open source writers group

General Technical Writing Resources

10 Ways to Improve Your Technical Writing

    Short and to the point, this article outlines some of the basics that all technical writers should keep in mind when writing documentation. Written by Robert W. Bly.

What is Technical Writing

    This short article outlines what technical writing is, as well as describing some of the things you should do when working on documentation. Worth a read.

Introduction to Tech Writing

    Richard Burnham has penned this introductory overview of technical writing.

Analysing Information

    The Technical Writing guide (Gary Conroy) wrote this article about analysing information, which, when you come right down to it, is the majority of a technical writer's job.

Concept Formation

    Another article by writer, Gary Conroy. This article describes some of the methods involved in good technical documentation. Definitely worth a read.

Document to the Question

    Bonni Graham penned this article which will help you, as a writer, determine whether or not a certain piece of information really needs to be included in the documentation you're writing. Remember, "concise" is a virtue :)

What to Include in Every User's Guide

    Good basic outline of what should be included in a user's guide. This is, of course, only an example, but if you're stuck or if you don't know where to start, this might give you some ideas of where to go next, or about how to restructure/reorganize the Guide you're working on.

Good Communication: Seeing the Forest While Managing the Trees

Commencing a Documentation Project

    This is an online book that describes how to plan a conventional documentation project. Note: uses frames, be warned.

A Strategic Method for Writing

    John B. Smith and Catherine F. Smith wrote this in 1987. Many of the methods and ideas here are as relevant to creating good technical documentation today as they were then.

Writing User Documentation That Works

    This is the second chapter of a much larger book, and is, unfortunately, the only chapter available online. It sets out a very traditional method for planning a documentation project, and assumes that the reader is a tech writer working for a large, commercial organization. Still, there are some useful ideas in the chapter, and is worth reading if you've never had to go through this sort of procedure before. If nothing else, you'll get an idea of what doing professional techncial writing really entails :)

General Writing Concerns

    Beginner's guide to writing basics, brought to you by Purdue University. If you're new to writing, this is definitely worth a read.

Online Technical Writing

    A technical writing course textbook, the full text of which is available online. Covers document design, processes, and guidelines. Written by David A. McMurrey.

The Reader

    Yet another article from the archives at Gary Conroy writes about the importance of determining and defining your target audience before starting writing. He assumes a traditional environment, of course.

Writing Revisable Manuals

    Another full book available online. This was chosen as's "best of the web" technical writing selection. Tons of information.

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