Spring Into Technical Writing for Engineers and Scientists, 1st edition

  • Barry J. Rosenberg

Spring Into Technical Writing for Engineers and Scientists

ISBN-13:  9780131498631

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Overview

The fastest way for professionals to master technical writing!

You’re a technical professional, perhaps a programmer, engineer, or scientist. You are not a professional writer, but writing is part of your job (specs, manuals, proposals, lab reports, technical presentations, Web content, data sheets, and so on).

Welcome. This book is for you. It’s all you need to clearly communicate technical ideas to any audience—technical or nontechnical—and motivate them to act.

Barry J. Rosenberg organizes every facet of effective technical writing into more than 175 short, concise, fast-paced tutorials. You’ll find loads of examples (what to do and what not to do) plus start-to-finish instructions for writing exactly the kinds of documents you need to create.

Need specific solutions? This book’s bite-size, visual, high-efficiency format delivers them instantly. Dig in, get started, and get results!

  • Make all your documents and presentations clearer, more concise, and more compelling
  • Understand your audience, and target your content appropriately
  • Learn how to write for an international audience
  • Use active voice to communicate with confidence and authority
  • Produce effective lists, tables, and graphics
  • Create useful examples
  • Write effective manuals and release notes
  • Implement solid technical Web sites
  • Develop winning research, business, and book proposals
  • Create and present compelling PowerPoint presentations
  • Write e-mails that don’t ignite flame wars
  • Learn how to integrate documentation development into best engineering practices

Downloadable examples are available on the Web.



Table of contents

Preface.

I. PLANNING TO WRITE.

1. The Quest.

    Technical Writing Theorems

    Technical Writing Can Be Creative

    Tell 'Em

    The Value of Technical Communication to You

    Comparing Technical Writing to Engineering and Science

2. Audience.

    General Education Level

    Experience and Expertise

    Breadth of Audience

    Native Language

    Native Culture

    Audience Motivation

    Medium and the Message

    Becoming the Audience

    Summary of Audience

3. Documentation Plans.

    Document Specifications (Doc Specs)

    Doc Specs: Sample

    Documentation Project Plans

    Documentation Project Plan: Sample

    Summary of Documentation Specifications

II. WRITING: GENERAL PRINCIPLES.

4. Words.

    Jargon

    Consistency

    Verbs

    Adjectives and Adverbs

    Pronouns: He, She, and They

    Pronouns: You

    Pronouns: It and They

    Fluffy Phrases

    Commonly Confused Words

    Summary of Words

5. Sentences.

    Active Voice and Passive Voice

    Active Voice Is Better

    When Is Passive Voice Okay?

