Technical Writing must be written to the point, providing precise information on any technical subject, targeted to a particular audience, to serve a unique purpose.
There are various applications available on the internet, to lessen your burden and to quicken your task. Among them, we have listed the top 10, along with each of their respective USP (Unique Selling Proposition):
1.Notepad++ : It is a useful beginner’s HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) editor, has GUI (Graphical User Interface) that can be customized for easy editing, and can support WYSIWIG (short for What You See Is What You Get) in case of printing. It also has options for multi – language support.
USP: Notepad++ offers a wide set of plug – ins, like Multi – clipboard, Code Compare, Auto – Save, and many more. By choosing the appropriate plug – ins, technical writers can transform an ordinary beginner’s editor to a potential help on editing, online.
2.WordPress : If you want your product to be documented in the form of blogs, then WordPress is the application for you. It is an open forum – a free, online platform. Blogs written here can either be accessed directly from the WordPress URL (Uniform Resource Locator) or can be integrated into your company website.
USP: Isolated blogs may not gain proper attention. So, the trick is to write and promote the blogs on social media, which would show the users’ comments and appreciation, hence targeting it towards a more specific audience.
3.Microsoft Word : Among a wide variety of applications, Microsoft Word still stands tall as the most commonly used application, and has become the technical writers’ best friend. It offers easy conversion between PDF (Portable Document Format) and DOC (Document) formats, along with the combination of Word and Adobe Acrobat Reader.
USP: Here, you can experiment with various document templates, which will help your document to look befitting for every purpose, be it marketing flyers, trouble – shooting guides, and many more.
4.Workflowy : This application helps you to create and organize quickly, a summary of any project by using bullet points and nested lists that are followed by relevant details and research.
USP: Workflowy offers hash tag – based tagging and search features, with provisions to zoom in, add a note, share, export, duplicate, and delete any item on the bullet point. It is supported by Web, Chrome, iOS, and Android.
5.Scrivener: You can use this application to organize your content. After creating the document, you can use the “outliner” tool to line up a writing plan, and then portion the content into several sections. It will then be displayed on the digital index cards, giving you a summary of the whole content.
USP: The drag – and – drop feature enables you to re- order the sections, using thee “binder” tool. You can also take a “snapshot” of the “before” version, that you can revert to later on, and create five “layers” of colour – coded revisions. It also offers a long list of fonts, and pre – set templates to choose from, for different types of writing formats like AP Style, essays, screenplays, and others. Scrivener is supported by Mac and Windows.
6.Trello: Trello’s exclusive sleek layout helps you to organize tasks by status, create checklists, assign duties, get feedback from others along with notifications of any changes. It is suitable for managing collaborative writing projects, and also functions as an editorial calendar that helps you to keep track of deadlines.
USP: If you need more features alongside the basic version, you can “power up” and add a voting tool and a calendar. Companies opt for the “Business Class” version that enables administrators to see everyone’s boards, get increased data use, Google account integration, and added security. Trello is supported by iOS, Android, Web, and Windows.
7.Google Docs : This free application is very often used to write, edit or archive a content, irrespective of whether you have a Google account or not. It has many collaborative features with which you can write, choose from a set of formats (PDF, DOCX, etc), and share it with others.
USP: Google Docs is supported by Web, Android, and iOS. You can decide who can view the content, change it, comment or invite others. It has a “suggesting” mode, where, when someone recommends a change, you can either reject it or accept it, and the suggestion gets automatically incorporated in the text. Also, the “research” tool gathers resources from the internet, besides several free ad – ons, including a table of contents builder, a bibliography builder, and a tool that lets you publish Google Docs directly to WordPress.
8.Quip: This application is fast gaining popularity, and would eventually become a tough competitor of Google Docs. Quip is best for mobile phones, and thus, perfect for employees who prefer to work from anywhere. It has customers like Instagram and Facebook, and calls itself a “collaborative word processor and messaging system”.
USP: It works both on and offline, giving you provision to edit, pointing out spelling errors, and helping to chat with people who have access to the document. The style menu makes it easier to format headlines, lists, Excel – like tables, and images. Projects are saved on the dashboard, and can be imported anytime from Google Drive, Word, Dropbox, or Evernote.
9.Draft : Draft shows a new way of editing and writing, as with every change, the original version of the document remains intact – instead, a new version is created for each round of editing. Each time, the document owner individually accepts or rejects an edit, and a new version of the document is automatically generated, while the owner has the ability to switch between the versions.
USP: Draft supports Markdown, an editing mode specifically for transcribing audio or video, and integrations with many blogging platforms, like Blogger, WordPress. Drafts also delivers analytics on the writing habits, like average weekly word counts, reading level and length of titles. It is supported only by the Web.
10.Hemingway App: Named after Ernest Hemingway , who was famous for his conservative use of words, this application will help to correct your syntax, and break the prose into short sentences, making it easier to read. The whole writing is divided into five categories, each with a separate colour, to point out the various changes that are needed.
USP: Hemingway App shows where your writing is weak, counts the paragraphs, words, sentences and characters, and also “grades” the writing based on how hard it is to read. Gradually, it will help you to become a better writer through constant identification and rectification of your own errors. It is supported by Web, Mac, and Windows.