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Microsoft Manual of Style (4th Edition) Paperback – January 25, 2012

ISBN-13: 978-0735648715 ISBN-10: 0735648719 Edition: 4th

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Microsoft Press; 4 edition (January 25, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0735648719
  • ISBN-13: 978-0735648715
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 7.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #70,136 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Developed by senior editors and content managers at Microsoft Corporation.

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Customer Reviews

The more disciplined the writer, the more consistent and better their output.
Ben Rothke
It may be that I'm misinformed: That the information about the MMOS V4 available here has simply failed to include any mention of its accompanying electronic version.
The Microsoft Manual of Style is an essential reference and style guide for anyone writing user documentation for software products.
James W. Witkin

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on May 2, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Although the book itself is fine, the Kindle format is just awful.

Tables are pasted randomly as grey IMAGES of doubtful quality and often are too small to read. You have to tweak the font size setting to get bigger scale, but then font becomes enormous while images become just slightly more readable :(

Dear Amazon, please, update the Kindle edition :(
It is inconvenient and impossible to read it the way it is right now.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By John Wight on March 6, 2012
Format: Paperback
My review consists of commentary for three areas of Microsoft's update: (1) the pros and cons of the manual, (2) stylistic considerations, and (3) the need for the manual.

The Pros and Cons of the Manual

1. It is affordable. I have yet to meet someone who paid the full purchase price for the previous edition, which approximated nearly $100 upon release.

2. It includes conventions for documenting newer technologies and content. The standards for documenting XML-based content and mobile technologies will probably be helpful to me.

3. Sensible prescriptions. Although many might disagree with specific style prescriptions, I find the general prescriptions straightforward and well-advised, as described in the section "Principles of Microsoft style."

1. It lacks an electronic version. This is no small detail as the printed book is not in color. I was specifically curious to find out how Microsoft prescribes documenting its new Windows 7 color scheme in its boxes (by default, the boundaries are translucent, showing whatever is behind it). Unfortunately, the book provides no enlightenment. However, I found an advance, sample chapter on the internet, and only then could I determine that Microsoft uses a silver color, and not the default scheme (unless, of course, they are simply using the default scheme over silver wallpaper, in which case the prescription is to change the default Windows wallpaper). Color is important, and that is just one reason why an electronic version is needed.

2. It is decidedly less readable than the previous version.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Will Kelly on February 5, 2012
Format: Paperback
As a technical writer, the Microsoft Manual of Style is the first style guide I reach for when I am a working on documentation project when the organization doesn't have a corporate style guide. Now, Microsoft has published the Microsoft Manual of Style, 4th Edition that includes some timely updates documenting how Microsoft's editorial style is adapting and changing to meet new technologies.

The Microsoft Manual of Style is a soup to nuts guide to the Microsoft style for writing technical documentation. I like its holistic approach that includes principles of Microsoft Style, web content, international audience considerations, writing about user interface guidelines, and writing procedures. It rounds out with a well-documented usage dictionary. The Microsoft writers and editors behind this edition have put together a solid guide that can serve both experienced and novice writers alike even just to help resolve stylistic arguments during the writing and editing of documents. Some notable updates in this edition include how Microsoft handles writing about mobile phones, gestures, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and for international audiences.

Chapter 2 Content for the web could really benefit from some screen shot examples from Microsoft web properties to show examples. It also is light on Community-based content coverage. Sparing my feelings as a technical writer, I realize community provided content is playing a role in documentation and support. Unfortunately, I've had my issues with community provided content as a user seeking support online for technical issues.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Todd Hawley on February 15, 2012
Format: Paperback
What I noticed the first time I opened this book was (as others have mentioned) the amount of extra white space and font changes, which make this book much more pleasureable to read and to refer to. Clear and concise language, along with excellent figures, diagrams and readable tables throughout the book also help. Microsoft has done a great job in updating a classic book of theirs. Their Usage Dictionary reflects the changes seen in the computer industry over the last several years.

The book's first chapter describes in detail Microsoft's distinctive style and voice. Many subsequent chapters show examples of how something is done Microsoft style as opposed to non-Microsoft style. This really helps the reader to understand the "how's and why's" of Microsoft writing style.

The Content for the Web and Content for a World Wide Audience have been expanded to reflect the changes in those areas. Among other topics given their own chapters are User Interface, Procedures and tech content, style issues and of course grammar and punctuation. While the last two seem to be basics we should have learned in grade school, it's good to have a reminder of just how important those two areas are.

I know I'll be using this book whenever I have a question about a style issue.
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