    Short = Sweet

    Causes of Long Sentences

    One Sentence = One Thought

    Parenthetical Clauses

    Summary of Sentences

6. Paragraphs and Sections.

    Sentence Transitions

    Paragraph Length

    Paragraph Transitions

    Sections

    Summary of Paragraphs and Sections

7. Lists.

    Bulleted Lists

    Elements in Bulleted Lists

    The Length of Each Element

    Numbered Lists

    Directions

    Introductions to Lists

    Parallel Lists

    Summary of Lists

8. Tables.

    Column Headers

    Units of Measure

    Arrangement of Columns and Rows

    Parallelism in Tables

    Amount of Text in Cells

    Rules

    Shading

    Captions

    Summary of Tables

9. Graphics

    Graphics

    Time Series

    Extra Detail in Online Graphics

    Before and After

    Callouts versus Embedded Text

    Graphics That Orient Readers

    Screenshots

    Color Blindness

    Block Diagrams

    Text That Supplements Figures

    Technical Photography

    Line Art Enhances Technical Photographs

    Big Picture First, Then Details

    Layout: Controlling Focus

    Layout: Keeping Eyes on the Page

    Layout: White Space

    Summary of Graphics

10. Professional Secrets.

    Explanations of Formula-Based Rules

    Examples

    Examples by Metaphor

    Examples for Programming Documentation

    Question-and-Answer Format

    Question-and-Answer Format Example

    In Other Words

    Tone

    Pace

    Footnotes and Other Digressions

    Beyond the Obvious

    Precision Descriptions

    The Hardest Part of Writing

    Summary of Professional Secrets

III. WRITING: SPECIFIC KINDS OF DOCUMENTS.

11. Manuals.

    Manual Style: Cookbooks

    Cookbook Example: Installing the Carambola Server

    Manual Style: Tutorials

    Tutorial Example: Getting Started with HTML

    Manual Style: Guides

    Guide Example: Creating HTML Headers

    Manual Style: Reference Manuals

    Reference Example: The pr1me Utility

    Manual Style: Nonverbal Manuals

    Online Help: Overview

    Online Help: Best Practices

    Online Help Examples

    Release Notes

    Release Notes Example: Carambola Web Server Version 3.7

    Prefaces

    Preface Example

    Glossaries

    Glossary Example: Tropical Weather Terms

    Tables of Contents

    Indexes

    Indexes: Providing Concise Entries

    Indexes: Permuting Terms

    Indexes: Providing Entries for Concepts

    Summary of Manuals

12. Web Sites.

    Plans

    Home Page: Specify Purpose and Audience

    Home Pages: Engage the Reader's Imagination

    Home Pages: Set the Tone

    Page Templates

    Navigators and Search Boxes

    Hyperlinks in Body Text

    Secondary Pages

    Text in Web Sites

    PDF versus HTML

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    Summary of Web Sites

13. Proposals.

    The Proposal before the Proposal

    Adherence to the Proposal Template

    Proposal Element: Cover Letters

    Proposal Element: Biographies

    Proposal Element: Abstracts

    Proposal Element: Contingency Plans

    Proposals for Revolutionary Ideas

    Research Proposals

    Research Proposals: Significance Statements

    Research Proposals: Objectives and Hypotheses

    Research Proposals: Design and Methods

    Book Proposals

    Book Proposal: Example Marketing Section

    Business Plans

    Summary of Proposals

14. Internal Planning Documents.

    Business Proposals

    Business Proposal: Example

    High-Level Technical Specs

    High-Level Technical Spec Example

    Low-Level Technical Specs

    Low-Level Technical Spec Example

    Summary of Internal Planning Documents

15. Lab Reports.

    Abstract

    Introduction

    Materials

    Experimental Procedure

    Results

    Discussion

    Conclusion

    References

    Summary of Lab Reports

16. PowerPoint Presentations.

    Organizing a Presentation: The Big Picture

    The Number of Slides

    The Opening Moments of a Presentation

    Introductory Slides: The Traditional Approach

    Introductory Slides: An Alternate Approach

    Body Slides: Pace and Variety

    Mechanics: Fonts and Backgrounds

    Body Slides: Effective Lists

    Audience: The Theory of Relativity

    Graphics

    The Complexity of a Graphic

    Question-and-Answer Sessions

    Different Kinds of Learners

    PowerPoint Speech: The Basics

    PowerPoint Speech: Lessons from the Pros

    PowerPoint Speech: Overcoming Fear

    Summary of PowerPoint Presentations

17. E-Mail.

    The Essence of the E-Mail Problem

    Before Hitting the Send Button...

    After the First Miscommunication...

    Summary of E-Mail

IV. EDITING AND PRODUCING DOCUMENTS.

18. Editing and the Documentation Process.

    Editing: What Is It Really?

    Technical Editing a Peer's Work

    Technical Editing a Superior's Work

    Copyediting a Colleague's Document

    Copyediting Your Own Document

    Media for Technical Editing

    Bug-Tracking Systems

    A Process for Editing

    Beta Tests for Documentation

    Summary of Editing and the Documentation Process

19. Fonts and Typography.

    Serif and Sans-Serif Fonts

    Fixed-Width versus Variable-Width Fonts

    Serif and Sans-Serif in Hard Copy

    Serif and Sans-Serif in Soft Copy

    Font Height

    Italics and Boldface

    Consistency and Convention

    True-Type versus PostScript Fonts

    Summary of Fonts and Typography

20. Punctuation.

    Commas

    Dashes and Hyphens

    Semicolons

    Periods

    Colons

    Quotation Marks

Glossary.

Bibliography.

Index.


Published by Addison-Wesley Professional (May 17th 2005) - Copyright © 2005