Many of your technical writing projects will involve writing instructions and explanations. You might be asked to explain to readers how to repair a lawnmower, assemble a television stand, or operate a fax machine. Although the templates you will use may vary from client to client, most written instructions will contain the following sections:
Quick tip #1: When you're writing instructions, try to use simple and short sentences. Don't use any unnecessary adjectives or complex sentence structures that may confuse the reader.
Quick tip #2: To evaluate the effectiveness of your instructions, give them a test run. See if you can construct that cabinet or hook up that printer using only your instructions. If you find yourself relying on personal knowledge to fill in the blanks or are unable to complete the process, it's necessary to give your instructions a second look. Even better, have a friend or family member who is not a technical expert try to complete the task using your instructions. Their success (or failure) will be a good indication of whether further revisions and work will be needed.
Quick tip #3: Speak to the reader, and avoid the passive voice. Using direct commands is also a good idea. This will make your instructions much easier to understand. For example, "double click the mouse" is much better than "the mouse will be double clicked."
Last Updated: 05/05/2014