Resources for business and technical writing

Portfolios for technical writers


Portfolios can be excellent tools for technical writers seeking employment. Examine various types and discuss the process of developing a portfolio, including deciding which technical writing documents to include/exclude, organizing work samples and assessing there value from an employer’s point of view. Discuss how a portfolio supports other job search tools.

Porfolios for technical writers micro-site

Rewriting for our reader’s sake


This course focuses on some key aspects of the third stage of writing; rewriting. The goal of this course is to help your writing become clearer, more concise, and more readable by polishing up your rewriting and editing skills. During this course we will examine spelling, grammar and punctuation challenges frequently encountered in technical and business writing; we will consider word choices and phrasing that reduce ambiguity and bloated writing; and we will work with sentence structure and organization to improve readability and support the points we are making.

Rewriting for our user’s sake micro-site

If you ever struggle with when to use a comma or a semicolon, are vague about using which or that, or find you use too many words to make your point; this course is for you.

We recommend that you take the Effective Writing for Business and Technology course before taking this course. This rewriting course focuses on one aspect of writing and builds on the concepts discussed in the effective writing course.

Writing user guides


User guides help people understand how to use a product. They are a set of instructions for completing the tasks that a product was designed to accomplish. This course will show you how to design and prepare effective user guides that enable the reader to successfully operate a product.

Study and follow through  the process of guide and manual creation, including task and audience  analysis, documentation standards, instruction writing, and information  organization using MS Word.

Writing User Guides micro-site

By the conclusion of this course you will have:

  • Examined methods to understand your audience’s capabilities.
  • Developed a blueprint for the documents required  to satisfy the needs of your audience.
  • Practised many of the writing skills needed to prepare  effective user guides.
  • Considered the appropriate use of various training  approaches.
  • Practised many of the writing skills needed to prepare  effective training guides.

The skills presented during this course are reinforced with practical  hands-on exercises.

Indexing for Technical Writers


A well-crafted index is the best retrieval tool we can provide to our readers.

Our index must meet the needs of all of readers of our publication: those who are experienced with the product or technology, those who are familiar with similar products and technologies, and those who have no experience with the product or technology.

Most technical writers have to create an index sometime during their career, yet preparing an effective index is a complex process. This practical, hands-on course presents a systematic indexing method for technical writers.

Indexing micro-site

This practical, hands-on course presents a systematic indexing method for technical writers.

A well-crafted index is essential to locating information within a document, yet preparing an effective index is a complex process. This practical, hands-on course presents a systematic indexing method for technical writers.

By the conclusion of this course you will have:

  • Reviewed the purpose and types of indexes.
  • Examined the methods and considerations necessary when determining index entries.
  • Discussed how to edit and test an index.
  • Practiced creating, editing, formatting, and testing an index.

The skills presented during this course are reinforced with practical hands-on exercises using Microsoft Word.

A minimum of 80% attendance, active participation, and successful completion of all course assignments are required to complete this course successfully.

Design and Authoring for the Online Media


The online media presents exciting opportunities for the efficient and effective delivery of information. Web sites, online help systems, intranets, and e-mail are firmly rooted in most of our business and technical world. But the online media extends beyond these to include blogs, chat rooms, online communities, wikis, and more.

The online media differs in many ways from conventional paper publishing and requires a special set of skills to use effectively. Two courses are offered to help you master authoring in the online media: Site Architecture for the online media, and Design and authoring for the online media.

Design and Authoring for the Online Media micro-site (This is now part of the unified OnlineMedia micro-site)

In this course we discover how to author pages that are organized, readable, easily comprehended and credible. We apply these skills while authoring pages using a combination of XHTML, Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) within a managed environment.

Technical Layout and Design


The presentation of information has value that extends well beyond aesthetics; it can determine whether or not the contents are accessible and understandable to our readers.

Discover how the principles of page layout, typography and design can help you produce effective and readable technical documents. Put these principles into practice by designing technical documents using Microsoft Word®.

Technical Layout and Design micro-site

By the conclusion of this course you will have:

  • Discussed basic design principles and design goals.
  • Applied the basic principles of design to existing documents.
  • Examined typography and its role in effective communication.
  • Practiced using typographic concepts to enhance the usability of a document.

The skills presented during this course are reinforced with practical hands-on exercises using both Microsoft Word®.

Writing Engineering Specifications


Writing Engineering Specifications is a short course that applies the principles and practices of technical writing to preparing Engineering Specifications. The practical, hands-on, approach of this course is designed to assist technical and engineering specialists prepare effective engineering specifications.

By the conclusion of this course you will have:

  • reviewed the structure and use of MasterFormat 2004
  • examined some common mistakes made by writers when preparing engineering specifications
  • practised many of the writing skills necessary to prepare effective, unambiguous specifications

This course uses MasterFormat 2004 as the framework for preparing specifications, however the techniques discussed are equally applicable to any method of specification organization.

Writing Engineering Specifications micro-site