Google Technical Writing Course – Cheat Sheet

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In this post, you will quickly learn about key learning from free course on Technical writing by Google.

  • Define new or unfamiliar terms: When writing or editing, learn to recognize terms that might be unfamiliar to some or all of your target audience. If the term already exists, link to a good existing explanation. In case your document is introducing the term, define the term properly.
  • Use acronyms properly: On the initial use of an unfamiliar acronym within a document or a section, spell out the full term, and then put the acronym in parentheses.
  • Active voice vs Passive voice: Prefer active voice to the passive voice
  • Clear Sentences
    • Choose strong verbs
    • Avoid there is/there are
  • Short Sentences
    • Focus each sentence on a single idea
    • Convert some long sentences to lists
    • Eliminate unneeded words
    • Reduce subordinate clauses; Follow the one-sentence = one idea in the mind. Do the subordinate clauses in a sentence extend the single idea or do they branch off into a separate idea? If the latter, consider dividing the offending subordinate clause(s) into separate sentences.
  • List and tables
    • Choose the correct type of list
      • Bulleted lists (Unordered items)
      • Numbered lists (Ordered items): Start the numbered list items with imperative words
      • Embedded lists: An embedded list (sometimes called a run-in list) contains items stuffed within a sentence
  • Paragraphs
    • Write a great opening sentence
    • Focus each paragraph on a single topic
    • Answer what, why, and how
    • Don’t make paragraphs too long or too short
  • Audience
    • Define your audience
    • Determine what your audience needs to learn.
  • Documents
    • State your document’s scope
    • State your audience
    • Establish your key points up front
    • Break your topics into sections
    • Define your audience
  • Illustrating
    • Write the caption first
    • Constrain the amount of information in a single drawing
    • Focus the reader’s attention
  • Creating sample code
    • Provide code samples which are correct and concise code that your readers can quickly understand and easily reuse with minimal side effects.
Ajitesh Kumar

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