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Technical Writing For Dummies Paperback – February 22, 2001

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: For Dummies; 1 edition (February 22, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764553089
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764553080
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 7.5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #236,483 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

"Technical Writing For Dummies is a must-have reference for both the aspiring and seasoned technical writer." - Carol Szatkowski, CEO, Clear Point Consultants, Inc. "This book puts you on a good track for designing and writing documents your readers will really appreciate. It gives many useful tips (even for seasoned writers)." - Greg Bartlett, Director of Documentation of The Mathworks, Inc. and President of Society for Documentation Professionals "Sheryl Lindsell-Roberts does a remarkable job of balancing examples and practical advice as useful to those new to technical writing as it is to pros looking for ideas to apply to upcoming projects." -Tonya Price, former Director of On-line Marketing and President, Association of Internet Professionals-495 Massachusetts Chapter

Get tips on writing computer- and Web-based training courses

Find out what it takes to produce terrific technical documents Whether you're contemplating a career as a technical writer or you just got tapped for a technical writing project, this friendly guide is your ticket for getting your tech writing skills up to par. Wordsmith Sheryl Lindsell-Roberts shows you step-by-step how to get organized, write clearly, and produce everything from spec sheets to online help systems.

Discover how to: Plan your project with a Technical Brief Fine-tune and polish your writing Work collaboratively with your reviewers Create great user manuals, awesome abstracts, and more Write first-rate electronic documentation

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About the Author

Sheryl Lindsell-Roberts runs business-writing seminars for Fortune 500 companies and is the author of several books, including For Dummies guides to business writing and business letters.

More About the Author

SHERYL LINDSELL-ROBERTS runs business-writing and e-mail seminars throughout the country and is the author of twenty-three books, including the popular Strategic Business Letters and E-mail, Mastering Computer Typing, Revised Edition, and 135 Tips for Writing Successful Business Documents.

Customer Reviews

I just got a few pointers here and there.
Randall Bowles
This book is the best introduction to technical writing I have seen.
Pretty clear and easy to read, this books truly a gem.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

45 of 45 people found the following review helpful By "words4nerds" on January 16, 2003
Format: Paperback
As an experienced technical writer already, I bought this book as a general desk reference. It has been a helpful guide when I needed to check something in particular, but I would not use it as a "course textbook" if I was learning the trade.
Generally, the content is excellent - it covers all the basics a novice tech writer needs to know. However, I question the way the content has been organized and presented... it doesn't follow a logical order. There's a section on editing, then a section on brainstorming and figuring out how to start writing, and then later on it swings back to proofreading. Ideally, the information should be presented the same way the writing process generally works: brainstorming, writing the first draft, THEN proofing/editing, and so on.
I also found the short section on "preparing the technical brief" inadequate, considering planning and scoping out requirements is THE most important phase of any documentation project. And for some reason, this information is buried in the "understanding your reader" section, when it should be a separate section all its own (as information about your audience forms only PART of a project plan).
The author has included a few too many personal experiences in this book - understandably she wanted to inject some fun into what could be pretty dry reading material, but her style sometimes comes off as too "cute".
Overall, this book contains a lot of excellent content - the structure and presentation just need to be re-tooled for maximum effectiveness.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Todd Hawley on May 7, 2001
Format: Paperback
From the Introduction to the Appendixes in the back, the author covers a lot of different and important topics about the business of Technical Writing with this book. Pointing out that all of us deal with various kinds of "manuals" in our everyday lives, the author builds on that as she discusses knowing your audience (including filling out a "technical brief"), creating a document plan and outline (an excellent first step in any document creation), creating your draft, visualizing the document layout, and stressing the idea to keep your documents concise and to the point. I liked that especially, considering how many manuals I've read that were full of "gobbledgook."
There are also sections on various kinds of technical documents, including the famous "user manual," abstracts, specification sheets (with detailed explanations of the different kinds of spec sheets), giving presentations and "white papers." Also informative were chapters on doing online research (and the type of search criteria to use when doing this), computer-based and web-based training, and online help. The book also contains some excellent reference information, such as tips for getting published in a technical journal, writing a grant proposal, punctuation and grammar information (and done in a very concise way), even a short glossary of terms.
Well-written and full of excellent information for any new or "veteran" technical writer.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Sainty on May 17, 2001
Format: Paperback
As any good tech author knows, a manual must be targeted to your audience, and this does just that. This is a great book to introduce a junior tech author to the concepts involved in creating good documentation. Experienced authors should look elsewhere.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 27, 2001
Format: Paperback
I was a little skeptical about this book at first. How can you create a Dummies book on Technical Writing?. After reading the first few chapters, I realized that this book is an excellent reference for the veteran technical writer or the newbie. I've been technical writing for over five years now and I still found things in here that I did not know. Great job to the authors of this book!
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19 of 24 people found the following review helpful By G. M. Simpson on February 20, 2006
Format: Paperback
I regularly have to write short technical notes, and occasionally contribute to larger manual-writing projects. I am literate but have had no formal training in technical writing. I imagined that this book would serve as a useful tool to improve my skills in this area, and it is certainly advertised as being aimed at beginners and professionals alike.

Unfortunately, it seems to have been written for an absolute beginner; in fact, at times I thought it was written for an eight-year-old child. Near the start of the book, the author recommends that you write your name on it clearly in case the book goes missing. If this is the kind of handy hint that you find useful, then the rest of the book will not disappoint you. Throughout it is written in a condescending, overly chummy manner, as if the author is trying to get a two year old to eat a Brussels sprout. I hope I never have to wade through any technical documents written by her if this is the style she usually employs to get ideas across.

There are sections that are entirely useless and have presumably been added in to pad out the book (the useful points could certainly have been boiled down to a small pamphlet). For example, there is a lengthy chapter on 'using the internet to perform research', which roughly equates to a 'how to use google' guide. Helpful.

Ultimately, this reads like it was written to make a fast buck. I really couldn't recommend it to anyone, unless you actually are an eight-year-old child putting together a manual on building a sand castle, in which case, this book's for you. But even an eight-year-old wouldn't benefit from the bit abuot using the internet...
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