The Best Tech Writing Tools, as Recommended by Tech Writers
Tech writers have a lot in common with regular writers, such as the need to use the correct spelling and grammar and the same set of linguistic techniques that other writers are confined to. At the same time, though, they also need a specialist toolkit of their own to deal with the complex terms and technologies that they write about on a daily basis.
On top of that, the very nature of technology means that it’s constantly changing, forcing tech writers to go out of their way to stay on top of the industry. This is true for other writers, but tech writers, in particular, have a tough time of it, and they often have to spend hours of their day carrying out research—and to adjust their fees accordingly.
Then there’s the issue of sourcing relevant images and even stylising code so that it’s easily readable. And as if all of this wasn’t challenging enough, they often have to do this in the face of conflicting research and contradictory statistics.
The good news is that there are tools out there that can help, and we’ve done our best to shortlist the very best of them to help tech writers of all experience levels to take their career to the next level. Let’s get started.
- Acrolinx. Acrolinx is a great way to get a second pair of eyes on your writing and to identify potential problems with your copy. It’s all automated and so it’s not necessarily as good as having a human look at it, but it’s great at finding ways to improve clarity and readability and to remove some of the chunkier sections of your writing.
- Notepad++. This is basically a leveled up version of the default Notepad application that comes with Microsoft Windows by default. The good thing about Notepad++ is that it can be used to edit both text and code, making it a great way to store and share content about your favorite programming language. It can also come in useful for taking notes or when you want to write with a minimalist interface for as few distractions as possible. That’s why I used it when I was working on my college paper.
- HyperCam. HyperCam is a free screen capture programme that can help you to bring articles to life by showing people how to do something instead of just telling them. Videos also increase overall dwell time on web pages, and HyperCam is so easy to use that it’s a great idea when you’re talking about something complex and difficult to explain without accompanying visuals.
- Adobe Photoshop/InDesign. Sure, this might be more closely associated with graphic designers, but a rudimentary understanding of these two programmes can come in useful when you least expect it. Being able to make amends to documents in InDesign makes you more attractive to potential clients, while basic Photoshop skills will help you to create images to accompany your articles.
- Paper Writing Pro. If you’re short of inspiration or if you’re struggling for capacity and want to outsource some or all of your content creation, you can always work with professional assignment writers like those at Paper Writing Pro. I’ve done this before when I’ve come up against clashing deadlines and we were able to find an arrangement that suited everyone.
- Dropbox. Dropbox is a must-have for any writer because it comes with inbuilt version control, allowing you to roll back to any version of any file at any time. Several weeks ago, I was working on a paper essay for a client and my machine died as I was saving it. When I booted it up, the file was corrupted, but I was able to revert to the previous version in Dropbox and only lost a couple of hundred words. That alone makes it worth using.
- Github. Github is essentially a repository of digital code that allows you to store and share your code with other people. It can be a great place to find open source code that you can refer to in your article, but it’s also a great way to share your own code with readers without having to embed it within the article. I also find that it’s a great way to keep your finger on the pulse of what other developers are working on.
- Google Docs. Google Docs is perfect for collaboration because multiple people can access and edit it at the same time. Even if you’re not a particular fan of the user interface, it’s not a bad idea to write in some other programme and to use Google Docs to deliver content to clients. It also supports the ability to leave comments and to use track changes, both of which are must-haves if you’re working as part of a team.
Now that you know which tools are out there for you to take advantage of, the next step is for you to give each one of them a go and to figure out which ones work best for you. Remember, a tool is only useful if it’s adding value, so if you try something and it doesn’t feel right for you, don’t force it. Just move on to the next one and continue doing what you do best: writing great copy. Good luck.
Joe McLean is a professional writer and essayist with UK Best Essays, Write-My-Essay-for-Me, and XpertWriters. When he’s not writing about writing, he’s reading about writing, writing about reading or reading about reading. He lives in the UK with his wife and is eagerly awaiting the arrival of their first child.