Typos and importantly mistakes are inappropriate in documentation. Luckily our brain can adapt to everything. For example, you definitely can read this phrase:
However, your documentation should not be a puzzle, a reader should get the main idea quickly. Of course, usually, tech writers review documentation before publishing but you also should ease reviewers’ work to make the writing process more successful. To cope with the task, you should build strong proofreading tips. Here I’ll tell you some methods that help me in my technical writing.
Leave your writing for several days
The most popular technique is to leave your text for some days. When you finish writing documentation, leave it for some days to forget the content and proofread it objectively.
If you need to proofread a text on the same date, read a text backward: start at the end of your document and read the last sentence, then the second to last sentence, then the third to last sentence and so on. When you view your words in a different order, it’s easier to find mistakes.
As our brain can read words made of numbers, imagine how it’s simple for it to fill in gaps, fix errors in your mind and skip them while you’re reading. To avoid this effect, read your text aloud; it allows you to identify weird sentences because it will sound more awkward out loud than on the page.
It will be also helpful to use online programs that will help with this task. Use the text-to-voice function of your PC or find relevant software. You’ll catch typos and weird sentences easily.
Nowadays, there are a lot of grammar checkers which not only catch typos but also provide users with additional information on detailed explanations for all mistakes, how you can correct them and so on. The list of the best of them you can find here: Top Free Grammar Checkers.
If you’re not sure how to write grammatically right, here is the list of Grammar Books for Technical Writers. If you’re not sure from the technical writing perspective of view, I’ve also gathered some Style Guides for Technical Writers to help you.
Ask a colleague or friend to proofread
There is another way to view your text from a different angle — ask your colleague or friend to read your text. It will provide you with a fresh perspective, your friend/colleague can follow the described steps and tell you what steps were unclear, so you can improve them.
Check the source from where you took information
Sometimes technical writers search for additional information and can add it to their text. If you do that and forget to provide links, one of the Top 10 Free Plagiarism Detection Tools will help you indicate the source.
What tips and techniques help you proofread texts effectively?