to be spelled out in full. This ensures that your audience understands your language to describe your processes.

While useful in conversation, contractions tend to send an unprofessional message in technical writing. Make it a point to avoid all contractions in writing you produce for professional documentation. Technical writing services can ensure that contractions are avoided, and acronyms and abbreviations are used appropriately.


Any technical writing aims to ensure your audience understands the process they need to follow to use your products correctly. Any ambiguity in your documentation can increase the likelihood that a customer will misunderstand your manual. This could lead to mistakes that might be frustrating or even unsafe for your customers. A technical writing consultant can help you to avoid ambiguity in your writing, so you know your customers will get the right message when they read your manual. Being specific and transparent with your word choice will avoid confusion and ensure you and your customers are on the same page.


When creating technical writing, it is essential to understand who that writing is intended for. The audience you are writing for can help you determine the vocabulary you should use and how you should write about the topic. If you are creating products for businesses in an industry where experts will be reading your manuals, the writing will need to be different than when you are writing for consumers who may not have experience. Let the audience guide your writing so you do not create manuals that are too technical for your audience or that oversimplify things for expert audiences. With the help of technical writing outsourcing, you can ensure that experts in the field perform all your documentation.


You must also make sure your documentation is free of cliches. This is important for many reasons, including that cliche in your writing can make you look unprofessional and outdated. Additionally, cliches can often be ambiguous and more difficult to understand. Try to use clear, precise language that avoids cliches and helps your customers to have a clear picture of the products are services you are providing.


It is common for technical writing to be long-winded and confusing for many customers. But the ideal technical writing document will use as few words as needed to convey the meaning. Using an active voice and powerful verbiage that gets to the point can help you to increase brevity without losing meaning. When your technical writing finds the balance between being brief and thorough, you can reach your audience effectively and avoid losing them in the dense wording of your text.


Headings can be essential for conveying importance and organization in technical writing. The most important thing about your headings is that they need to be consistent and parallel in structure. Having various headings levels can help you divide your manual into sections and subsections. This makes it easier to read and comprehend, which can result in fewer misunderstandings among your readers. Technical documentation service providers are trained to use headings in the most effective ways to guide your readers throughout the piece of documentation.


Jargon can be a helpful tool when you are communicating within your office. But since jargon can be particular, it does not transfer well to a broader audience. With this in mind, you want to avoid technical jargon in all your documentation. Instead, use vocabulary that is generally accepted and used in standard English.


Using lists can be an excellent way to convey a large amount of information quickly and effectively. But lists need to be formatted correctly if you want them to be understood by your audience. When creating lists, you want to ensure that your language is parallel to each list item. You also need to avoid punctuation with shortlist items, include punctuation with lists written in complete sentences, and use a logical order. These tools keep your lists consistent and readable for your audience.


When creating documentation for your products, it is essential to ensure they are as objective as possible. Including opinions in your documentation can make it confusing, provide room for misunderstanding, and potentially lead to disagreement between you and your customer. Instead of using objective language in your writing, it becomes more factual and more accessible for your customers to understand and implement. Quality technical writing will always be as objective as possible.


Paragraphs are another critical organizational tool you should use in your technical writing. You don’t want to keep your paragraphs longer than five sentences since long paragraphs are difficult to read. Additionally, ensure you have a clear division between your paragraphs, so they don’t bleed together on the page. Using transition sentences can help to make your paragraphs more readable.


The goal of your technical writing should be to make your products understandable to your audience. Using parallel structure is essential to providing consistency and clarity to your writing. Parallelism is achieved by using consistent language and design throughout your writing. For example, if you start a list using items written using the ending “ing” for your verbs, you want to continue that structure throughout the list. Doing this will make your list easier to understand and look at on the page.

Sentence Length

As you compose your technical writing, the length of sentences should also be a concern. There can be some variance in sentence length, but you want to strive for short, clear sentences when possible. Sometimes a longer sentence may be necessary, but you don’t want them to become the norm. Technical authoring companies work to use short sentences that provide clarity to readers.

When you are producing technical writing for your products, there are a lot of essential rules that need to be followed. You must use the correct language, structure, and graphics in technical writing. Using technical authoring services can ensure that your writing is readable and compelling. 

If you need or want the best technical writing services available, then please visit our website for more information. 

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