Older Articles

A few of my unfavourite things in Microsoft Word (Word 2003 and Word 2007)

I have enjoyed a long relationship with Microsoft Word for Windows, and I would describe myself as a reluctant admirer. As a heavy-duty user of Word, I understand that I am not using it in the way it was designed to be used, so I have modified my expectations accordingly. As well as my expectations, I have also learned to modify some of Word’s default settings so that I can have a little more control over its behaviour. As I have recently started working with Word 2007, I am going to describe some of my favourite tweaks – the adjustments that I make to disable my unfavourite features in Word 2003, and what the equivalent adjustments are in Word 2007. Read the rest of this article…

Writing. In small. Chunks.

Download the slides from my introduction to DITA presentation, given at a meeting of the Electronic Publishing specialist group of the British Computer Society (15th July 2008).

Keeping your CV out of the bin

Whenever a recruiter or an HR department advertises a new vacancy they generally get inundated by CVs (sometimes known as résumés). But the truth is that most CVs go straight into the bin, as they don?t pass the first stage of filtering. David Farbey has been a technical writer for the last 14 years, and has also worked as a specialist recruitment consultant. In this article David gives some hints on how to keep your CV out of the bin when you apply for a job. This article is based on a presentation David gave at the STC Summit in Philadelphia in June 2008. Read more…

Who’s going to write the User’s Guide?

This article was published in the Annual Review of the British Computer Society for 2007. In it, I addressed some of the common excuses put forward for not dealing seriously with user documentation.

Here’s an extract:

There comes a time when every software development manager
has to find an answer to the question “who’s going to write the User’s Guide?”
… in many small and medium-sized enterprises the User’s Guide question often
becomes a problem that everyone tries to ignore.

You can read the full text of the article on the BCS web site. (The contact details at the end of this article are wrong!)

More articles

Creating an online survey with SurveyMonkey

Job satisfaction for technical communicators (academic research)

The technical writing rule I learned in nursery school

Adding hidden value as a technical writer

Writing Samples

The following documents are available for download as Acrobat PDF files:


Sentences Tutorial

Introductory tutorial for an innovative
database product, copyright Lazy Software Ltd., 2002 (used by permission)


Sentences User’s Guide

User’s Guide for an innovative
database product, copyright Lazy Software Ltd., 2002 (used by permission)


e-Learning Content Development Guide

Guide for developers
of e-Learning content for a web-based e-Learning platform, copyright
UK eUniversities Worldwide Ltd., 2004 (used by permission)


Student’s Guide

Student’s Guide for a web-based e-Learning platform, copyright
UK eUniversities Worldwide Ltd., 2004 (used by permission)

Sample Online documents

The following online documents are available to view on this site:

Sentences Online Help
Sentences Online Tutorial