Don’t know what tools you need to create powerful documentation? Meet my list!
Help Authoring Tool
Technical writers use professional tools for developing documentation. There are many of them, for example, ClickHelp, MadCap Flare, Help & Manual, and so on. I use ClickHelp for tech writing. It’s a browser-based and cloud software documentation tool. ClickHelp is convenient for me because I can instantly publish documentation, or if documentation is internal, you can publish it using the private mode, or export.
I described why I use ClickHelp in my previous post:
And here is a list of the most popular HATs, so you can learn them and choose what will be suitable for you:
Spell Check Tool
You can’t make mistakes in documentation because it influences an understanding of your content. There are many tools are available now, for example, here is a list of Top Free Grammar Checkers. I use Grammarly. It scans your text for common and complex grammatical mistakes, spanning everything from subject-verb agreement to article use to modifier placement. Grammarly isn’t just a safety net. You’ll get detailed explanations for all your mistakes and weekly progress reports to keep you on the ball.
- It has a Chrome extension that will help you write mistake-free on Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and nearly anywhere else you write on the web.
- Easy to use
- You can use a free account or upgrade it to a premium or business one.
Image Editing Tool
Photoshop is still the best tool for editing images — according to Writers UA User Assistance Tool Survey, Adobe Photoshop is the 4th most used tool by technical writers. Tech writers can use Photoshop to create images, edit graphics and screenshots, merge multiple images into one, add special effects to an image and the like. It is also a good practice for you to understand how to use Photoshop effectively.
Screen Capture Tool
You can use a default screen capture tool, for example, Snipping Tool.
But this tool is not feature-rich, you can just use the pen tool, highlight the text to make it look user-friendly.
A more professional tool is FastStone Capture, it provides more editing features:
Another tool that I can suggest is TechSmith SnagIt. It is a simple and powerful software from TechSmith. It’s developed for marketers and technical writers. SnagIt is supported on Mac OS and Windows. You can capture your screen and save them as PNG, JPG. SnagIt also supports the Video Recording capability, it can be helpful to record videos to show the functionality of a documented device/software.
There are three ways to publish your documentation:
- Create your website. If you don’t have enough experience for it, you can use WordPress. A guide on how to create a website using the platform, read here: How to Create Your Own WordPress Website (The Easy Way).
- Publish your documentation on GitHub. There, you can create well-maintained docs and make sure they receive a high level of care they deserve. More details are here.
- Use an online documentation tool.
To publish my documentation, I use ClickHelp. As it’s an online documentation tool, you get an online portal, so you don’t need to create a website, your online portal is already a documentation website.
What tools do you use for creating effective documentation?