Mac v PC for writing?

Every writer’s dilemma. Should I use a Mac (silver, cool, sassy) or a PC (grey, practical, and mother of Clippy)? Let’s pretend we’re rationale human beings for a minute. Someone asks if they should stick with the PC they already have or become one of the beautiful people by buying a Mac. Yes, it’s actually […]

How to Insert the Document Name in MS Word Footer?

Last week I showed you how to add a Chapter Heading to your Microsoft Word documents. The nice thing about this is that it shows the reader where they are in the document at any give time. That works great for long documents, such as Business Plans, where the reader may have hundreds of pages to read through. But, what if you only want to show the document title in the footer?

How To Write Documents Faster in Microsoft Word

If you’re like me, you’re looking for ways to write your documents faster, get emails out of your inbox, and get your ezine newsletter online so you can go home and beat the traffic. There’s a lot of hidden secrets in Microsoft Word, here is one of the best. AutoCorrect makes bad typists look good […]

How To Insert the Chapter Title in MS Word’s Header or Footer

One way to make your Microsoft Word documents more professional is to use the Header and Footers to include information that helps the reader. Today, I’ll show you how to add some useful information to the header/footer areas.

A simple example is to include the Document Name or Chapter title in the footer. This helps the reader if they print out the document and also gives me a better sense of what they’re reading.

How to Fix Huge MS Word Docs

Last week we showed you how Bullet Lists can crash MS Word documents, especially if you cut and paste from several different documents. We outlined some techniques to reduce the file size, mostly by creating pre-formatted bullet lists and re-creating bullet lists the correct way. How to fix Corrupt & Damaged MS Word files But […]

How to Create Vertical Text in MS Word

You can change the orientation of text from horizontal to vertical in a few quick clicks. This trick is useful if you want to have text run up the side of a page or along a column. To do this, the text must be inside a text box, shape, callout, or table.  You can’t change […]

How to Write a Documentation Plan

Preparing a Documentation Plan involves several different activities. Depending on the complexity of the project you may want to change the depth of the plan, but most plans will include: Overview Resource Requirements Schedule Deliverables Tip: Documentation plans are also known as Information Development plans. In this article, we’ll look at Resource Requirements and Scheduling. […]

Writing for the Web Tips

Writing for the Web requires new a different approach to the writing process. Before you start writing web content, try to understand the basics of information architecture and how navigation systems work. On the web, write in small digestible chucks, which fit into the information hierarchy. To create your hierarchy, outline the website as you […]

What do technical writers write?

Technical writers write technical documents that explain complex issues in simple, plain English. Technical writers – also know as Technical Authors or Information Designers – write material that supports software and hardware systems. They design, write and produce material that is delivered in print, soft-copy or as Online Help, such as that found in the […]

How to Interview Technical Writers

Jane R. in Texas asks for some tips on interviewing tech writers, especially when using assessment tests. Her company is about to hire their first full-time writer and they have not done this before. I’ve worked on both sides on the fence in the past, (i.e. interviewed and been interviewed) and picked up a few […]

How to fix problems with Table of Contents in MS Word

James in North Carolina asks, “In Word, the Table of Contents is not displayed. Instead, I get an error message: { TOCO “2-4″H Z T “HEADING 1,1″}. How do I fix this? Is it a bug? ” I think the problem is to do with Field Codes. Here are three suggestions: 1. In Word, go […]

How to manage large documents in Microsoft Word

The main issues with creating long docs in Word tend to involve formatting, styles, graphics, tables, and bullets. Formatting — cutting/pasting material directly from one file into another is best avoided as this will bring unwanted styles in the target Word file. Instead convert it to raw text and then import it. Styles — create […]

How to fix backward Ps appear in MS Word

If you open a Word document and see what looks like large Ps at the end of every sentence, then the Show/Hide marker has been turned on. Sometimes this gets turned on by accident or when you open a doc which as these turned on by default. The the Show/Hide marker is used for examining […]

How to write effective business letters

Steve Clark offers the following article written by a student in the Duke University. This paper was submitted as his final project to complete the program. Examples of Steve’s letters are available at Sample Letters. “Whatever your motivation, this article helps you to write a letter that gets published. It addresses the following elements to […]

Autocorrect: How to fix errors in MS Word

Here’s a quick tip to AutoCorrect errors as you type in Word: Capitalization options – AutoCorrect can capitalize the first word in a sentence, the names of days of the week, the first letter of text in a table cell, and so on. AutoCorrect entries – AutoCorrect can use a list of built-in corrections, called […]